“It’s not the buildings that make a town. It is the people!” Tish Williams was relating something that one of her 10-year-old twin daughters told her after seeing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Tish is head of the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce in Bay St. Louis, MS (population 8,209 in 2000 census, but probably about ½ of that now as it rebuilds).
I was in Bay St. Louis doing another tour of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It was my fourth time back since Katrina. I continue to be amazed at the resiliency and spirit of those who are rebuilding after seeing virtually everything destroyed. Tish and her daughters are a great example.
Tish was born and raised in Bay St. Louis but went out east for a career. She was working as an executive in a non-profit in Baltimore, MD. She moved home when her twins were 3 because of the better quality of life for her daughters.
Bay St. Louis is a wonderful artist town. Over 200 artists lived in the town prior to Katrina and many of them are making their way back home. Bay St. Louis is rebuilding and from what I saw will be better than ever.