Be A Tourist in Waveland!
- photos by Ellis Anderson, Ana Balka, Prima Luke
From the beginning, it was a resort town and many New Orleans residents had summer homes here. Today, Waveland is the only city on the Gulf Coast that prohibits commercial buildings on the beachfront, preserving its hometown feeling.
Parks, Piers and Hurricanes:
Use of this land was first recorded in the late 1700s. Some legends hold that the French Buccaneer, Jean Lafitte, inhabited the old Pirate House located a short distance from what is now the park. According to some sources the park site, also known as Jackson’s Ridge, was used as a base of military operations by Andrew Jackson during the Battle of New Orleans; oral tradition maintains that Jackson later returned to this area and built a house — Sea Song — on the land that is now Buccaneer State Park. Both of these locations are identified by historical Markers.
Along with 206 premium campsites with standard hookups, the campsite also has 70 beach sites, 25 primitive campsites, three large bathhouses, disk golf course, playground, pavilion rental, and nature trails.
The crown jewel is the 4.5-acre Buccaneer Bay Waterpark. The park is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily through Labor Day, and boasts Pirate’s Plunge and Plank Waterslides, Li’l Smugglers Cove, and Pirate’s Lagoon Wave Pool, which can generate up to eight different wave patterns. It's splashing good fun for the entire family! Season passes are available.
The Waveland American Legion Post 77 Executive Committee was looking at its property on Coleman Avenue, with the intention of placing a lasting veteran’s memorial. Commander Russell Voorhies proposed that the Post approach the City of Waveland to receive permission to utilize the undeveloped Riff-Raff Jetty that was an extension of Coleman Avenue, Waveland’s Main Street.
The octagon-shaped centerpiece includes a lighted fountain and pool. Mississippi Power donated three streetlights, which were modified into flagpoles. Later, an American Flag Retirement burn pit (this pit is used to dispose of American flags in the most respectful way) was added near the water’s edge.
Since its founding, the Memorial has been a site for Memorial Day, Flag Day, Katrina Remembrance Day, and Veterans Day ceremonies, and some couples have chosen the park as a wedding venue. The upgraded grounds provide a powerful but peaceful, serene anchor to Coleman Avenue. Identified as the Veterans Memorial only by a Blue Star plaque and simple entrance pillars, the Memorial provides a fitting honor to those who have served.
Coleman Avenue was the principal business district before Hurricane Camille destroyed it in 1969. After it was revitalized, Hurricane Katrina wiped it out again in 2005. The new Waveland City Hall was dedicated in 2012 on the site of the original city hall, which was built between 1906 and 1908, originally as Waveland’s school. A mural designed by Elizabeth Veglia graces the front of the building, and replaces the Veglia mural that was lost when the former city hall fell to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The new mural includes scenes and landmarks – both pre- and post-Katrina – as well as the ocean, the wildlife and the things that make this area special. The design takes its inspiration from the Waveland logo and the undulating waves within it. Veglia has conducted 26 workshops with local volunteers to create it.
See this month’s Talk of the Town article on the museum to learn more about H.C. Porter’s “Backyards and Beyond” exhibit, Solveig Wells’s Katrina quilts, and the collection of art and Waveland memorabilia that comprise this tribute to our town.
The museum is open Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission is free. Waveland’s Ground Zero Museum relies completely on grants, donations, and membership to finance operations.
Parades, Leprechauns, Ghost, and Pop:
2012 brought the first Halloween Trunk or Treat. Area businesses and civic groups set up tables and give out candy and other treats to children (and their parents). There's face painting, a cake walk, a haunted house and a booth decorating contest. With Coleman Avenue closed off to traffic it gives the kids a safe place to enjoy the festivities.
This year the City of Waveland presents Destination Waveland Independence Day Blowout. Be a part of the most explosive fireworks show and July 4th celebration on Mississippi's West Coast. Brought to you by the City of Waveland and generous community sponsors, this event will happen Saturday, July 2, 2016, 5-9 p.m. at the Garfield Ladner Pier.
An intense fireworks show, music by Category 6 and a patriotic coastal menu are on tap for enjoyment. The red, white and blue carpet is being rolled out to make Waveland one of your holiday weekend destinations.