- Story by Jerry Beaugez
Steeped in history and the lore of the catch, Bay St. Louis has been the setting for centuries of life on the water.
Long before French explorers first arrived in 1699, Bay St. Louis offered its inhabitants a perfect destination to enjoy their water experiences. Now it offers its bounty to locals and visitors alike. There is no better place to satisfy the needs of any sportsman. They can head out to the open Gulf of Mexico or stay in a more secure area of the Bay of Saint Louis. Families can take cane poles and crab traps and sit along the sea wall or boat along the Jourdan River to enjoy a peaceful day of swimming or fishing,
Recently rumors began to hit the streets of a new public boat launch, which would enhance accessibility to the water. The buzz was that the City of Bay St. Louis was in the process of purchasing land just off of Highway 603, next to the Bayou LaCroix Bridge.
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People from across the region would gather supplies and beverages for a day on the water and launch from there. From this point they could easily navigate Bayou LaCroix to the Jourdan River and then quickly set out for fun in the sun. The bar never reopened after Hurricane Katrina because of insurance issues.
The property is located in Ward 6 which, prior to becoming part of the city through annexation in 2006, was known as the Shoreline Park community. Created in the 1950s and ‘60s, the developers dug all of the canals in the area to offer waterfront property for full time residents and as vacation spots for others. Over 41 square miles of canals were created then, and many homes have been built since its conception.
Councilman Josh DeSalvo was elected to represent Ward 6 in 2017. From day one he has been committed to bringing new amenities to his area. He confirmed that the funds for the purchase of the property are part of a $600,000 GOMESA (Gulf of Mexico Energy Support Act) grant which was awarded to the City of Bay St. Louis. The grant can only be used for waterfront maintenance, development and other activities, such as the purchase of lands which support preservation and access to outdoor lands for public recreation.
According to DeSalvo, the $325,000 purchase was approved by the City Council on May 19. He further stated that the city plans “to build new boat ramps and bulkheads and parking.”
DeSalvo said he’s “very excited” about the project, which will be the first amenity created in Ward 6. He hopes the city will have a full plan available in the near future and begin the call for construction bids.
“This will be a great improvement for the entire city,” DeSalvo said.