Coastal Mississippi

Business leaders ask supervisors to rethink Coastal Tourism appointment

27 views – WXXV Staff – 2022-07-05 08:56:19

The Board of Supervisors is being asked to reverse its decision to vote out the current president of the Commission.

Last month, the board took up the issue of  Brooke Schoultz’s appointment to the board. She recently had been voted in as president, pending her reappointment to the commission by the supervisors.

Supervisors Connie Rockco and Rebecca Powers argued last…

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Things For Millennials To Do In Biloxi, Mississippi – Wherever I May Roam


Once known as the “Seafood Capital of the World”, , Mississippi, offers both revival and relaxation in equal measures. Millennials will enjoy Biloxi’s varied activity offerings, laid-back feel, and food scene. Here are nine things millennials can do in Biloxi to get you started on your vacation.


Eat A Slew Of Seafood

Biloxi has really good food….

by Taylor Hardy, Wherever I May Roam

This article first appeared on Wherever I May Roam.

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Top 5 Biloxi Beach Restaurants on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Coastal Mississippi 2022


Our Top 5 Restaurants near the Mississippi Gulf Coast Beach in , on the Mississippi Gulf Coast also known as Coastal …

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A Coastal Mississippi inspired Father’s Day


Get excited for the paternal figure in your life because Father’s Day is a time to celebrate Dad, and The Secret Coast provides an array of fun options! With tons of exciting dining venues, opportunities for outdoor activities, and premier gaming, we have just the thing to let fathers everywhere know how special they are.

Father's Day Grid


Dining on Father’s Day

Food is the way to many…

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Coastal Mississippi Jazz and Blues Artist Lucious Spiller


There’s no doubt Mississippi is a historical staple in the Jazz & Blues movement. The Gulf Coast region is home to the Mississippi Blues Trail commemorating dozens of clubs and cafes where blues greats, such as Bobby Rush, Denise LaSalle and O.B. Buchana performed regularly. But, Jazz & Blues isn’t just something to be remembered – in – it’s still alive and well…

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Celebrate National Shrimp Day with Coastal Mississippi chefs’ secret recipes


National Shrimp Day is May 10, and what better way to celebrate this bountiful delicacy than with a visit to what was once known as the seafood capital of the world! ’s history, culture, and communities truly revolve around the Gulf of Mexico and its maritime and seafood industry. The Gulf Coast region produces 69% of the nation’s domestic shrimp, and 90% of species in…

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Committee to change state song is mostly white


Bill would remove racist state song, but creates a mostly white selection committee to replace it

The final debate on the Senate floor about a large spending bill didn’t focus on the millions of dollars earmarked for the state’s visitors bureaus, but over the future of the state song – rather, songs – and the lack of Black members on the song-selection committee. 

All but one of the six is white. Senators opposed to the bill pointed out the committee does not reflect the demographics of the state. While the legislation removes a racist state song, it would also create a committee comprised of mostly white members to select new ones.

Mississippi lawmakers passed a bill late Thursday that removes “Go, Mississippi” as the official state song. In addition, it allocated $40 million in funds toward tourism and marketing. 

“I know that we’re coming to end of  a very difficult session and we are trying to get out of here and make the best decisions in the short period of time we have left,” said Sen. John Hohrn (D-Jackson). “But this is a bad decision.”

“Go, Mississippi,” adopted as the state song in 1962, has its roots in Mississippi’s segregationist past. The song was an adaptation of segregationist Gov. Ross Barnett’s campaign song, “Roll With Ross,” which included anti-integration lyrics and was introduced at a rally during Barnett’s fight against integration of the University of Mississippi by James Meredith.

“Go, Mississippi” is the tune of Barnett’s campaign song with lyrics rewritten. There have been efforts for many years in the Legislature to adopt a new state song and repeal “Go, Mississippi,” but they failed, often because lawmakers couldn’t agree on a new state song. Unlike many other states’ official songs, “Go, Mississippi” is relatively obscure and little recognized, even by many Mississippians.

The bill names former Gov. Phil Bryant-supported song – “One Mississippi” by Steve Azar – as the state’s official “contemporary genre song.” The committee will decide more state songs by genre, such as country and blues. 

The committee will be headed by the directors of the state’s development authority’s tourism division; the director of the Mississippi Tourism Association; the chair of the House tourism committee; the chair of the Senate tourism committee; the director of the Mississippi Arts Commission; and the director of the Two Mississippi Museums. 

“It is ill conceit that the leader of the that’s whole mission is about music is omitted,” Horhn said, referring to Cleveland’s Grammy Museum, “and that there is a scarcity of African Americans on this committee.”

In response to those criticisms, Sen. Bart Williams (R-Starkville) said he viewed the committee as a “starting point, not an ending point.” 

“Mississippi has not only transformed the course of America’s music, it has revolutionized it, and because of this, it is important that the official songs of the State of Mississippi truly reflect the state’s phenomenal musical heritage, while enthusiastically looking forward to its future,” the bill says. 

If the bill is signed by Gov. Tate Reeves, it will go into effect July 1. The bill was passed by a 37-7 vote. Two senators abstained. The sister bill in the House also passed with an overwhelming majority.

The bulk of the bill focuses on tourism spending, split predominantly among the state’s destination marketing organizations. About $20 million will be split among the state’s top 10 destinations, leaving – the Gulf Coast bureau comprising three counties – with the largest chunk of the federal dollars. 

Just under $9.5 million has been allocated to be shared among the state’s smaller tourism bureaus. No bureau will get less than $250,000. A formula using each destination’s 2019 marketing expenses determine their exact share.

During a Coastal Mississippi board meeting Thursday, commissioner Brooke Shoultz said she estimates the bureau would receive more than $6 million if the bill was signed as is by the governor. 

The bill also allocates $5 million to non-profit museums and $5 million to the state’s smaller cities that are part of the Mississippi Main Street Association. 

The bill mirrors Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act spending that was dispersed among tourism groups in 2020. 

“This is, of course, tremendous,” said Mississippi Tourism Association executive director Danielle Morgan. “We saw how well it worked the first round and it’s why Mississippi fared better than some other destinations and is still leading the southeast in visitor spending.” 

During the immediate recovery, Mississippi boasted record-breaking revenue. Destinations across the state focused on markets within driving distance, capitalizing off the break many tourists took from flights. 

Geoff Pender contributed to this story.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Your Fishing Guide for Coastal Mississippi


If you’re an avid fishermen, you’re in luck, because has an abundance of opportunities for fishing all yearlong! Choose from locations in the Mississippi Sound, Back Bay, Bay of St. Louis, wetlands, rivers, piers, and more. With over 200 species of fish up for grabs, the Secret Coast is a fisherman’s paradise. And if you’re not an expert at fishing, that’s okay too –…

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An Ideal Family Spring Break Destination


No plans for Spring Break just yet? No problem! is a family’s paradise, providing pristine beaches, interactive attractions, and thrilling outdoor excursions the entire family can enjoy. Enjoy the week off from work and school exploring our 62 miles of scenic coastline.  

One Stop Shop




If you’re looking for a one-stop vacation spot, look no further than

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After rocky period, Mississippi’s largest tourism bureau hires new director


After rocky period, Mississippi’s largest tourism bureau hires new director

Judy Young, who most recently worked marketing a city outside San Antonio, will begin her new role as ’s executive director on Feb. 1, 2022.

– The state’s largest regional bureau has chosen a new director from Texas to take over after the abrupt and controversial exit of its previous leader three months ago. 

Judy Young, who most recently worked marketing a city outside San Antonio, will begin her new role as Coastal Mississippi’s executive director on Feb. 1. Young has been working in the tourism industry for the last two decades. 

“I was looking for a dynamic destination and it’s an exciting opportunity,” Young told Mississippi Today. “I was always a big travel person. I love travel and tourism. It’s the greatest education there is out there. It feeds the soul.”

Young was the vice president of the visitor’s bureau in New Braunfels, Texas. In her new job, she will be marketing a region rather than one city. Coastal Mississippi covers three counties in a partnership between Hancock, Jackson and Harrison counties on the Gulf Coast. 

“Judy is an incredibly accomplished tourism leader and will bring a wealth of industry experience and knowledge to the organization,” Coastal Mississippi commission board president Brooke Shoultz said in a statement. “At this pivotal time for the tourism industry, Judy’s leadership will undoubtedly prove invaluable to the continued growth and prosperity of our destination.”

The Gulf Coast bureau’s previous director Milton Segarra announced his abrupt resignation in September 2021 following criticisms that his annual salary of $225,000 was too high. 

With Young’s appointment, commissioners decided to scale back the executive director salary to $175,000 per year.  

READ MORE: Mississippi’s largest tourism board is on the brink of collapse

Segarra also had a prior rift with the board that governs the tourism bureau when they voted not to act on a complaint he filed regarding a remark made by one of its members. 

On the heels of Segarra’s resignation, leaders were at the center of more disconnect and in-fighting among board members and local leadership. The flare-up threatened the three-county bureau’s future enough that 11 casino executives wrote a joint letter to the group begging them to find a path forward. 

In the fall, Shoultz released a statement saying the commissioners resolved all misunderstandings and were committed to the regional tourism model. 

“They regret not meeting sooner during the many months of misinformation and rumors that caused tension and divide,” Shoultz said in October.  

Coastal Mississippi is funded by a 2-3% tax on hotel stays across Harrison, Jackson and Hancock counties. In a budget report to Harrison County made late last year, Coastal Mississippi said it had about $5.2 million in its budget from the taxes. 

The bulk of that tax revenue — about 80% of Coastal Mississippi’s funding — comes from Harrison County’s casino resorts and hotels. As a result, Harrison County has the largest bloc within the board of commissioners that approves Coastal Mississippi’s spending. 

Young told Mississippi Today she is used to navigating multiple public bodies while leading a tourism bureau. She has also been impressed with the passion from local leaders and business owners. 

“I’m excited there’s so much engagement,” Young said. “It’s always a heavy challenge if there’s no passion from stakeholders about their destination.” 

Young said she and her husband — a Mississippi native — were house hunting and exploring “all 62 miles” of the Coast for the next few days. 

“There is a great balance of generational investments and new economic development here,” Young said, “and amazing special events.”

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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