The Mississippi Gulf Coast, also known as the Mississippi Gulf Coast region, or simply The Coast, is the area of southern Mississippi along the Mississippi Sound along the Gulf Of Mexico.
The term has traditionally referred to the three counties that lie directly on the Mississippi Sound that meet up with the Gulf of Mexico within the state: Hancock County, Harrison County, and Jackson County.
The U. S. Census Bureau divided the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) for the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2003, which previously had been the three coastal counties, into two MSAs that included two additional counties.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, there was considerable out-migration from the Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans into more inland areas.
Thus, in the present day the Mississippi Gulf Coast region is generally considered to also include the next tier of counties to the north of the original three: Pearl River County, Stone County and George County.
Although the broad reference is to an entire region of Mississippi, in regards to towns, the term "Mississippi Gulf Coast" is most commonly used to refer to those settlements that are either directly on the coastline or the shores of its bays. They include, from west to east:
- Bay St. Louis
- Pass Christian
- Long Beach
- Ocean Springs
- Moss Point
The Biloxi people lived in the region at least as early as 1699. French settlers under Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville built Fort Maurepas ("Old Biloxi"), which served as the administrative capital of French Louisiana until 1719. A confederate base on Ship Island was seized during the American Civil War. In the 20th century, Keesler Air Force Base brought development to the region. Hurricane Camille in 1969, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 caused historic destruction to the Gulf Coast.
- Walter Inglis Anderson, painter, writer, and naturalist
- Frederick Barthelme, novelist
- Varina Davis, First Lady of the Confederate States of America
- Prentiss Ingraham, Confederate soldier and writer
- Jack Nelson, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist of the Civil Rights era
- George E. Ohr, ceramic artist
- Eugene Antonio Marino, Archbishop emeritus of Atlanta
- Fannie C. Williams, educator
- William Woodward, artist
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