Mississippi Gulf Coast may soon lose landmark

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Saturday, June 30, 2007

During Hurricane Camille in 1969, a 72-foot tugboat named the East Point washed ashore on Gulfport's West Beach. Lucille Moody, a beachfront property owner renamed the boat the S.S. Hurricane Camille and built a gift shop behind it, after moving it on specially built railroad tracks. The boat and gift shop became a popular attraction for tourists visiting the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

But on August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina came ashore pushing a 20-plus foot storm surge leaving mostly everything on the beachfront destroyed. Only a few things were standing including the Biloxi Lighthouse, the Friendship Oak, and the S.S. Hurricane Camille. Lucille Moody decided not to rebuild the gift shop, so there the S.S. Camille stands, a rusted hulk on a beachfront that is quickly rebuilding.

People want it gone, suggesting it is an "eyesore", but others suggest this historic object be preserved, especially after the loss of historic sites including Grass Lawn and Tullis-Toledo Manor. They suggest a coat of paint and some repairs could make the boat much more appealing.

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