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Map of Gulf Coast

Mississippi's Gulf Coast was the first region in the state to be settled by Europeans. It was the home to small fishing communities and some minor tourism efforts through most of the 19th century. Starting with the development of the seafood industry in Biloxi in the late 1800s, the Gulf Coast began drawing people from throughout the region and world that continues to this day. Slovenian, Cajun, and Vietnamese immigrants first came to Biloxi to work in the seafood packing plants. Small farmers from north Mississippi left their home places and moved to Pascagoula to work in the city's shipbuilding yards starting in the late 1930s. Migration into the area continues today, currently fueled by the rapid growth of the Coast's casinos.

The Gulf Coast's diverse population has made it home to a wide range of artistic traditions and ethnic celebrations. Both Mardi Gras and Tet (Chinese New Year's) are celebrated in communities on the Coast. The maritime industry also has a strong influence on local culture. Boat builders, netmakers and others provide the tools of trade for local fisherman. And each spring the Coast's fishermen and their boats are blessed by the local Catholic bishop through Blessing of the Fleet ceremonies.



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Community Traditions