Famous Pascagoulans can now be seen on banners hanging downtown, showcasing the talents and reach of people who come from our area. With more in the works, you may be surprised to see the impact that those who are important to Pascagoula have also made on the world.
These banners came from an idea from Michele Coats, Main Street Pascagoula board president, and Richard Lucas, Main Street Pascagoula board member. Coats saw similar banners in Laurel, and the group thought the idea would also resonate well in Pascagoula.
“Pascagoula really does have a rich history of a lot of people coming out of this town that have really done extremely well in so many different fields,” Lucas said. “This would be a way to identify some of them.”
According to Lucas, the goals of the banners are two-fold: to be a point of pride for people who live in Pascagoula and to become a point of interest for those visiting the area. Those featured are either native to Pascagoula or have impacted the town in some way.
Names were submitted by the design committee, according to Rebecca Davis, Main Street Pascagoula director, and the board agreed on who the first four should be. They quickly added three more. The first seven banners belong to:
- Calvin Huey, the first African-American football player at the United States Naval Academy, retired Naval Intelligence Officer, IBM;
- Jimmy Buffett, singer, songwriter and author;
- Sarah Bailey Thomas, first full-time female official in the National Football League who recently officiated an NFL playoff game;
- Trent Lott, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Leader of the Senate;
- Robert Ingalls, established Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation in Pascagoula in 1938;
- Admiral David Farragut – first United States Naval Officer to hold the rank of Full Admiral;
- Lieutenant Colonel Leonelle Bonam – Tuskegee Airman/USAF, World War II, Korea, Vietnam.
At the bottom, the banners read: “Honoring Our Heritage We Are Pascagoula.”
“We’re really accomplishing what we want to, which is to exhibit the great diversity of people who have come out of here that have gone on to do great things,” Lucas said. “We’ve just got so many that have done really exceptional things, and this is a good way to put it on display.”
The seven banners are 8 by 15 and made out of mesh material to help with longevity. They are installed midway down Delmas Avenue on the side of a building close to the green space across from Zeal Boutique.
Lucas said they have two names in mind for the next two banners and that the board puts a lot of thought into who goes into the banners. They consider the names submitted, discuss them, and then vote on them.
The list of potential names is quite long and getting longer, Davis said, adding that they are looking for more places for them moving forward.
“The banners have created a sense of pride in our community,” Davis said. “When we started this, I didn’t realize how many famous people we do have from Pascagoula. It has been a mini history lesson and in a good, fun, creative way. We are looking forward to seeing who shows up in 2019 on walls or decorative light poles.”
The banners will be dedicated during a walking dedication event for a few other art pieces around town on March 21. You can learn more about Main Street Pascagoula on their Facebook page.