MSGulfCoastHeritage.ms.gov has been recognized by Juggle as one of the top national heritage sites on the web. Below you'll find an interview with Susan Perkins and Grant Larsen.
- Can you give us some background on the Mississippi Gulf Coast Heritage Area?
The Mississippi Gulf Coast was designated a National Heritage Area on December 8, 2004. The Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area (NHA) is a culturally, historically, and environmentally distinctive region where many chapters in the national story have been written. The bounties of the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s natural resources have brought people to this area from all over the world for thousands of years. The modern culture of the Coast consists of a multi-ethnic gumbo of people and traditions of Native American, European, African, and Asian descent.
The mission of the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area is to promote the understanding, conservation and enhancement of the heritage resources of the six counties of the Mississippi Gulf Coast by telling the area’s nationally significant story to residents and visitors through activities and partnerships that celebrate the area’s unique history, people, traditions, and landscapes.
- Why is it important to provide planning and assessment documents to the public concerning the MS Gulf Coast Area?
Providing planning and assessment documents to the public and to local government entities promotes awareness of our heritage resources and allows for the growth and development of the region while preserving these resources.
- What are some ways visitors can aid in the preservation and development of the heritage area?
By sharing our heritage resources and our culture with family and friends, visitors can help promote the historical significance of our area and in turn aid in the preservation and development of our heritage area.
- In what ways do you disseminate information about new association events or important announcements?
We disseminate event information and announcements in our quarterly newsletter, Heritage Happenings, which is available on our Web site. We also post current events in the Current Events/News section of our Web site.
- How do all of the heritage area partners work together to promote the rich culture of the area?
The heritage area partners all work together to tell the story of our region, through cultural events, historical structures, publications and by linking their Web sites to ours.
- What themes are present in the heritage area to emphasize the importance of the Gulf Coast to visitors?
The event of historical significance that warranted the designation of our area as a National Heritage Area was the landing of French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville. However, there are many other themes present that are important to the region; for instance, the natural resources of the area…the landscape—the estuaries that serve as the nursery grounds for the bountiful seafood harvest—and the waterways, that have enabled the exploration of and transportation to and from the region.
- What marketing strategies have you employed (both on- and off-line) to promote your website and tourism in the national heritage area?
Each year, we host the annual Coastal Development Strategies Conference. We include conference sessions about the heritage area and incorporate heritage tours as part of this event. We promote our Web site through partner links, news releases, our newsletter and other promotional materials.
- What resources do you use to keep information up-to-date and relevant to the needs of your visitors?
Our local heritage partners keep us up-to-date on happenings in our area, and we post current news and events on our Web site.
- When visitors travel through the area, what are the integrated themes emphasizing the coast’s unique qualities?
A main theme that pervades and comprehensively details what the heritage area is about would certainly be water. As strange as that sounds it is through, and as a result of, the rich hydrologic resources that this area was found, founded, and flourished. It was via the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Sound that d’Iberville sailed to discover the coast of what was to become Mississippi and the United States. It is from within these waters, nourished by the Pascagoula, Tchoutacabouffa, Jourdan, and Pearl Rivers, that the rich and bountiful coastal seafood are harvested by commercial and recreational fishermen alike. It was upon these very waterways where the abundant, and globally important, timber and wood products were transported. It was, and remains, upon these shores that boats and ships were constructed to build and defend nations. It is, today, upon the largest unimpeded river of the contiguous United States that visitors and residents paddle canoes and kayaks to experience the stealthy glide of an American Alligator, the silent soar of a migrating Swallow-tailed Kite, or the simple beauty of a Lubber Grasshopper proudly perched on a single blade of marsh grass. Yet these are but brief examples of what one might discover…………..in the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area.
- What else would you like to tell us about MSGulfCoastHeritage.ms.gov or the heritage area?
We have recently completed and made available, via the website, a video detailing the commercial fishing heritage of the Mississippi Gulf Coast as told by local fishermen. This video, divided into 4 short vignettes, provides a unique introspective into the daily lives, past and present tribulations and future of what once made the Coast of Mississippi the “seafood capital of the world”.