Hancock County, MS | P.O. Box 2267 Bay St. Louis, MS 39521 | 706 Highway 90 | Waveland, Mississippi 39576 | Toll Free: 800.558.1658  | Phone: 228.467.9231 | Fax: 228.467.9341
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Mississippi Gulf Coast’s recovery powered by rocket fuel and beer

August 31, 2015

KILN, Miss. (WGNO) - The recovery along the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina had its own unique challenges.  Unlike the New Orleans metro area, bigger and better levees couldn't help along the beach.

So, residents in Hancock County had to find other ways to convince people and jobs to come back. They settled on a plan that relied on air, space, water, and beer.

Lazy Magnolia Brewery in Kiln, Miss., is one of the businesses driving the comeback on the coast.  It celebrated a 10-year anniversary in 2015.  But, it had nothing to do with Hurricane Katrina.

"We were just getting started, " owner Mark Henderson says about the brewery.  "We were effectively  six months old when Hurricane Katrina came through. "

They have a special brew to mark their 10th year in existence and to thank customers for coming back, even though there was a time when they weren't so sure the business was coming back.

"We lost everything we had.  We lost our house.  We lost our business," Henderson remembers. "And the easy way out—the easy way  was to quit.   And, no one would have judged us for it.  Instead, we simply took a look at all the people doing all the hard work and said, 'No.  We're going to make this better.'"

Mark Henderson now says he and his wife and brewmaster, Leslie made the right choice.

"In 2005,  it was Leslie and I tossing kegs around at two o'clock in the morning, brewing a few beers for a few bars on the beach.   Now, we're in 17 states," Henderson says.  "We're making millions upon millions of beers every year.  We employ 35 people who now get to call our business home and our community home. "

Lazy Magnolia's  story is one leaders along the coast like to hear.

"The fact that they were able to catapult  through the devastation of Katrina and come out on the other end with a great entrepreneurial success story, I think, really points to Lazy Magnolia in many ways as the embodiment of that Hancock County spirit," points out Ashley Edwards, Executive Director of the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission.

Edwards says the brewery created jobs.  And, jobs are the key to Hancock County's plan for a recovery.  The county is also counting on its big three businesses: Port Bienville, Stennis Space Center, and Stennis International Airport.

Stennis Space center is where NASA is testing the rockets that will bring people to Mars.  It's also home to private space exploration companies, like Space X, which is planning to colonize Mars.

For Henderson and Lazy Magnolia, the last 10 years have been up, down, and all around.  But, now, they are in the past. He's looking forward to the next 10 years.

"At the end of the day, people here are always focused on the future," says Henderson.  "They just dug down deep and  said, 'Yeah, it happened.  Move on.  Just go ahead.  Things are changing and they are going to be better.  And, we've been lucky enough to be part of that.  And to be engaged in a community that is focused on the future. "

Orginal article link: http://wgno.com/2015/08/31/mississippi-gulf-coasts-recovery-powered-by-rocket-fuel-and-beer/

#Aerospace, #Community, #Stennis International Airpark, #Stennis Space Center

For More Info: 14054 Fred & Al Key Road
Kiln, Mississippi 39556 (228) 467-9231
Map14054 Fred & Al Key Road
Kiln, Mississippi 39556
Toll Free: 800.558.1658

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