BAY ST. LOUS, Miss. -- Bay St. Louis has a new coastline with the completion of a $22 million harbor and 1,200-feet-long fishing pier.
New Orleans residents Jan Perera and James Garcia, who have known Bay St. Louis since childhood, were stunned.
'Oh this is awesome. I can't believe this,' said Perera. 'I can't believe how many boats are out here now, already.'
'It's dreams come true, and I mean it has been the dream of so many people in this community for 50 years,' said Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame.
Seventy of the 162 docking spaces have been leased already. Other boats can tie up for free to enjoy nearby shops and restaurants.
'This is where we spent the summer all the time, and to look at this today, to believe this is sitting in the harbor with all these boats here, this is unbelievable,' said James Garcia of Interior Design. 'Shows the Gulf Coast is growing.'
The harbor only opened three weeks ago, but the mayor says the businesses in Bay St. Louis are already seeing the impact of increased tourism.
'We've had numerous visitors come from the Northshore and south shore of Lake Pontchartrain over the last three weeks, and it's people who would not have come probably otherwise,' Fillingame said.
Bay Harbor will be dedicated Saturday during the three-day Bay Harbor Fest, when the new docks will be jammed.
'The harbor in Bay St. Louis is going to drive and re-drive the economy for generations,' Fillingame said.
'It's only 45 minutes away,' Garcia said. 'Everybody should enjoy the Gulf Coast.'