Katrina anniversary event will be ‘Phenomenal’

By MARY PEREZ – meperez@sunherald.com

BILOXI

The fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in August will involve “Phenomenal People: A Celebration of Healing” — with a week of torch races, concerts and ceremonies to unite the Coast and bring back volunteers who helped with the recovery.

“We want to highlight everything that’s good about the Coast,” Biloxi Councilman Bill Stallworth said Tuesday. The event could see the return of tens of thousands of volunteers, who Stallworth said are already tied to South Mississippi. It also will provide opportunities for nonprofit agencies to raise money to continue their work, he said.

Stallworth’s organization, Hope Community Development Agency, is planning the celebration for Aug. 21-29 with the help of elected officials, businesses leaders and nonprofit representatives.

Debbie Thomas with Hope CDA said what started out as a concert has turned into a phenomenal event for the entire Coast. The kickoff is a free concert on the water across from Treasure Bay Casino in Biloxi, showcasing the Coast’s diverse musical talents. Thomas said A&E television personality Billy the Exterminator will sponsor a Kid Zone during the event.

The celebration closes Aug. 29 with a finale of a talent search at the Saenger Theatre in Biloxi.

A highlight of the celebration is a coast-to-coast torch run starting simultaneously in Waveland and Pascagoula, stopping at every city for the passing of the torch and meeting at the foot of the Biloxi Bay Bridge, where the Isle Casino Biloxi will host a reception.

Also planned are concerts at the IP Casino, an awards gala, Katrina memorials, a prayer brunch and a work week for volunteers.

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/06/22/2280383/katrina-anniversary-event-will.html#ixzz0rgLsS7k3

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