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Workers at Gulfshore safe; photos show heavy damage

JACKSON, Miss. (BP)–All fulltime workers at Gulfshore Baptist Assembly have been accounted for on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, according to officials of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, which owns the conference center.

In the early days after Hurricane Katrina, officials had no reports about the status of three staff members at Gulfshore, which was heavily damaged by the storm surge.

No staff members were at Gulfshore when the hurricane’s eye passed near the encampment, Mississippi convention officials said.

Photographs from the site show the facility intact on its pilings, but with the first two floors heavily damaged. Kelly Auditorium was reduced to its metal framework.

All GBA conferences and events have been postponed and will be considered for rescheduling at other locations.

Gulfshore’s Henderson Point site on the Gulf Coast has a rich history. Admiral Pierre le Moyne d’Iberville landed on the shores of the area in 1699, and legend has it that Christian L’Adnier, dispatched by d’Iberville to explore the waters around what is now called Cat Island, found the pass and the point was named Pass Christian in his honor.

In the two decades before World War II, Henderson Point was home to the Inn-by-the-Sea hotel. The U. S. government bought the land from the hotel owners and converted it into a Merchant Marine Cadet Basic School in 1939-40. The cadet school was discontinued about 1947 and Mississippi Baptists purchased the property at auction from the government in 1958.

Gulfshore was struck by Hurricane Betsy in September 1965. All buildings nearest the beach were flooded with five to six feet of water and the camp sustained substantial damage.

In August 1969, Gulfshore was destroyed by Hurricane Camille and rebuilt in the early 1970s with hurricane-resistant features that met their greatest test with Hurricane Katrina.
Based on reporting by William Perkins & Tony Martin of The Baptist Record, newjournal of the Mississippi Baptist Convention.

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