A Place by the Sea: Tourism on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Almost from the time Mississippi gained statehood in 1817, its Gulf Coast settlements have been seen as areas for recreation and relaxation. Many southerners visited to escape the higher heat and humidity of the inland areas. New Orleanians, in particular, came to the area in summer to retreat from yellow fever epidemics.

It's no surprise that the Mississippi Gulf Coast has long had a thriving tourist industry. Heavily advertised by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad as "America's Riviera", the Mississippi coast offered sailing, swimming, tennis, riding, bicycling, fishing, hunting, sunbathing, and golf, as well as much to draw those interested in architecture, history, gardens, and romance. It was (and is) convenient to travel by plane, train, and automobile, and close to the attractions of both Mobile and New Orleans.

Tourists are drawn to an area by word of mouth, but also by deliberate advertisement. In turn, these advertisements help to define the character of a place and shape how it is thought of by both visitors and year-round residents. The brochures, postcards, and other materials in this exhibit illustrate how the image of the Mississippi Gulf Coast was being formed in the first half of the 20th century.

The exhibit will be available until May 31, 2008, from 8:00-5:00 Monday through Friday on the 3rd floor of McCain Library.