OPINION: Pascagoula: Mississippi’s hidden treasure

Posted on Mar 31 2017 - 8:01am by Nestor Delgado

From Bozos to Edd’s Drive In, Trent Lott to Dickie Scruggs, Senquez Golson to Sarah Thomas, Ingalls Shipbuilding to Chevron Gas Refinery, President Zachary Taylor’s summer home to Jimmy Buffett, Pascagoula, a small town of 22,000 on the Gulf Coast, has something to offer to everyone, whether you’re a foodie, naval history buff or music connoisseur.

You drive into this simple small town and realize that the history, specifically its ties to Ole Miss and the foundation of this great nation, is something that must be addressed and appreciated.

It is this town that the cornerback Senquez Golson, who made the game winning interception for Ole Miss against Alabama in 2015, called home. It is in this town where Sen. Trent Lott laid his foundation and began on his path to political success.

It is the town where Dickie Scruggs, a former lawyer and current non-profit president in Oxford, took down Big Tobacco at the local courthouse.

It is in this town where the first female full-time referee in the NFL, Sarah Thomas, began her tenure as a football referee.

It is in this town where the concept of “Margaritaville” was conceived from the great “island escapism” artist, Jimmy Buffett. It is in this town where the late President Zachary Taylor found such beauty that he built a summer home at Beach Park.

You drive off on I-10 off Exit 69 through Moss Point, home of the Phoenix Suns’ shooting guard Devin Booker, into downtown Pascagoula where you can find Scranton’s, a highly revered restaurant with a rich history in the local area.

Driving onto highway 90, you’ll pass by Edd’s Drive In, known for its chili cheese burgers and “old school walk-up window” vibe.

Head down Market Street and past Jerry Lee’s, and you’ll stop at a hole in the wall, Bozo’s Grocery, where one can pick up seafood, caught fresh from the gulf less than a mile south, and enjoy pounds of fresh crawfish or a fried oyster and shrimp po-boy with friends and family.

We live in a country that loves our big cities. Metro areas like New York and Los Angeles have qualities that make them great places to live, but our nation’s small towns are too often forgotten in the fast lane in which we all live.

Sometimes the best way to find fulfillment in life is to emulate golfer Walter Hagen and “be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” Pascagoula gives you an opportunity to do just that.

Pascagoula is a place I have come to appreciate and believe is the greatest small town in America, given its history and what it has offered our university, state and nation.

Nestor Delgado is a sophomore public policy leadership major from Pascagoula.