Pascagoula, MS 39563
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Pascagoula is a city in Jackson County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 26,200 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Jackson
Pascagoula is the industrial heart of Mississippi, and the Gulf Coast as a whole. Prior to World War II, the town was a sleepy fishing village of only about 5,000. The population exploded with the war-driven shipbuilding industry. Although the city's population seemed to peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s as Cold War defense spending was at its height, Pascagoula experienced some new growth and development in the years before Hurricane Katrina. Today, Pascagoula is home to the state’s largest employer, Ingalls Shipbuilding, owned by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems — "America’s Shipbuilder." Other major industries include one of the largest Chevron refineries in the country; Signal International, an oil platform builder; and Mississippi Phosphates. Another community asset, Naval Station Pascagoula, is located on Singing River Island and is homeport to several Navy warships as well as a large Coast Guard contingent. However, Naval Station Pascagoula is set to be decommissioned as part of the 2005 BRAC recommendations.
The name Pascagoula, which means "bread eaters," is taken from a group of Native Americans. Hernando De Soto first made contact with these Native Americans in the 1540s. Local legend says the Pascagoula tribe chanted and waded hand-in-hand into the Pascagoula River, drowning together rather than become enslaved to an enemy tribe, the Biloxi. Thus, the legend of the "Singing River" was born. Local legend states that on still summer and autumn evenings, the sad song of the Pascagoulas can still be heard near the river.
Pascagoula has been home or host to many notable people including the pirate Jean Lafitte; the infamous Copeland Gang; “Old Hickory” Andrew Jackson; General (later President) Zachary Taylor; Confederate General and Congressman David Emanuel Twiggs; Union Admiral David Farragut; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who penned "The Building of a Ship" while in Pascagoula; and Nobel Laureate in literature William Faulkner who is believed to have written "Mosquitoes" while summering in Pascagoula. The world renowned rhythm and blues band The Nite Riders also got their start in Pascagoula in the 1950s. Many of the original members still perform together in local casinos.
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