When I left home Friday morning to cover the ceremonies at Gautier's Nature's Playground sculpture, Im not sure what exactly I expected, but I definitely didn't expect a crowd of hundreds surrounding the 42-feet high work of art.
The ceremonies were nice. Gautier was very proud of the steps they have taken in developing the town center. The community was also proud, as their enthusiasm showed through the multiple clapping pauses throughout the speeches.
The artist, Dean Mosher, spoke of how his team put together the project and how many long hours it to put it together.
There were performances of the national anthem and an original song from a violinist.
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Besides the ridiculous wind, it was a great start to what turned out to be a pretty awesome day.
On Fridays, I generally have early morning assignments in Jackson County and then return to the Biloxi office in the afternoon to prep for next week's assignments.
This Friday just so happened to be Ole Miss' first game in the NCAA Tournament.
In the middle of the day. On a channel that apparently not many networks carry.
A few other newsroom staffers are also Ole Miss fans, so we were struggling to find a way to keep up with the game. We tried livestreams online, but of course, those weren't reliable. We tried radio apps on our phones which were a few minutes behind the live action.
A few of my faithful coworkers (who are actually not Ole Miss fans) went with me to lunch at a nearby restaurant that carried the game. I didn't time it correctly, because lunch was over with nine minutes left in the second half and we were up by one point.
When we got back to the office, I tried the radio app solution again, until a few of my tech-savvy coworkers somehow found a way to put the game on the TV we have in the newsroom.
I have no idea how they did it, nor do I care. It was on. At least for a minute.
The analysts decided that Duke blowing away another team was more important than a close live game, so we were back to relying on apps. Our interactive editor (who is a Rebel), Kate Magandy, and I stood over an iPhone and watched the lastest updates on yet another app when our Sports Editor, Scott Hawkins, counted down the final seconds of the game.
Ole Miss beat fifth seed Wisconsin 57-46, subsequently destroying NCAA brackets across the country.
The two of us burst into a Hotty Toddy chant, effectively entertaining all the non-Ole Miss fans in the newsroom.
This made for a very happy Friday.