PASCAGOULA -- He was excited when they told him it was in the works.
This is a beach, after all, and beach-going is part of Jimmy Buffett's life theme.
Pascagoula is moving forward with naming its beach for the native singer/songwriter who has parlayed his talents into multimillion-dollar business holdings and a devout fan base.
A name change has to go through the proper channels, and Coast legislators are working on it. The bill to rename the Pascagoula beach passed the state House on Monday by a vote of 119-1 and Sen. Brice Wiggins doesn't foresee any opposition in the Senate.
The new name would become official July 1.
Suzanne Steinberger told Buffett the plan in September, when he played a free concert on the Pascagoula Beach. At that time, the city was naming a small bridge over Baptiste Bayou for him.
"I really do love my bridge," he told the crowd of 6,000 who came to see him.
Steinberger is the city events coordinator. She escorted Buffett from the time he landed on Krebs Lake, off the Pascagoula River, in a seaplane with his daughter, manager and bodyguard until he flew out the same day for New Orleans.
"He was so chill," Steinberger said, "so happy with reliving his childhood, happy with everything that day. The beach was just one more thing.
"He said, 'That's great. Thank you so much,'" she said.
He rehearsed, caught up with friends, played for the crowd and then stopped at his grandmother's old home on his way out of town.
It was his first time to play Pascagoula, where he was born. He visited often from Mobile, where he grew up. He still has family around, and Steinberger said it appears he is enjoying rediscovering his ties to the area.
"I always return to Pascagoula in song and in thought," Buffett said during the concert. "Most of my songs were inspired by my younger years along the Gulf Coast."
Pascagoula is reciprocating the love. Signs will go up soon declaring the city his hometown, the bridge will sport a sign and, if all goes well, the beach will have a new name.
May 6, his parents' anniversary, is Jimmy Buffett Day.
"We want him to know and see his hometown is befriending him," she said.
City Manager Joe Huffman said, "We want to recognize him as much as we can."