Last week when authorities responded to a fatal boating accident in Biloxi, they initially reported the location as the Biloxi River.
Not long after the initial report appeared on the Sun Herald website, readers who live in the area began calling to say the scene of the accident was actually on the Tchoutacabouffa (pronounced chew-tucka-BUFF) River.
Three responding agencies reported the scene as the Biloxi River, and Google Maps shows the Tchoutacabouffa River as being only a small stretch of water where forks of the Biloxi River converge.
Later that night, officials corrected the reports to say the scene of the accident was actually the Tchoutacabouffa River.
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Needless to say, there was some initial confusion about the distinction between the Biloxi and Tchoutacabouffa rivers.
According to Lt. Jimmy Lawrence, boating supervisor Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks South Region, they are separate rivers. He is familiar with both rivers because he grew up in D’Iberville.
The Biloxi and Tchoutacabouffa rivers both begin just past the Popp’s Ferry bridge toward the North, but take different directions.
The Biloxi runs westward up toward the middle of Harrison County and crosses into U.S. 49.
The Tchoutacabouffa runs up the east side of Harrison County. It forks right off Biloxi River by Grass Hopper Island. From there, it travels north of Sunkist toward Parkers Lake.
The Tchoutacabouffa River goes under Interstate 10 and Cedar Lake Road through North Biloxi and D’Iberville. It travels under Mississippi 67 and Lamey Bridge Road toward CC Road and crosses Mississippi 15 to Bethel Road.
In all, the Tchoutacabouffa River flows 31 miles to the North.
Tchoutacabouffa is the Biloxi tribe’s word for “broken pot.”
Lawrence has a simple reason for the occasional confusion between the two rivers.
“The people who make those maps (Google maps) aren’t from the Coast,” Lawrence said.