Beauvoir, Mississippi's shining example of heritage tourism, is a place to study architecture, antebellum furnishings and museum artifacts. It's also a place to learn history firsthand.|
This Biloxi retirement estate of Confederate President Jefferson Davis has Civil War re-enactments, summer youth campus, Christmas programs and seminars on researching black family history. Several museums there documented the life and times of Davis, and Beauvoir House reflected the antebellum South.
The house was built in 1852-54 for James Brown, a Madison County cotton planter. Lavish frescoed interior walls and ceilings, rounded corners, Greek revival mantels and other details make Beauvoir an architectural treasure.
Some national media incorrectly reported Beauvoir House as destroyed in Katrina. The new presidential library was gutted and the Confederate Veterans Hospital swept away, as were the two front pavilions, but the big house is stable though badly damaged. The front and back galleries, or porches, are gone or collapsed, as is a parlor wall and ceiling.
"The good news is that we have something that we can rebuild," said Beauvoir director Patrick Hotard. Preliminary figures are that restoration of the house and presidential library will cost $25 million, and the Mississippi Sons of Confederate Veterans, which owns the property, will do fundraising.
Furnishings are undergoing conservation, and the hunt is still under way on Beauvoir property for museum artifacts.
- KAT BERGERON