Pinecote Pavilion is visually powerful for such a "lightweight" structure. The open-air architectural gem at Crosby Arboretum in Picayune snared the nation's highest award from the American Institute of Architects.
    The pavilion is nestled in the forests, marshes and ponds of the arboretum, a native-plant conservatory of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. The arboretum opened in 1978, and the pavilion was constructed in 1986.
    "During Katrina, Pinecote was hit by a pine tree that snapped in half," said Melinda Lyman, senior curator and on-site director. "Chris McRaney, who has a local tree-removal company, carefully removed the tree. It was a tedious task and we are grateful to him for volunteering."
    Some rafters are broken and dangling and support beams bowed.
    "It will be repaired," she said. "We have an estimate and we're waiting on the wood that is a pine with a special treatment and cut. We can't rent out the pavilion because of condition it is in, but engineers tell us it is as stable now as before the hurricane."
    Pinecote was designed by architects Fay Jones - a student of Frank Lloyd Wright - and Maurice Jennings, who also upholds the principles of "organic architecture."
    The family of L.O. Crosby Jr., a lumberman who made his fortune from the forests of Pearl River County and elsewhere, established Crosby as a living memorial to him. It is now the Southeast's premier native-plant conservatory.
    Crosby's role has expanded to become an educational resource and provides protection of the region's biological diversity. It's also a place where the public can go to see, first-hand, plant species native to the Pearl River Drainage Basin of south-central Mississippi and Southeast Louisiana.