BILOXI — Visitors arriving today at Beauvoir, the last home of the president of the Confederacy, will be greeted inside the new Jefferson Davis Presidential Library.
For nearly eight years, the first building guests at Beauvoir have seen coming through the gates is a FEMA trailer, a reminder of Hurricane Katrina.
“We have been working to get into the building since Katrina,” Beauvoir executive director Bertram Hayes-Davis told WLOX-TV in Biloxi.
“We did the house, the two cottages. The library has taken about four years to build and it’s in its final stages of completion.”
Workers are eager to take over the building. They came ready to work Monday hauling boxes and unloading items into the new gift shop.
“It is an exciting day for us. This is the first time we are moving some of the stuff out of the FEMA trailer and into the library and into the gift store,” Hayes-Davis said.
Hayes-Davis is the great-great-grandson of Jefferson Davis. He became executive director of Beauvoir in July 2012.
Beauvoir is the hip-roofed, Gulf-front mansion where Jefferson Davis spent the last 12 years of his life. Davis’ widow, Varina Davis, left Beauvoir in 1891.
Beauvoir was nearly swept away by Katrina in 2005.
Workers began Monday hauling boxes and unloading items into the new gift shop.
“This is the first time we are moving some of the stuff out of the FEMA trailer and into the library and into the gift store,” Hayes-Davis said.
The 24,000 square foot state of the art building also has other features that are not quite ready to show off yet, include an event room and administrative offices.
“We have three galleries upstairs which will be a rotating gallery, a Jefferson Davis gallery, a confederate soldiers’ gallery, also a library,” Hayes-Davis said.
Hayes-Davis said he hopes to open the rest of the building and have an official grand opening sometime this summer.