Betsy Ann Riverboat to make Bay St. Louis its new harbor

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Fans of the Betsy Ann Riverboat will soon have to head to the Bay St. Louis Municipal Harbor to hitch a ride.

That’s because in one week, owner Michael White is moving away from the congested harbor between Margaritaville and Golden Nugget in Biloxi.

He said after five years, he’s ready for a change, and he thinks his customers will like it too.

“Our original plan when we bought the boat was to operate it in Bay St. Louis,” White said. “But unfortunately, at the time, the harbor master over there wasn’t allowing commercial boats in the marina. So, we looked at Gulfport and kept getting further and further away from our house until we wound up over here in Biloxi.”

The last cruise in Biloxi will be July 30.

Other than being closer to home for him, there’s a different atmosphere in Bay St. Louis.

“This is a gambling atmosphere over here,” he said. “Over there, it’s not so much gamblers, it’s a...I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just a different feel, a different vibe over there.”

White said it will be good for many of his patrons as well, especially across the state line.

“Some of my New Orleans customers have reached out and said, ‘We’re so excited. We don’t have to go get a hotel in Biloxi and stay in Biloxi. We can stay in Bay St. Louis at one of the bed and breakfasts or one of the Airbnbs.’”

White’s decision comes as a surprise to his business neighbor, Derrick Dupuy of Parasail Adventures

“I mean, he’s the anchor of this corridor,” Dupuy said. “The boat’s been amazing – the people he brings to the area. And, so, it’s just a sad day for Biloxi.”

Charles Thomas is a visitor from Georgia, and it’s the first time on the Betsy Ann.

“If it’s as nice as I think it’s going to be, then I’ll be back,” he said.

That means a trip to Bay St. Louis.

“That’s right, because it’s not going to matter either way.”

White said the first cruises from Bay St. Louis will start on Aug. 3.

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Mike Lacy

Mike Lacy

Mike Lacy was a print journalist for 37 years before joining the WLOX team. Most of his career he spent as a writer, editor and page designer at the Sun Herald newspaper.