What John Cuevas accomplished in his detailed account of Cat Island was truly a heartened journey into the past of his own personal heritage. Cat Island, encountered in 1699 by the French while seeking the mouth of the Mississippi River, has been studied by many historians including myself. I reviewed the works of other contemporary writers such as; M. James Stevens' research papers, Nap Cassibry's Ladner Odyssey, Gloria Moran's files, and Kat Bergeron's chronicles - they all added various slices of the passing centuries, but the depth and breadth of detail is only brought forth in John's Cat Island: The History of a Mississippi Gulf Coast Barrier Island.
It is interesting to follow the changeover of ownership of the Gulf Coast from French to English to Spanish to American and the string of ownerships of the Island that resulted. As reported, Lafitte's pirates and Copeland's rum-runners hid some of their loot on Cat Island. Pirates Cove was supposedly named due to its use by Jean Lafitte. The Cat Island lighthouse, erected in 1831, was temporarily discontinued due to hurricane damages in 1860 followed by a shut-down by the Confederates in 1861. The island is now protected by being included in the Gulf Islands National Seashore (U.S. National Park Service.)
Cat Island can be seen from the shores of Pass Christian, Long Beach, and Gulfport resulting in being visually familiar to locals and tourists alike, but in reading the John Cuevas historic version, makes one want to see the Island up close - to see and feel it as Juan de Cuevas of the 1790s, knew it.
Cat Island: The History of a Mississippi Gulf Coast Barrier Island is an 191 page paperback book that with the most detailed and accuratehistory ever published about Cat Island. Cat Island: The History of a Mississippi Gulf Coast Barrier Island retails for $45.00 at Bay Book.
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