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Gautier, Mississippi
City Gautier (Go Chay)
Location of Gautier, Mississippi
Location of Gautier, Mississippi
Gautier, Mississippi is located in the United States
Gautier, Mississippi
Gautier, Mississippi
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Jackson
Area
 • Total 32.12 sq mi (83.20 km2)
 • Land 30.26 sq mi (78.37 km2)
 • Water 1.86 sq mi (4.83 km2)
Elevation
7 ft (2 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 18,572
 • Estimate 
(2019)
18,490
 • Density 611.10/sq mi (235.94/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP code
39553
Area code(s) 228
FIPS code 28-26860
GNIS feature ID 0670341

Gautier ( goh-chay) is a city in Jackson County, Mississippi, United States, along the Gulf of Mexico west of Pascagoula. It is part of the Pascagoula Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 18,572 at the 2010 census, up from 11,681 at the 2000 census. In 2002, Gautier had annexed land more than doubling its area.

Gautier is a bedroom resort community surrounded by bayous and wetlands on three sides. The natural environment of Gautier offers many opportunities for recreation and eco-tourism. The Gulf Coast region, of which Gautier is a part, has been considered a relatively high growth area of the state; however, the loss of houses and jobs after Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005 led to outmigration in 2006.

History

The town takes its name from the Gautier family that originated in Lyon, France. Fernando Upton Gautier (1822–1891) was born on a cargo ship as his parents were immigrating to New Orleans. In 1867, Gautier established a spacious homestead at the mouth of the Pascagoula River Basin, which still stands. He established a lucrative sawmill business in the area, and the town grew up from it. The home, known by locals as "The Old Place", is owned by the descendants of Fernando Upton Gautier and his wife, Theresa Fayard Gautier (1828–1911), and is used for private and public events.

Organizational structure

The governmental structure of the City of Gautier is relatively young but the area has deep connections to the history of the gulf coast region. The City Manager-Council organizational structure has governed since 1987. Although the 2005 natural disaster slowed growth momentarily, the population of Gautier is expected to grow at a steady rate during the coming decades. The socio-economic demographics of the city is similar to that of Jackson County in terms of income, age, gender and education, although Gautier has a higher rate of college-educated persons. The income and employment of residents benefits greatly from the proximity of strong employment centers in Jackson County.

Geography

Gautier is located at 30°22′54″N 88°38′39″W / 30.38167°N 88.64417°W / 30.38167; -88.64417 (30.381536, -88.644169), along Mississippi Sound of the Gulf of Mexico, at the mouth of the West Pascagoula River.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 32 square miles (83 km2), of which 12.2 square miles (32 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (5.19%) is water.

Mississippi-Coast-towns-NOAA
Gautier, Mississippi (right center) is east of Ocean Springs and west of Pascagoula, off U.S. Route 90, along the Gulf of Mexico.

Gautier is located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Jackson County on the West Bank of the Pascagoula River, locally known as the "Singing River."

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1970 2,087
1980 8,917 327.3%
1990 10,088 13.1%
2000 11,681 15.8%
2010 18,572 59.0%
2019 (est.) 18,490 −0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
Mississippi-Coast-towns-NOAA
Gautier (right center) is east of Ocean Springs and west of Pascagoula, off U.S. Route 90, along the Gulf of Mexico.

2020 census

Gautier racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 10,084 53.01%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 5,828 30.63%
Native American 105 0.55%
Asian 268 1.41%
Pacific Islander 23 0.12%
Other/Mixed 844 4.44%
Hispanic or Latino 1,872 9.84%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 19,024 people, 7,013 households, and 4,577 families residing in the city.

Hurricane Katrina

On August 29, 2005 Gautier was one of many cities affected by Hurricane Katrina. Many of the coastal homes were either destroyed or flooded. Some of the houses along the coast were built on hills, leaving them with wind damage only. Homes built on the water were completely destroyed, occasionally leaving an intact slab. In a few cases the slabs were cracked in half. One home in particular was built on pylons 13 feet (4 m) above sea level and had the floor ripped out from underneath. Most of northern Gautier, above the railroad tracks, had some wind damage but largely remains intact. Despite the damages caused by Hurricane Katrina, the historic home of Fernando Upton Gautier remains intact and open for business.

Economic development post Hurricane Katrina

The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act (Go-Zone), passed by Congress and signed into law in December 2005, provided economic development incentives within the 49 most damaged counties of Mississippi and other states affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Incentives included $4.9 billion in tax-exempt private activity bonds, $106 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and a 50 percent bonus-depreciation for property placed in service before the pre-determined deadline. Go Zone tax-exempt private activity bonds encouraged both economic recovery and growth in South Mississippi. Some of the largest employers on the Coast including Chevron, Northrop Grumman and PSL-North America received recovery assistance through the increased bond allocation. The Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) was awarded a $95 million National Emergency Grant (NEG) from the federal government to assist in temporary recovery jobs and to help provide job training.


Education

Gautier is served by the Pascagoula-Gautier School District. The main secondary school in the city is Gautier High School, whose doors opened in 1996 and which was awarded blue ribbon status by the Department of Education in 2005. The city is also served by Gautier Middle School, Singing River Academy, and three elementary schools.

The Jackson County Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is located in Gautier, as one of four campuses of the community college.

Notable people

  • Walter Inglis Anderson, painter and writer
  • Mario Edwards Jr., professional football defensive end
  • Aaron Jones, professional basketball player
  • Margie Joseph, R&B, soul and gospel singer
  • Kez McCorvey, former professional football player
  • John Read, member of the Mississippi House of Representatives
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