—Historic Biloxi —
Point Cadet encompasses the eastern tip of the Biloxi Peninsula. "Cadet" (pronounced Ka-day) is
the French word for junior or younger. In early records, it is shown as "Point-a-Cadda." Over time it became "Point Caddy." More recently, it has been known by its phonetic pronunciation or simply "the Point." The name is derived from the first documented land owner, Jacques Mathurin Ladner II (1750-1832), who received a Spanish land grant in 1784. The western boundary of Point Cadet is just east of present day Kuhn Street and runs north to Back Bay.
Point Cadet was sparsely populated until the establishment of Biloxi's seafood industry. The Point's first shrimp and oyster cannery opened in 1882 and was quickly followed by others. Factory owners transported seasonal workers called "Bohemians" from Baltimore. Croatian immigrants and Acadian French from southwest Louisiana also came. These workers were housed in company owned c.c. camps." Point Cadet grew rapidly and soon resembled a small town with homes, schools businesses, churches, and a branch post office. Croatian and French workers, many melded through marriage, moved beyond the camps and became the main inhabitants of Point Cadet and dominated the seafood industry. From the Point's western boundary, antebellum homes stood along the north side of the beach road to Oak Street.
From Oak Street eastward were dockside seafood factories, shipyards, and other related businesses.
During the 1960s, new technologies in cold storage and freezing eliminated the need for dockside canneries. The 20-foot storm surge of Hurricane Camille in 1969 destroyed homes, businesses, and the few remaining factories. The last three
decades of the 20th century were a time of further change and transition. The fall of Saigon in 1975 brought Vietnamese refugees, mostly fishermen, to add to the Point's ethnicity. Development in the 1980s focused on historical and marine educational
attractions and a 280-slip marina, Point Cadet Marina. The lsle of Capri, Biloxi's first dock side casino, opened at Point Cadet in 1992. By 1994, the majority of the city's dockside casinos and their attached hotels lined the beachfront where seafood canneries once stood.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina changed the face of Point Cadet. The 32-foot storm surge came from all three sides of the Point and totally destroyed or heavily damaged 90% of the structures.