Location of Gautier, Mississippi
|• Total||12.9 sq mi (33.5 km2)|
|• Land||12.2 sq mi (31.7 km2)|
|• Water||0.7 sq mi (1.7 km2)|
|Elevation||7 ft (2 m)|
|• Density||954.2/sq mi (368.4/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0670341|
Gautier is a city in Jackson County, Mississippi, along the Gulf of Mexico west of Pascagoula. It is part of the Pascagoula, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 18,572 at the 2010 census. In 2002, Gautier annexed land nearly doubling its population to 18,413 by 2010, according to the Gautier Comprehensive Plan 2030. Locally, the name is pronounced as "GO-chay." Descendants of the Gautier family, for whom it was named, still live in the area.
Gautier is a bedroom resort community with two championship golf courses, stately homes, and historic properties surrounded by bayous and wetlands on three sides. The natural environment of Gautier offers many opportunities for recreation and eco-tourism. Due to an abundance of vacant land for development and recent growth trends along the coastal areas, the city's population is expected to increase at a steady rate during the coming years to an estimated 22,788 people by 2025. 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 led to outmigration in 2006.
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.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.9 square miles (33 km2), of which 12.2 square miles (32 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) (5.19%) is water.
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."
As of the census of 2000, there were 11,681 people, 4,260 households, and 3,233 families residing in the city. The population density was 954.2 people per square mile (368.5/km²). There were 4,597 housing units at an average density of 375.5 per square mile (145.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 68.19% White, 27.65% African American, 0.51% Native American, 1.28% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.90% from other races, and 1.42% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.19% of the population.
There were 4,260 households out of which 38.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.9% were married couples living together, 17.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.1% were non-families. 19.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the city the population was spread out with 28.4% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 8.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 97.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $41,244, and the median income for a family was $46,835. Males had a median income of $33,474 versus $21,622 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,525. About 15.1% of families and 17.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.4% of those under age 18 and 13.6% of those age 65 or over.
The spacious homestead Fernando Upton Gautier[who?] established in 1867, at the mouth of the Pascagoula River Basin still stands. He established a lucrative sawmill business in the area, and the town grew up from it. Today the town is known for its stately homes nestled between centuries-old live oaks and two championship golf courses. The home, known by locals as "The Old Place", is owned by the descendants of Fernando Upton Gautier (1822–1891) and Theresa Fayard Gautier (1828–1911); and is used for private and public events.
The City of Gautier is served by the Pascagoula School District. The main secondary school in Gautier is Gautier High School, whose doors opened in 1996 and was awarded blue ribbon status by the Department of Education in 2005. The town 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.
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 Katrina
The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act (Go-Zone), passed by Congress and signed into law in December 2005, provided economic development incentives within the forty-nine most damaged counties of Mississippi and other states affected by Hurricane 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 fifty percent (50%) 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. MDES has continued to partner with organizations to increase employment opportunities along the Coast using Workforce Investment Network, Job Centers, partnerships and grants to community colleges and proprietary schools.
- "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
- City of Gautier Comprehensive Plan 2030, City of Gautier Planning Commission (2009), pages 3, 25.
- City of Gautier Comprehensive Plan 2030, City of Gautier Planning Commission (2009), pages 25.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved August 12, 2013.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved August 12, 2013.
- "Ocean Springs Archives by Ray L. Bellande" (2006) web: OS-Archives