Former Pascagoula Mayor Matthew Avara dies at 55

State / Regional

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WKRG) — The man who guided the City of Pascagoula in the wake of Hurricane Katrina has died.

Former mayor Matthew Avara passed away Monday of natural causes.

He served two terms as Pascagoula councilman at large before being elected mayor just 6 weeks before Hurricane Katrina slammed into the coast.

Matthew Avara was only 55 years old.

The following was sent by the City of Pascagoula:

PASCAGOULA, Miss. – Former Pascagoula Mayor Matthew Avara passed away on March 22, 2021. Avara served two terms as Councilman at Large (1997-2005) and one term as Mayor (2005-2009).

Avara was elected as Mayor just six weeks prior to Hurricane Katrina and served as the face and voice of a ravaged, yet determined community before an international audience.

“I knew and liked Matthew ever since we both sang in our early teens in his Mother’s annual Methodist Youth Christmas Choirs.  We graduated from Pascagoula High School in the same class.  He was well-liked, and the closest person we had to a class comedian.

Matt worked hard as Mayor to bring Pascagoula back in the dark days after Hurricane Katrina.  I remember people asking would he still have run for Mayor had he known what Katrina would do to our town.  His response was always the same: ‘I would have run twice as hard.’  Matt loved our hometown, and, even after he left office, never stopped being an advocate for it.”

-Councilman Stephen Burrow, Ward 3

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