Gulfport is the second largest city in Mississippi after the state capital Jackson. It is the larger (population wise) of two principal cities of the Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Mississippi Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2000 census, the city of Gulport had a total population of 71,127. Gulfport is co-county seat with Biloxi of Harrison County, Mississippi. Gulfport is the east coast home to the US Navy Seabees, and also the birthplace of American football player Brett Favre.
On August 29, 2005, Gulfport was hit by the strong east side of Hurricane Katrina, and much of Gulfport was flooded or destroyed (see details below). Much of Gulfport was also severely damaged by Hurricane Camille on August 17, 1969.
On August 29, 2005, Gulfport was hit by the strong eastern side of Hurricane Katrina, when it passed 30 miles east of central New Orleans. Much of Gulfport was flooded or destroyed in one day by the strong hurricane-force winds which lasted over 16 hours and a storm surge exceeding 28 feet (9 m) in some sections.
Hurricane Katrina damaged over 40 Mississippi libraries, gutting the Gulfport Public Library, first floor, and breaking windows on the second floor, beyond repair, requiring a total rebuild.