Tracking the spill: Town gets past the BP blues By Gay Nagle Myers / July 19, 2010 Share 1 -- Related stories● Skepticism and cautious optimism● Some numbers ● First Lady visits Panama Beach● Along the Gulf Coast, relentless negative news deters tourists ● Tar sightings in Miss., Texas ● Officials urge tourists to visit the Gulf Coast ● Good news, bad news in Florida Panhandle ● A holiday weekend to forget● Amid oil spill fears, would-be Gulf vacationers head elsewhereSeepage or leakage on the sea floor may prove a setback for the oil fix, but one beach town appears to be riding out the storm quite well, according to a CNN report Monday morning.Mississippi blues music is carrying Bay St. Louis through the tourism drought felt elsewhere along the coast this summer. The town, whose slogan is "The Birthplace of America’s Music," is a bit west of Gulfport and Biloxi. Bay St. Louis reports that visits to its Delta Blues Museum are on the increase this summer, so much so that there are plans to expand the facility."This kind of growth helps the whole area work," said Kappi Allen, director of tourism. "Visitors come for the music, even if oil is spotted near the beaches."The coastal community, hard hit by Katrina in 2005, realized it had to build up its inland business so it could offer attractions year-round and not just depend on seasonal beach tourism. Bay St. Louis came up with the museum and the Blues Trail, which traces the history of the music at various sites in the area. "Blues speak to people in hard times,” said musician Terry "Big T" Williams at the Ground Zero Blues Cafe.Mississippi launched a TV spot, "Wish You Were Here," as the highlight of a $4.2 million media campaign in 15 regional markets. It’s phase two of a total $15 million in ad dollars administered by the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division from funds provided by BP in May.The first phase, a $4 million campaign, rolled out within days after the authority received the funds. The remainder of the money will be committed to future campaigns at year’s end.First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to visit Mississippi on Friday.