Marsha Barbour became Mississippi’s First Lady upon her husband Haley’s inauguration in January, 2004. Within two years she proved herself not only an asset to his administration but a unique First Lady and symbol of the State’s efforts in relief and recovery after the ravages of Hurricane Katrina.
Arriving on the Coast with the initial law enforcement and National Guard convoy on the night of August 29, 2005, Marsha spent seventy of the first ninety days after the storm on the Coast, helping the people who needed it most. Delivering emergency supplies, helping coordinate FEMA activities with those of the State and assisting people in returning to their homes, she served as Haley’s eyes and ears and became the face of the state’s disaster assistance efforts.
Marsha is also known to Mississippians for her support of wellness and healthy lifestyles, being featured in the “Let’s Go Walkin, Mississippi” campaign sponsored by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation.
As First Lady she’s been active in supporting children’s and educational programs, from Excel by Five to Jobs for Mississippi’s Graduates. She’s traveled the state to support projects to help children’s future.
Marsha Dickson grew up in Monroeville, Alabama, and moved to Canton in 1965 with her parents and her twin sister, Marie; she graduated from Ole Miss in 1970. She and Haley married in 1971 and moved to his hometown of Yazoo City, where they still reside.
They have two adult sons, Sterling and Reeves, and four grandchildren. Sterling and his wife Celeste have a son, Adyn Sterling, and a daughter, Chloe LeFlore; while Reeves and his wife Jackye have a daughter, Ava Gray, and a son, Haley Reeves Barbour III.
Marsha has received many honors as First Lady, including the naming of the Marsha Barbour Community Center in Pass Christian, in appreciation of her service to the Coast after Katrina.