Located in Hancock County in southern Mississippi, Bay Saint Louis lies on the Mississippi Sound (an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico) at the entrance to the Bay of Saint Louis. Named in 1699 for King Louis IX of France, it is only 58 miles northeast of New Orleans, Louisiana. The site was part of a 1789 Spanish land grant to Thomas Shields. The village soon became a resort for wealthy planters. Later tourists arrived from New Orleans and Mobile when the Chattanooga Railroad was completed in 1869. Originally incorporated as Shieldsborough in 1818, the city was renamed Bay Saint Louis in 1882. In 1814, during the War of 1812, the bay was the scene of the combat against the British known as the Battle of Bay Saint Louis. In the late 20th century, casino gambling stimulated the growth of the city, bringing new tourism, which kindled the local economy. Bay Saint Louis has a strong secondary housing market due to the popularity of waterfront living. The John C. Stennis Space Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is about 15 miles west of the city.