Get a preview tonight of upcoming cemetery tours

The annual Old Biloxi Cemetery Tours will be Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. and Tuesday, Oct. 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. However, you can get a preview of this year’s tour in a free program this evening at 5:30 at the Slavonian Lodge, 159 Maple St., Biloxi. Theme of the program this evening, presented by the Local History and Genealogy Department of the Biloxi Public Library: “Remnants of the Past: Pirates, Ghosts, Charlatans, and Ladies of Ill Repute.”

By Laurie Rosetti

Downtown Services Assistant

With clear blue skies and just a hint of cool air in the mornings, our fall imaginations immediately turn to the cemetery. Wait, what?! Yes, here in Biloxi and other Southern locales, our final resting places seem to attract our attention in the fall of each year.

Taking special care of graves, cleaning the headstones, and generally improving the appearance of the Old Biloxi Cemetery, on U.S. 90 midway between the Biloxi Lighthouse and the White House Fountain, is traditionally a fall activity in preparation for All Saints and All Souls days, which occurs annually in early November.

In Biloxi’s first cemetery, fall also means special projects to save the historic, older tombs in the oldest section of the cemetery, the southernmost area nearest Beach Boulevard.

It is in this very section you’ll find the grave of St. Cyr Zamor, (pronounced SANcere). He is the patriarch of every local Seymour family of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. His tale is one of mystery and intrigue. For instance, how did St. Cyr get the last name of Zamor when his father’s was LeBlanc?

His roots are equally fascinating and steeped in the very origins of our area. St. Cyr is the great-great grandson of Jean Baptist Baudreau dit Graveline. Yes, the Graveline who came with d’Iberville on one of his three expeditions to the future Mississippi Gulf Coast. Graveline was the first importer of cattle to the area and the owner/discoverer of one of the most beautiful waterways in our corner of paradise, Graveline Bayou. The bayou was and remains one of the finest fishing areas in the three coastal counties.

St. Cyr passed at age 57 in 1845. To put that date into perspective, it was three years before the Biloxi Lighthouse would grace our shoreline. It is no stretch to say that his 174-year old tomb has begun to deteriorate. Without swift attention, this culturally and historically important burial site could easily fall by the wayside and be lost forever.

Thankfully, the Preserve Biloxi Committee, organizers of the annual Old Biloxi Cemetery Tour and Preservation In May, have pledged $2,000 toward the repairs, which are estimated to cost about $6,000. In order to amass the remaining funds needed, a Go Fund Me page has been established.

“If every descendant or Biloxian gave $20, we could easily repair the tomb of St. Cyr and many others as well,” said Bill Raymond, historical administrator for the City of Biloxi and chairman of Preserve Biloxi.

The Preserve Biloxi Committee emerged organically from a successful Old Biloxi Cemetery rededication event after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Since that first successful event, the committee has transformed the Old Biloxi Cemetery Tour into an annual celebration of fascinating local stories.

It is this “lively” side of Biloxi’s yesteryear to be explored in the 2019 tour, titled “Biloxi’s Colorful Past.” This year’s stories will highlight the history of gambling, the lack of prohibition, and other “questionable behaviors.” Look for the tour on Sunday, Oct. 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. and again on Tuesday, Oct. 22 from 5 to 7 p.m.

As usual, event-goers may park at the Biloxi Elks Lodge, off U.S. 90, a few blocks west of the Biloxi Lighthouse. This event is free, but donations are appreciated and ensure that the important preservation work continues.
Video: “The Biloxi City Cemetery and its Colorful Characters”
Print a flyer about the preview this evening
See the lineup for the cemetery tours

News & notes: Council meeting, weekly reports, volleyball

Council meeting: The Biloxi City Council meets this afternoon at City Hall. To see the agenda and supporting documents, click here.

Weekly reports: The weekly reports for last week include an excerpt on Cruisin’ the Coast, the calls and the types. To visit the archive of weekly reports, click here.

Special needs volleyball: The city’s special needs volleyball games, scheduled for each Tuesday at the Snyder Center, get underway this evening from 6 to 8. It’s all free, and uniforms are provided. Youth and adult games offered for varying degrees of physical and mental challenges. For more info, click here.