Preservation in May offers a walk through time

This year’s Preservation in May series will feature a walking tours of an historic avenue and neighborhood, a seafood sampling, a park dedication and the Mass of the Deceased Fisherman.

The five-week program, taking place Thursday evenings, begins on May 11 and ends on June 1, just in time for  the Blessing of the Fleet weekend.

Each Preservation in May event is free and, keeping with tradition, those who attend three of the four programs and get their “Passports through History” stamped will receive a commemorative gift.  

“We look forward to organizing and hosting this series of programs each May,” Biloxi Historical Administrator Bill Raymond said.  “It’s an enjoyable way for everyone to learn more about our history and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Biloxi.”

This year’s lineup:

May 11, Howard Avenue Past and Present – Join us for a walking tour of historic Howard Avenue with stops at well-known and hidden jewels of Biloxi’s past.  View historic photos of downtown’s illustrious past while enjoying refreshments. The tour, which runs from 5 to 7:30 p.m., starts at two locations: the West End Hose Company #3 Fire Museum and at the corner of Howard and Lameuse streets.  The Biloxi Tour Train will be on hand offering a continuous loop. Participants are encouraged to visit all the stops and register for prize giveaways.

May 18, A Visit in Historic Oak Park Neighborhood – Come take a trip back in time in one of Biloxi’s “newest” old residential areas.  Take a walking tour, hear the fanciful and interesting history from residents, see historic maps of the area and enjoy the beautiful locale and refreshments. The tour will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Businessmen’s Park at the intersection of Forest and Bayview Avenue. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

May 25, Biloxi: The Seafood Capital of the World – Be our guest for an evening at the Biloxi Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum and learn how Biloxi seafood was and still is enjoyed around the world.  For first time visitors and frequent guests there is always something new to see and learn at Biloxi’s “newest” museum. Local historian and author Edmond Boudreaux will discuss how Biloxi earned the distinction as “The Seafood Capital of the World” while participants sample some gulf fresh seafood. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and self-guided tours continue until 7:30 p.m.

May 30, French Colonial Cemetery Park Dedication and Picnic in the Park – Join the City of Biloxi and the Department of Marine Resources for the dedication of the French Colonial Cemetery Park located on Porter Avenue adjacent to the Biloxi Visitors Center. The ribbon cutting and dedication will begin at 4 p.m. followed by a community celebration in Lighthouse Park.  Live music, refreshments and displays on the project and the history of area will be available.  The event is free and participants are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy this beautiful new community space. The celebration in the park will take place from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

June 1, St. Michael Catholic Church 100th Anniversary – Celebrate the history of one of the oldest congregations in Biloxi.  Join us at St. Michael Family Life Center at 5 p.m. to discover the fascinating church through photos and memorabilia that will be on display along with the cultural and heritage boards created by this year’s Biloxi Shrimp Queen Contestants.  Don’t miss “The Bulletin”, a live skit portraying another aspect of church life.  The Mass of the Deceased Fisherman will follow in the church kicking off The Blessing of the Fleet weekend of activities.

Preservation in May is organized by the City of Biloxi, Biloxi Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Biloxi Main Street, Biloxi Public Schools District, University of Southern Mississippi, and Local History & Genealogy Department of the Biloxi Public Library.
See the overview of the program


News and notes: Old Biloxi

1950s Biloxi: Have you seen the U.S. Army documentary that shows the people and places of Biloxi in 1951? The city has acquired the half-hour piece, titled “Social Change in a Democracy,” from the National Archives and is seeking help in identifying people and places. Give it a look and leave a comment on the city’s YouTube channel by clicking here.

Downtown of old: The Gilich administration hopes to have a plan of action to revitalize downtown Biloxi in hand in less than four months. But Mayor Gilich already knows two things: Howard Avenue ought to be opened up to two-way traffic, and the name “Vieux Marche” is going to be history. “Urban renewal was not successful in downtown Biloxi,” the mayor said the other day. “The name Vieux Marche is going away. It’s Howard Avenue. We’re talking about a course correction.  This is OUR time to make a difference in downtown Biloxi.” What do you think? See old photos and share memories in a new photo gallery on the city Facebook page. Weigh in by clicking here.