Preservation series begins Thursday

Preservation in May, the community’s annual month-long salute to Biloxi’s colorful past, kicks off Thursday with a mini-tour of the northern section of the Biloxi cemetery.

The Northside Cemetery Tour will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Old Biloxi Cemetery, north of Irish Hill Drive and the CSX railway, where three African-American families will be highlighted.

“This is the first time for us to venture to the north side of the cemetery for a tour,” Biloxi Historical Administrator Bill Raymond said.  “Logistically, it’s easier for a smaller tour to be held in that area and there are stories that need to be told.”

Re-enactors will portray the Clay, Dossett and Ellis families and will tell the stories of their connections to Biloxi. Cookies and refreshments will be served and Passports to History will be given out.

The Preservation series picks up each Thursday with the re-telling of a significant event in Biloxi’s history or a visit to an area of historical significance.  On Monday, May 21, the Biloxi Preservation Awards will be presented at the Dukate Building on Father Ryan Avenue. This event was originally scheduled for Tuesday, May 22 but has been changed because of school graduation. Each event is free.

The programs are:

May 3, 2018,  5:30 to 7 p.m.

“Northside” Cemetery Tour – Biloxi Cemetery North of Irish Hill Drive

Visit the Biloxi Cemetery north of Irish Hill Drive and the railroad tracks for the presentation of the histories of three African American families who contributed to the diverse fabric of Biloxi’s history. Included will be the Clay, Dosett, and Ellis families, all buried in a portion of Biloxi Cemetery most have never visited.

May 10, 2018, 5 to 7 p.m.

Mississippi Civil Rights Sites Special Resource Study Open House – Biloxi Visitors Center, 1050 Beach Blvd.

In 2017, Congress passed a law directing the National Park Service (NPS) to conduct a special resource study of nationally significant civil rights-related historic sites in Mississippi to determine the potential for the designation of a new national park unit in the state. The NPS team is gathering information about civil rights-related sites through historical research and public input.  During the open house the public is invited to learn about the study process and share their insights on protecting civil rights related historic sites and places.

May 17, 2018, 6 to – 7:30 p.m.

A Look at Nativity’s Stained Glass – “Windows to the Soul” – Nativity of the BVM Cathedral, 870 Howard Ave.

Each month as part of the parish’s 175th anniversary year, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Cathedral has been examining the significance of one of their stained-glass windows. Cathedral Rector Fr. Dennis Carver will give a description of the symbolism and liturgical significance contained in the window and Edmond Boudreaux will provide a look at the window’s donor. This one-hour presentation will be followed by a reception on the Cathedral grounds.

May 21, 2018, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

2018 Biloxi Preservation Awards – Dukate Building 1445 Father Ryan Ave.

These bi-annual awards are presented to individuals, organizations, and businesses to recognize those actively working to preserve Biloxi’s historic buildings and well as those working to preserve, promote or expand access to local historic resources. Award nominations will be accepted through May 11, 2018. Forms are available online at At the ceremony, the Biloxi School System Museum will be unveiling autograph pictures of one of the districts most famous families, the Roberts where Sally Ann Roberts and Dorothy Roberts will be attend. A reception sponsored by Chartwells will follow.

May 24, 2018, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

City Within a City: African American Culture in Biloxi – Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, 386 Beach Blvd.

This exhibition highlights the cultural history of the vibrant, segregated “city within a city” of Biloxi, Miss. during the post WWII years. Photographs showcased will include schools, restaurants, and other businesses owned, operated, and employed by African Americans during that era. This exhibition serves as a complement to an ongoing project by the City of Biloxi to document the historic structures in the neighborhood centered on the Main and Division streets.

May 31, 2018, Mass 6 p.m., Reception 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Celebrating Our Seafood Heritage:  “A Tale of Fishermen and Queens” – Mass at St. Michael Catholic Church, 177 First St., Reception at Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum, 115 First St.

To kick off the 89th annual Biloxi Blessing of the Fleet, St. Michael Catholic Church will hold the traditional Mass for the Deceased Fishermen. Following the mass there will be free tours and a reception at the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum as well as an exhibition of the 2018 Shrimp Queen Contestants’ heritage boards and a panel discussion of the history of the Blessing with former Biloxi Shrimp Queens.

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

The public is invited to attend all programs, free of charge.  A “Passport through History,” will be available and a commemorative gift will be given at the May 31 event if stamped at three of the six programs.
See the program
See the nomination form