Remains to be formally removed from U.S. 90 site

The northernmost lane of U.S. 90 will be closed south of the Biloxi City Cemetery Wednesday through Friday as archaeologists and anthropologists begin the process to remove skeletal remains that were discovered more than two years ago during work on a federally funded infrastructure project.

The righthand, westbound lane will be closed south of the cemetery, from Wednesday at 8 a.m. until Friday at 5 p.m.

Work to install a 16-inch water line along the north side of U.S. 90 stopped in the area south of the 1800s-era cemetery as city, state and federal authorities tried to determine the origin of the remains, which were found about five feet below ground in the small strip of median between the highway and the cemetery that has gravesites dating back to the 1700s.

Hemphill Construction, who is replacing water, sewer and drainage lines under or alongside eight miles of city streets south of the CSX Railway, has worked in other areas of the project, which runs from downtown Biloxi to Seashore Methodist.

Several weeks ago, after receiving state and federal approval, Hemphill installed the line 12 feet below ground, boring a corridor that would be four times the depth of the line in other places along U.S. 90.

And now, after state and federal checks with a host of Native American leaders, work at the site is ready to move forward, respectfully.

“The archaeologists and anthropologist will begin by sifting through all backfill and fill in that specific area,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said. “Remains will be placed in the proper containment boxes and transported to the USM Anthropology Laboratory in Hattiesburg. Our goal is to have a fitting marker and re-interment inside the Biloxi City Cemetery.

“I want to thank the state and federal authorities, the many historical agencies and Native American leaders that were consulted, and our local team for making sure that we treated this issue respectfully.”
Gallery: See photos of the discovery (April 2018)
Video: See the latest infrastructure report and maps

News & notes: Council TV, Facebook updates

Council TV: The city will be streaming two City Council gatherings today: a 4 p.m. workshop to discuss the FY ’21 budget, and the council’s 6 p.m. regularly scheduled meeting. To see the streams, which begin at the outset of each meeting, click the red LIVE button at the top right of any page on the city website, or click here.

Facebook updates: Do you follow the City of Biloxi on Facebook? You’ll get a host of relevant information and helpful videos. Like the page and make City of Biloxi posts firsts in your newsfeed. To visit the City of Biloxi Facebook page, click here.