Take a tour of history at the civic center

Local historians said “Happy Birthday” to Biloxi today — the city was settled on this day in 1699 — with the kick off of the 22nd annual history week celebration.

Dozens of people passed through the Biloxi Civic Center today as the Mississippi Coast Historical & Genealogical Society launched Mississippi Coast History Week, which continues Tuesday and Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The free event, which is co-sponsored by the City of Biloxi, celebrates the anniversary of the landing of the French explorer Iberville, which took place on Feb. 13, 1699 at what is now present-day west Biloxi. The French Flotilla had anchored off Ship Island before coming ashore to explore the mainland.

Visitors to the center will find re-enactors dressed in 18th century reproduction French clothing, a presentation on French Colonial soldiers and their contacts with Gulf Coast Indians, and portrayals of the life of 18th century French ladies along with a display of foods that were growing here when the French arrived.

Bishop Roger Morin of the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi will conduct Mass at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

History Week also will feature exhibits from Biloxi Public Schools, the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, and Beauvoir. The Biloxi Library History Division will have a display and will be explaining the making of family tree charts and exploring your family history.

Also exhibiting at the event will be
the Ocean Springs Genealogical Society, the Historical Society of Gulfport, the Hancock County Historical Society, the D’Iberville Historical Society, the Pass Christian Historical Society, the Long Beach Historical Society, the Coast Jewish Community, the Fleur de Lis Society, the Greeks, the Slavonian Club, the City of Biloxi, the Department of Marine Resources, Biloxi Regional Medical Center, Keesler Archives, the Biloxi Fire Museum, the Mississippi Coast Archaeological Association, and the Southern Anthropology Department.

If you would like to participate in this event, please contact Jane Shambra at 435-4613 or Julie Suarez at 435-6280.

See photos: To see photographs taken today at the civic center, click here.

Read the history: To read Edmond Boudreaux’s history of Biloxi, one of the myriad archival offerings on the city’s web site, click here.

Old Biloxi: To see a collection of old Biloxi photogaphs, which was originally shown at the dedication of the Biloxi Civic Center, click here.

Program to focus on African-American legacies at Keesler

A Black History Month program later this month will focus on African-American military and civilian legacies at Keesler.

The program, which will be held Thursday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Biloxi Civic Center, also will include a segment on the Tuskegee Airmen. The program is co-sponsored by Negrotto’s Galley, the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, the Lawrence E. Roberts Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, the Second Liners Mardi Gras Club of Biloxi, the city, and the Keesler Air Force Base African American-Heritage Club.

The Biloxi Civic Center is at 578 Howard Ave., on the north side of Howard Avenue, with parking available north of the center.

To print a flier about the Black History Month program, click here.