Bicentennial

Biloxi pirates set to invade D’Iberville Bicentennial party

A unit of 18th Century Spanish Royal Artillery re-enactors from Louisiana will add boom to D’Iberville’s salute to Mississippi’s Bicentennial on Saturday.
A unit of 18th Century Spanish Royal Artillery re-enactors from Louisiana will add boom to D’Iberville’s salute to Mississippi’s Bicentennial on Saturday. Courtesy of City of D’Iberville

It may not be historically accurate, but it should be fun Saturday as a gang of pirates from Biloxi, led by Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, invade the city of D’Iberville’s re-enactment of the landing of Pierre LeMoyne, Sieur d’Iberville, and other explorers.

“But we have the Royal Spanish Artillery,” said Jeff Taylor, D’Iberville city planner. “Should be interesting.” Taylor also planned the city’s celebration in honor of Mississippi’s Bicentennial. The 18th-century artillery group re-enactors are coming from Louisiana and will be firing their cannon.

This observance in D’Iberville comes just ahead of the Bicentennial Celebration South, which will be celebrated March 31 and April 1 in Gulfport.

D’Iberville’s celebration will be 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday on Back Bay near the Interstate 110 overpass. Colonial re-enactors will portray the French Canadian explorers who landed on the Coast in 1699. Students and other residents are encouraged to dress in period attire, and the event will have its own bicentennial token and original artwork commissioned by the D’Iberville Historical Association.

“We wanted to embrace our sister city to the south,” Taylor said, referring to Biloxi, “and what better way to have them involved than to be the party-loving rogues that they are.”

“They asked us to do it,” Gilich said, “and of course we’re all about One Coast.”

The pirates will be aboard a Biloxi schooner and the celebration will unite the cities across the bay and help D’Iberville connect to Longueuil, its counterpart city in Canada, near Montreal.

Among those in the crowd will be the head of the historical society from Longueuil; Louise Blais, consul general of Canada in Atlanta; and Albert Naquin, chief of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians, the original settlers of the city of D’Iberville.

While this year is the 200th anniversary of Mississippi’s statehood, it’s the 318th year since d’Iberville landed on Ship Island, Taylor said. That put the explorers in South Mississippi 118 years before Mississippi became a state.

“It all started here first,” he said.

If you go

What: City of D’Iberville’s salute to Mississippi’s Bicentennial

When: 1-3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Under the I-110 overpass on Back Bay in D’Iberville

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