The temperatures are cooling down, and the spooky season of Halloween is upon us! If you’re looking for something festive to do that’s local and historical, check out the Old Biloxi City Cemetery.
Established in 1699, this cemetery has headstones dating back to the early 1800s!
This historic graveyard is the resting place for many notable people, including Edward Barq of Barq’s Root Beer, Walter “Skeet” Hunt, who was the founder of Mardi Gras on the Gulf Coast, and Jean Guilt, who was known as the hermit of Deer Island as he lived in isolation on the island for many years.
Every October for the past 16 years, the city has hosted a free guided tour of the cemetery. During the tour, costumed storytellers bring Biloxi’s rich and diverse history to life, setting the stage for a fun, educational, and seasonal experience for locals and visitors alike!
Each year features a different theme, complete with reenactments of those buried beneath the headstones.
In its 318 year history, Biloxi has been home to some wonderful characters who have fascinating stories to tell. Over the years, the Preserve Biloxi Committee, a collaboration of the City of Biloxi, Biloxi Main Street, Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce, Biloxi Public Schools, Biloxi Public Library Local History and Genealogy Department, and the University of Southern Mississippi History Department, has organized these cemetery tours to tell these stories and bring these characters to life!
Some of the stories are well known such as Barq’s creation of his famous beverage while others are less known, yet very interesting, such as the story of Joseph “Dinker” Lamas, who was mauled by a bear at the Biloxi City Zoo.
If you can’t make the guided tours on October 17 and 19, you can, of course, visit the cemetery from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. any time throughout the year and take a self-guided tour. If you do so, be sure to look for the following headstones:
- Lazaro Lopez
- St. Cyr Zamour
- Maria & Miranda Younghans
- Joseph “Dinker” Lamas
- Charles Albert Bessey
- Archbishop Eugene Marino
- Jean Guilhot (The Hermit)
- Walter and Cora White
- George Ohr
- James Parks Caldwell
- Walter “Skeet” Hunt
- Edward Barq
Can’t attend the cemetery? Virtual tours are also available. Grab a friend, and celebrate this spooky season and the spirit of Biloxi!
When: October 17 from 2-4 p.m. and October 19 from 5-7 p.m.
Where: Old Biloxi Cemetery, 1166 Irish Hill Drive, Biloxi, MS 39530
Price: FREE but donations are welcome
More info: (228)435-6339