—Historic Biloxi —
Historians believe that the oldest and southernmost section of the Biloxi
Cemetery was the burying place for French settlers during the early 1700s and
for generations thereafter. The first officially written record of the land on which
the cemetery is located is the Spanish land grant of 640 acres given to Louis
Fayard (1758-1830) in 1784. On November 27, 1844, the Fayard heirs legally
deeded the approximately six acres of the then existing graveyard to the village
of Biloxi. At that time, the cemetery was set within a natural forest of tall pines
massive moss-draped oaks, and giant cedar trees.
Time and countless storms have worn away the identifying information on the
cypress boards that served as the earliest grave markers. Names and dates
on tombs and stones throughout the cemetery reflect the broad ethnicity and
different historical eras of Biloxi. The earliest existing grave stone is inscribed
in French and bears the death date 1811. Those who fought for their country
victims of yellow fever and the 1918-1919 influenza epidemic lie here, along with
those who lived a long and full life. Graves of the renowned and persons of local
fame can be found here.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the oldest beachfront section
of the cemetery. A $300,000 FEMA-funded restoration project included
to more than 200 headstones and 10 above-ground tombs. Unidentified
remains unearthed during the hurricane were reinterred in a specially built tomb
Rededication ceremonies took place on October 4, 2007.