Biloxi releases two documentaries on native son Fred Haise

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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise’s mission into space, the city of Biloxi is releasing two documentaries on its native son, the city announced.

Biloxi Television (BTV) is debuting two films created by fellow Biloxian August Taconi today, “Fred Haise: From Biloxi to the Moon” and Apollo 13: The Inside Story” on it channel.

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BTV airs locally on Channel 56 on Sparklight (formerly CableOne) and on Uverse on Channel 99. You can also find it by going to biloxi.ms.us/btv.

“Fred Haise From Biloxi to the Moon,” will air daily in April at 8 a.m., 8 p.m. and 2 p.m.

“Apollo 13: The Inside Story” will air daily at 7 a.m., 7 p.m. and 1 p.m.

The documentaries created by Taconi from archived footage and new interviews with Haise, were meant to promote an April 10 banquet in the astronaut’s honor, as well as an April 11 unveiling a replica of the Saturn V rocket base. “The Launching Pad,” as it is called, will be placed south of the Biloxi Lighthouse.

A statue of Haise in his Apollo 13 astronaut suit, is being created by Coast artist Mary Ott Tremmel Davidson and will be placed atop the 8-foot base.

“Marking this occasion in one way or another is not something we’re going to let pass,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said. “This was one of Biloxi’s, the state’s and world’s proudest moments.”

Haise was one of three astronauts who left earth in April 1970 with the intention to land on the moon. Instead, an explosion in one of the oxygen tanks forced the astronauts to orbit their spacecraft around the moon and back to earth.

The event was dramatized in the 1995 Tom Hanks film, “Apollo 13.” The late Bill Paxton portrayed Haise.

Gilich said Mississippi Power, the Mississippi Development Authority and other sponsors had been working on a gala event, but circumstances changed because of the coronavirus. More than 1,000 people have been diagnosed statewide and more than 20 deaths have been reported.

“The celebration is still going to happen, but now as a cyberspace event. And how fitting is that?” Gilich asked.

The Launch Pad event will stream live on the City of Biloxi’s website and will air after the event on the city’s YouTube channel and on BTV.