Live Local: Biloxi Cemetery Tour

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Lace up your shoes and take a stroll with News 25’s Lorraine Weiskopf in today’s edition of ‘Live Local.’

For today’s spooky story, we visit the Biloxi Cemetery with Biloxi Library Historian Jane Shambra.

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The Biloxi Cemetery is filled with many ghoulish attractions rich in local history. One of the cemetery’s residents is Michel Batet. He’s resting underneath one of the oldest tombstones in the cemetery which has a footstone, something not commonly seen in the South.

Recently, someone came in and restored the tombstone believing that it’s from 1841. The history behind Batet raises more questions than answers to his past. Biloxi Library Historian Jane Shambra said, “I haven’t given up on Mr. Batet yet. I really want to know more about him, but the saga continues and the puzzles are coming back together.”

The cemetery is also home to many oak trees holding Spanish moss. The Spanish moss once provided something other than an eerie appearance to visitors.

All around the cemetery you’ll see metal poles sticking out of the ground. These are there because they were once draped in Spanish moss, making a canopy to provide shade to those visiting their loved ones.

There are many other reminders of past Biloxi in the cemetery. “We have a brick fence that you don’t usually see, this is actually a great recycling project put together by the City of Biloxi in the 1960s. Years ago, the old city hall was sitting in the middle of Main Street, when they went to demolish that building it was so full of bricks they said we can’t throw these away.”

The bricks went into many projects around the city and some are now guarding the entrance to the cemetery. Every year, a family decorates their grave site for Halloween. This year it’s a pirate party. Halloween isn’t the only reason families dress graves as All Saints Day is also approaching. “Families will put flowers on the grave sites, clean the tombstones, and so forth. It’s a religious holiday in a way. It’s also a way for families to do projects and hangout at the cemetery.”

Live Local is made possible through the support of the Biloxi Library System. Tune in next Thursday as News 25 continues highlighting places of interest along the Coast.