Cemetery tour to focus on ‘Schooners, Shrimpers and Sailors’

This year’s Old Biloxi Cemetery Tour, which takes place Tuesday, Oct. 25 between 4 and 7 p.m., will spotlight Biloxians who made their living from the Gulf.

“Schooners, Shrimpers and Sailors” will be the theme of the fifth annual event, which takes place at the Old Biloxi Cemetery, on U.S. 90, midway between the Biloxi Lighthouse and White House Fountain.

Hundreds of people turn out each year for the tour, where notable Biloxians from yesteryear are portrayed by descendants, actors from Biloxi Little Theater or students, all of whom don period garb for the occasion.

The re-enactors appear in character, telling visitors about the ways of life from their time period. The performances are continuous, meaning those attending can drop by any time between 4 and 7 to see all eight re-enactments. An opening ceremony will kick off the tours at 4 p.m.

Among the re-enactors this year will be Frankie Duggan, a former Biloxi Police chief and current manager of the city’s harbors and piers. Duggan will portray his grandfather, Capt. George Duggan, a shrimper who perished at sea in a storm that struck on July 4, 1916, and Biloxi student Michaela Moore will portray Capt. Duggan’s wife, Mary Ella.

The others portrayed on the tour are:

– John Helm, a crew member who also perished aboard George Duggan’s “Emma Harvey.”

– Thomas Esposito, superintendent of Biloxi Water Works for 45 years.

– Boatbuilder Anson Holly.

– Boatbuilder Martin Fountain.

– Ulysse Desporte, seafood processor and fourth king of Biloxi Mardi Gras.

– Valerie Eleuterius, 40-year factory worker, and Luke Dubaz, co-owner of Dubaz Brothers Seafood.

– Jean Guilhot, better known as “the hermit of Deer Island,” and his wife, Pauline Lemein Guilhot.

The cemetery tour is free, but donations are welcome. Sponsors are the City of Biloxi, Main Street Biloxi, the Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce, and the Local History and Genealogy Department at the Biloxi Public Library.

Parking is available at the Biloxi Elks Lodge, immediately west of the cemetery.

The program: To see the lineup of re-enactors and narrators for the eight stops on this year’s tour, click here.

Photos: To see more than a hundred photos from last year’s cemetery tour – which attracted a crowd of more than 500 visitors — click here.

Questions? Contact the Biloxi Main Street Office at 228-435-6339 or at kmiller@biloxi.ms.us.