Ocean Springs 1699 re-enactment sparks people's interest in history

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Ocean Springs celebrated its heritage this weekend by re-enacting the arrival of the first Europeans to the area hundreds of years ago. Participants said by making history come to life for the younger generations, we make sure our past will not be forgotten.

Henry Nguyen portrayed the chief of the Biloxi tribe. He said, "It's living history basically, what we're doing."

Ocean Springs Front Beach took a step back in time when only Native Americans lived along these shores. Actors depicted the significance of Pierre Le Moyne D'Iberville and the French arriving in 1699.

"It defines who we are. It defines knowing where we came from and how the town got started,"said Nguyen.

August Taconi is one of the organizers of the landing. "History is very important to people. Their heritage. The story about their lives. It's always continued. We've passed down these stories for generations."

Organizers say the props, costumes and elaborate staging is a great way to get the young people interested in local history.

Abbey Langley is a middle school student. "It's hard to read it out of the text book. It way easier to hear it from someone else up close."

"They get to see it and they ask a lot of questions while it's going on,"said David Harendza who brought his grandchildren. "You try to make them understand what it's all about."

The re-enactment even had the benefit of a real life Frenchman who traveled all the way from Europe take part.

Jean-Pierre Riquelme said through an interpreter. "The French are very proud of this reenactment and very happy that this re-enactment has worked out very well."

The celebration also included a 5k race, a children's parade, live music and for the first time, a fireworks display.

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