This challenge came from a somewhat heartbroken Alberta Wallace. "If you love this city, and you care about its history, show me," the Ocean Springs woman said.
Wallace was under the impression that on October 4, her 1699 Historical Society was about to become a historical footnote in Ocean Springs. She said don't let that happen. "We need it. We need it so much, because it's what we are. It's our heritage," the committee member said.
That passion surfaced after Wallace attended a Monday meeting of the 1699 committee. The group was supposed to nominate new officers, so the historical society could plan next year's Landing of D'Iberville. But the nominations got put off until October. During the meeting, Wallace was told her group was in real trouble. So, she started calling anybody who would listen to her. "I care just enough to fight for what I believe in," she said. "And I believe in this organization."
Kirk Halstead is a past president of the 1699 group. "Everybody realizes it's an important part of our heritage in Ocean Springs," he said. "And they wish to continue it."
Halstead admitted that disbanding the society did come up after the April re-enactment. But 1699 bylaws prevented that action. So D'Iberville should return to the Ocean Springs beach in 2005. "I'm pretty sure, almost positive we will have a landing," Halstead said.
A skeptical Wallace sure hopes Halstead is right. "The re-enactment is history," she said, "and what we owe our children."
This wasn't the first time historians feared the Landing of D'Iberville was in trouble. In 2002, a lack of support canceled the event. The 1699 Historical Society resurrected it a year later. Since then, attendance has been below what organizers anticipated.