OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - It may have really happened back in 1699, but on Saturday French Explorer Pierre Lemoyne Sieur D'Iberville landed in Ocean Springs again during the historical reenactment on Front Beach. Hundreds watched more than a dozen actors play out the landing of D'Iberville.
Organizers say this annual history lesson first started in 1939 and gives people a better idea of Ocean Springs' heritage.
"Today they came ashore off the road and then they meet up with these Indians, which they had never seen before and there's a certain amount of tension amongst them, but then they settle down and smoke the peace pipe and they all lived happily ever after," Landing Director August Taconi said.
A narrator and more than a dozen actors in full costume bring the landing of D'Iberville to life during the Weekend of Discovery.
"This is the source of our French heritage, Ocean Springs the oldest permanent settlement in the present day United States and France and this spelled the heritage for the Mississippi Gulf Coast," said Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran.
Crowds of people gather to watch the Native Americans and Frenchmen greet each other for the first time.
"They need to know this heritage not only in Ocean Springs, but this whole Gulf Coast because when D'Iberville landed this wasn't Ocean Springs this was just the Gulf Coast. And all these people are connected from Pascagoula to Bay St. Louis," said Taconi.
Several volunteers helped put together the reenactment including the mayors of Ocean Springs, Gautier, Pascagoula and Moss Point. Actors like Tim Craft, who played the tribe's medicine doctor say taking a role in this event is something everyone on the Gulf Coast should experience at least once.
"I think it brings the community together and it reminds us of the history behind the names and the faces around the area," said Craft.
"The crowd always turns out we have great weather a little warm, but I'm really excited we had a great Landing party including my fellow mayors from Gautier, Pascagoula Moss Point at the landing party," Moran said.
Ocean Springs ROTC and carpentry students took part in the event. For details on how you can be involved in next year's event click here http://www.1699landing.org/index-2.html