Bicentennial celebration recreates D'Iberville's history

Bicentennial celebration recreates D'Iberville's history
Traditional artifacts including a real teepee and functioning cannon were on display for curious history buffs. (Photo source: WLOX)

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Pirates came ashore Saturday in D'Iberville as the city celebrated the Magnolia State's 200th birthday.

The day began with a reenactment of the 1699 landing of the town's namesake, Pierre LeMoyne Sir D'Iberville.

"Today we're celebrating the centennial of the Biloxi trying to beat the French. Well, maybe not that way, but anyway to greet the French that were coming to D'Iberville," said Chief White Buffalo.

Pierre's journey to the Biloxi North Bay, however, started with his father, Charles LeMoyne - a self-made man who would later become one of the wealthiest and most powerful citizens in Montreal, Canada. Charles - who was devoted to the crown of France -- headed numerous expeditions and campaigns, including many with his three sons.

According to the city's official history, after numerous conquests and battles, King Louis XIV chose Charles to head an expedition to the Louisiana Territory. Charles responded, reportedly telling the court at the Palace of Versailles, "If France does not seize this most beautiful part of America and set up a colony...the English colony which is becoming quite large will increase to such a degree than in less than one hundred years, it will be strong enough to take over all of America and chase away all other nations."

Sheba Breland and her eight children all participated.

"Well, he said that there were going to be kids dressing up, so, I said why not," said Breland. "Even though it was last minute, we actually put it together last night."

All sorts of people came to celebrate, including a familiar face from across the Bay.

"I used to ride my bicycle over here everyday because all my girlfriends were from D'Iberville," said Biloxi Mayor Fofo Gilich. "It's just a pleasure to be out here together, celebrating the whole start of things."

The event was one of many throughout Mississippi and the Gulf Coast to celebrate Mississippi's Bicentennial. For more details, check out the event's Facebook page.

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