Florida Man Helps Restore And Preserve Biloxi Cemetery - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Florida Man Helps Restore And Preserve Biloxi Cemetery

"I know the power of water but I'd never seen it in action, and to be able to move a nine thousand pound stone, uncover a body, and just have all of that visual there, it really affects you," said Mike Mitchell.

Mike Mitchell cannot believe how much damage Hurricane Katrina had on the historical old Biloxi cemetery, but he's here from Miami, Florida to help put some of the pieces back together.

"We're looking at some of the headstones and the devastation, some of the breaks, and we're trying to repair and reset as many of them as we can," said Mitchell.

He is conducting a two day workshop in South Mississippi on cemetery preservation.

But he and student George West are not simply restoring a cemetery-they are restoring history.

"These are original monuments. They are two hundred years old. They are very historically significant. And since they have been damaged, preserving the history, not only of Biloxi, but Biloxi is part of the United States and you know it all adds together," said Mitchell.

Mitchell says a lot of the families of those buried here are no longer alive or in the area to tend to these marble markers.

So, he believes it is part of his duty to restore a little integrity to those long forgotten.

And while student George West is learning a lot about cemetery preservation.

"I've learned how to repair monuments and how to set them back up when they're leaning over, how to clean them," said West.

Mitchell hopes he and others will take away the true lesson of the day.

"Without this, you don't know where you came from, and you won't know where you are going," said Mitchell.

Mitchell says one lesson that can be learned in old historical cemeteries- all of the headstones face east because during the Victorian Age, many thought true believers of God facing east will see God on Resurrection Day.

He is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and so he also came down to reset about 70 headstones that had been knocked over and damaged at Beauvoir.

By Karla Redditte

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