Walk through the Biloxi City Cemetery and you'll get a lesson in Coast history. Tombstones are inscribed with the names of well known Biloxi families. Names like Barq, Mavar and Skremetta are among those buried there.
The oldest section of Biloxi City Cemetery is located right off Highway 90. Grave markers there date back to the early 1800's.
But the current city cemetery won't contain many future chapters of Biloxi history. The centuries old graveyard is getting full. The nearly 40 acre site, which has long been the final resting spot for generations of Biloxi families, is about to run out of room.
"What we have left are those that are not sold in these areas and then that relatively small area there," said Jim Compton, as he walked through the newest section of the city cemetery.
Compton is the council member who represents that portion of Biloxi that includes the historic cemetery. He says many Biloxians have come to expect the cemetery service which the city oversees.
"This is a service we've offered for our people for a long time. And I would hate to see us end it. I would hope that we would grow with the growing part of the city and have a cemetery in the annexed area, as well as this one," Compton said.
Brenda Johnston helps oversee the sale of cemetery plots. There are just over 200 plots remaining in the City Cemetery. Price is a big attraction.
"It's affordable. Those lots sell for $350, in comparison with the private market. I think those start at five hundred," Johnston said.
If the city decides to stay in the cemetery business, the next question becomes finding available land to accommodate any expansion.
There's no suitable property adjoining the existing site. That's why Compton advocates looking elsewhere, like the newly annexed Woolmarket area.
"My feeling is if we decide to go forward, there may be somebody that would come to us with a site," Compton said.
The cemetery was last expanded in the late 1970s. It's not known how long it will be until the 200 plus remaining plots are sold.