Biloxi Rededicates Historic City Cemetery

A rainbow decorated the twilight sky Thursday, an appropriate symbol for the restored, sacred grounds.

More than 100 people attended a rededication ceremony at the Biloxi City Cemetery.

Hurricane Katrina toppled some 200 head stones.  Months of work returned the cemetery to its pre-storm condition.

"May this place be a comfort to the living. A sign of their hope for the unending life," said Bishop Thomas Rodi during an opening blessing.

Grave sites date back to the 1700s. They trace the heritage of a proud city.

"In this cemetery, lie some of Biloxi's earliest settlers and community leaders," said Mayor A.J. Holloway during his remarks.

Harriet Waters Baker Aken is among the more colorful characters buried there. Stories of her family and life are legendary.

Cynthia Baker Powell portrayed her great, great grandmother.

"When she died she was 100-years-old and six months. And she lived on Deer Island. She had 11 natural children and she adopted 25 foster children. So, she was a very colorful character."

"I represent General Joseph Robert Davis," said Walter Freeman.

He brought to life the confederate commander: Jefferson Davis's nephew.

"He served in many battles. He ended up with General Lee at Appomadox. Was sent home after the war and moved to Biloxi," said Freeman.

Young Amelia rests not far from the general. She was a seafood worker who suffered a fatal cut with an oyster shucking knife.

"The doctor said it was blood poisoning. I died in 1913. I was 13-years-old," said the young woman who portrayed Amelia.

The tales are as varied as the tomb stones.

"Every grave site here is a story, no matter how important a person was or unimportant. They were important to someone," said Freeman.

The project to restore the cemetery cost about $350,000.  FEMA paid for most of the work.