Landing of D'Iberville Grounded Until 2003

This used to be a week when civic pride required the Vallor family to put their printing business on hold. Just ask Joann Vallor.

"It was crazy," she remembered. "I don't think we did any real work that week. We mainly worked with the landing."

The Vallors used to help plan the Landing of D'Iberville re-enactment. According to Joann Vallor, "It was just a good Ocean Springs event that we enjoyed doing together as a family."

The family dropped out of the 1699 historical committee after the 1999 event. That was about the same time crowds began to stay away from Fort Maurepas. City leaders said the combination of fewer members and smaller crowds took much of the fun out of the annual landing.

The committee turned to the Ocean Springs Parks Commission for help. But commission director Damian McKay couldn't put a plan together fast enough to save the 2002 landing.

"It was best just to say not this year," McKay said.

McKay has been on the boat that carries re-enactors to Ocean Springs for their ceremony. He said canceling the even wasn't easy.

"It's our history," he said. "It's a real shock to everybody."

A frame from one of the teepees used in last year's Landing of D'Iberville is still on the beach. McKay said the teepee is a lot like the landing. Both have been abandoned.

"It's gotten to the point where they need more," he said. "That's where the parks commission decided to step up and help them, if they're willing to let us."

The parks commission's plan is to create a bigger, more enjoyable Landing of D'Iberville next year. An event that brings people back to historic Fort Maurepas.

At one time, the Landing of D'Iberville included a street fair and a parade. An estimated 10,000 people once attended the festivities. But according to Ocean Springs civic leaders, last year's re-enactment attracted only a few hundred people.