When D'Iberville was sent here from France, in the late fifteenth century, to discover the mouth of the Mississippi River, he first stopped and founded Ocean Springs. Before traveling on, he left his brother here, with the plans to establish a fort in the area.
Fort Maurepas, on front beach in Ocean Springs, is a recreation of those plans. City leaders and citizens plan to make the fort a place we can all enjoy.
A no trespassing sign and a pad locked gate visibly attempt to keep unwanted guests outside these fort walls, which are rotting away. Since the state turned the property over to the city in 1982, the city was supposed to finish, furnish and staff the fort.
"Because of vandalism, and the people were not coming into the organization everything has kind of went down hill," Maurepas society member Mary Lee Terry said.
"It's in bad need of repairs, we're going to take and start rebuilding the fence," Ocean Springs Alderman at Large Danny Jalanivich said.
The fence, with problems like missing and damaged pillars, is only one of the problems, there's a make shift garbage can used to be a fountain, and litter, like a coffee cup decorate the fort floors.
"So rich in history our area doesn't seem to appreciate it. This place is not only Ocean Springs history, but the history of the whole coast," Terry said.
Although the gate is clearly locked, that doesn't stop our common criminals, someone has created a hole in the fence to sneak in and out.
Fort Maurepas society members see a different fort than the one you there today. It's their vision to construct a facility to hold any kind of event, from historical reenactments to contemporary weddings.
"You could bring classrooms down here, on Mississippi history, on colonial history, it could be utilized for receptions, it could be utilized for family reunions," Maurepas Society member Gloria Skillestad said.
"This is where Diberville landed, we have something that nobody else has," Jalanivich said.
The city of Ocean Springs has allocated $30,000 for this project, but society members said they're counting on grants and donations from the public to help pay for the project.