Monday, October 19, 2015

Biloxi, Mississippi: d'Iberville Statue

Those of you who learned about explorers probably think of a single name with most of them. Columbus. Balboa. Magellan.

So what to do with Pierre LeMoyne d'Iberville? That's quite a mouthful. Let's stick with d'Iberville for the time being.

Our hero was told in 1698 to go find the mouth of the Mississippi by his French bosses. The idea was to build a big fort near the Gulf and control access to the middle of what was later called North America. He found the mouth well enough, but didn't see any good land for a fort. So he dropped off some men at Bilxoi, thus creating the city.

And that's why d'Iberville is honored in the Mississippi city. His statue is across the street from the waterfront. He went back in 1700, worked his way up the Mississippi and established a fort 40 miles up river.

d'Iverville is considered the first great soldier to come from Canada. His problem, supposedly, was that he wasn't good at consolidating his gains once he achieved his goal. I guess there's a lesson there.

The statue went up in 1999 for Biloxi's tricentennial. It took a beating by Katrina but remained standing. d'Iverville eventually went back to the waterfront, where he stands on guard once again. 

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