The settlement of Fort Maurepas, or Old Biloxi, in colonial French Louisiana (New France), began in April 1699 at present-day Ocean Springs, under the authority of King Louis XIV, as Fort Maurepas by Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville. It was the first permanent French outpost in French Louisiana and was established as a foothold to prevent Spanish encroachment on France’s colonial claims. The site was maintained well into the early 18th century.
Ocean Springs became a prosperous resort town and after several years, reinvented itself as a historically-oriented residential community. From colonial times to present day, seafood has been celebrated. The abundance of seafood allowed French and French-Canadian explorers and settlers to thrive within the Fort Maurepas/Old Biloxi area. In the late nineteenth century, the development of ice plant industries along the coast increased seafood sales. Locals and tourists can still purchase freshly harvested shrimp, fish, crabs, and oysters to this day because of this thriving industry.
Ocean Springs was in the international spotlight following Hurricane Katrina’s landfall on August 29, 2005. The city, part of the Mississippi Gulf Coast directly hit by the storm, sustained significant damage. The Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge, connecting the two cities on Highway 90 along the beach, was destroyed and was a widely broadcast visual testament to the hurricane’s impact. The Bridge was replaced with a beautiful lighted high structure that is popular with walkers and joggers.
The name Ocean Springs was coined by Dr. William Glover Austin in 1854. He believed the local springs had healing qualities.
You can celebrate the history of Ocean Springs once each year as the town presents reenactments depicting d’Iberville’s landing near a replica of Fort Maurepas. Call the Ocean Springs Chamber for the schedule.
Downtown Address Center: Washington Ave and Government St
City: Ocean Springs
Contact: Ocean Spring Chamber of Commerce-Main St-Tourism Bureau
Accessibility: sites can be viewed from a vehicle. Click here for more detailed information.