City of Ocean Springs, Mississippi

About City of Ocean Springs

City of Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Ocean Springs, Mississippi, lies at the heart of the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast on the eastern shore of Biloxi Bay. It's known as the City of Discovery in recognition of the French establishment of a settlement here in 1699. Long before the French arrived, however, the area was appreciated for its beauty and natural resources by Native Americans. The attributes that brought these early residents have attracted a diverse stream of people during the past 300 years. Ocean Springs has been flavored by many influences during its rich history, and now in the 21st century, it has a unique character that makes us happy to call it home..

Nestled along the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the City of Ocean Springs is a vibrant and eclectic arts community. It is home to numerous galleries, artist studios, and over 100 restaurants, and recently opened its first micro-brewery. With relatively affordable housing (the median home value is just over $204,000), schools that are among the best in the State of Mississippi, premier healthcare facilities, and a unique beauty found all over town, it is easy to understand why 17,000 people are proud to call Ocean Springs home!

Visit our historical and growing commercial districts for unique shopping experiences. Enjoy City services and facilities by spending time in one of our many parks and green spaces. Find time during your week to enjoy natural beauty, cultural resources, and other aspects of our city and the Coast. We welcome visitors to come and enjoy. Please visit the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce for additional visitor information or call 228.875.4424.

Our History

Downtown Ocean Springs

The French

With the French beachhead established at present day Ocean Springs in April 1699, by French Canadian Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville (1661-1706), King Louis XIV of France had the physical presence to defend the Louisiana claim of Rene’ Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle (1643-1687). In 1682, La Salle exploring from eastern Canada had discovered the Gulf outlet of the Mississippi River and claimed it and all the vast territory it drained for France. He named the land "Louisiana” in honor of his King. After reconnoitering the northern Gulf Coast from Florida to the deltaic mouth of the Mississippi River, and inland as far as present day New Orleans, Louisiana, d’Iberville built Fort Maurepas on a peninsula on the eastern shore of the Bay of Biloxi. The French operations were conducted from the deepwater anchorage at Ship Island. The French adventurers had made contact with the local Amerinds who were established on the Pascagoula River. These tribes were called Bylocchy, Pascoboula, and Moctoby. The name Bylocchy or Biloxy became synonymous with the French settlement at Fort Maurepas, and in later times became spelled Biloxi.

In early 1702, the French made a decision to relocate their small colony from Ocean Springs to the Mobile Bay area. The first city of Mobile was established by d’Iberville in 1702, at Twenty-Seven-Mile Bluff on the Mobile River near the confluence of the Tensaw and Middle Rivers. After the harbor at Dauphin Island was obliterated by a hurricane in 1717, the French moved the capital of Louisiana back to the site of Fort Maurepas on Biloxi Bay in 1719. This settlement was removed to present day Biloxi in 1720, as this site, which was near the present day Biloxi Lighthouse, afforded easier access from Ship Island. It was called Nouveau Biloxy (New Biloxi), and the original settlement at Ocean Springs became known as Vieux Biloxy or Old Biloxi. Colonists of John Law’s Mississippi Company were landed at Ship Island and brought to New Biloxi where they were transported to various concessions in French Louisiana. New Biloxi was essentially abandoned after the capital of Louisiana was moved to New Orleans in 1722.

The historical record of Ocean Springs during the next one hundred years is rather sparse. When Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville (1680-1768) left Fort Maurepas for Dauphin Island in January 1702, he left some men at Fort Maurepas. It is probable that some French and French Canadians remained in the area after Old Biloxi was abandoned in 1720. New Biloxi met the same fate circa 1728.

British West Florida

After France lost its North American colonies to England as a result of the Seven Years War (1756-1763), Ocean Springs became part of British West Florida, whose capitol was at Pensacola. English surveyor, George Gauld, made a map of the Mississippi coast in 1768. It depicts the homestead of a Madame Bodron (probably Baudreau) living at "Old Biloxi” at this time. Spain declared war on England in 1779. Spanish-American forces under Galvez and Pollock defeated the British at Mobile and Pensacola liberating the area in 1781. The Treaty of Paris in 1783, gave British West Florida to Spain. Spain held the area as Spanish West Florida until the Republic of West Florida was declared in 1810.

The Spanish

During the Spanish period, there are anecdotal stories concerning a Spanish Camp or garrison, which was situated on the Fort Point Peninsula, the locale of Fort Maurepas and later Old Biloxi. These reports are presently not substantiated, but may have a connection with the "Spanish Fort” or de la Pointe-Krebs House at Pascagoula. The American State Papers indicate that Littlepage Robertson received permission from the Spanish Governor of Mobile to settle at Ocean Springs in 1782. This is corroborated by the affidavits of Pierre Carco and Susan Fayard recorded at the district of Jackson Courthouse in August 1820. They said that Robertson settled on the northeast side of the Bay of Biloxi adjoining the "Old Fort.” He was situated here about two years after the capture and occupation of Mobile by the Spaniards. Robertson lived here and cultivated the land until he raised his children to manhood. Woodson Wren later claimed title to the Robertson land, which was west of Martin Avenue and included the Fort Point Peninsula (Section 24 and Section 25, T7S-R9W).

Les LaFontaines

Circa 1805, Louis Auguste LaFontaine purchased two hundred eighty arpents on the Bay of Biloxi from Julian Azevedo, probably a Spaniard. This tract is in the heart of old Ocean Springs. It is bounded on the south by the Bay of Biloxi, west by Martin Avenue, north by Government projected west to Martin, and east by General Pershing from Government south through the Inner Harbor. LaFontaine and his wife, Catherine Bourgeois, were the parents of several children, mostly daughters. These daughters would later married into the local families of the area Ladner, LaFauce (LaForce), Ryan, and Westbrook.

City Hall

Phone: 228-875-4236

Email: djowers@oceansprings-ms.gov

Public Works

The Public Works Department is organized into 7 sub-departments which address its primary responsibilities: Water, Sewer, Streets, Drainage, Maintenance, Beautification, and Central Shop. By providing planning, resource coordination, leadership, and financial management services, our Public Works Administrative Team works to accomplish the overall mission of our department.

Our department is made up of 42 employees who maintain 186 miles of streets in addition to 8,400 water and sewer customers. Employees must be available 24 hours every day to deal with unexpected problems. The Public Works Department also has the responsibility for hurricane preparedness, pre-storm preparations, and post-event cleanup.

Public Works Staff:

John Russell, Director

Candice Hooks, Assistant Public Works Director - Administration & Finance

Allan Ladnier, Assistant Public Works Director - Field Operations

Address: 712-A Pine Drive, PO Box 1800, Ocean Springs MS 39566

Phone: 228-875-3955

Fax: 228-875-4861

Office Hours:

6:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday

6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Friday

7:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Saturday (dumpsters only)

Building Department

Building Department Phone Number: 228-875-6712

Building Official

Hilliard Fountain

Phone: 228-875-6712

Email: hfountain@oceansprings-ms.gov

Code Enforcement Officer

Terry Franklin

Phone: 228-875-6712

Email: tfranklin@oceansprings-ms.gov

Office Administrator

Ashlee Miller

Phone: 228-875-6712

Email: amiller@oceansprings-ms.gov

City Clerk

Point of Contact: Shelly Ferguson

Address: 1018 Porter Avenue, Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Phone: 228-875-4263

Fax: 228-875-7249

Water Billing

Point of Contact: Shelly Ferguson (City Clerk)

Address: 1018 Porter Avenue, Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Phone: 228-875-4236

Fax: 228-875-7249

Office Hours:

Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Parks and Recreation

Staff Includes:

Geri Straight, Director

Huffy Mayfield, Assistant Director

Steve Burtt, Arts and Culture Coordinator

Bre Liddell, After School and Camps Coordinator

Chris Kostmayer, Athletics Coordinator

Address: 400 Alice Street, Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Phone: 228-875-8665

Office Hours: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday- Friday

After School Care: 2:00-6:00 p.m.

Summer Camp: 6:15 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Friday

Fire Department

Point of Contact: Jeff Ponson (Fire Chief)

Address: 3820 Bienville Blvd, Ocean Springs MS 39564

Office Hours: 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday

Phone: 228-875-4063

Fax: 228-875-5442

Emergency Dial 911

Police Department

Point of Contact: Mark Dunston (Chief of Police)

Address: 3810 Bienville Blvd, Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Phone: 228-875-2211

Fax: 228-875-5126

Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday

Accreditation

The Ocean Springs Police Department is accredited by the Mississippi Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission (MSLEAC). The purpose of MSLEAC is to establish professional standards for Mississippi law enforcement agencies. The Commission develops and administers the program in order to recognize professional excellence in the law enforcement community. To maintain accreditation, the Ocean Springs Police Department must comply with one-hundred-twenty-one standards for state accreditation during a two-year self-assessment.

Municipal Court

Ocean Springs Municipal Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor crimes, municipal ordinances, traffic violations and civil domestic protective orders. This court does not have jurisdiction of felony cases or juvenile criminal arrests; but does have jurisdiction of juveniles' charged with traffic offenses (including DUI), liquor and tobacco violations, and those juveniles who have been certified as an adult or previously arrested as an adult.

All cases for defendants arrested under a felony statutes will be prosecuted through the Jackson, George, or Greene County District Attorney's office.

Any appeals will be transferred to Jackson County Court and processed through the Jackson County Circuit Clerks office.

City of Ocean Springs Municipal Court

Open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday:

Open 8:00 a.m. – Noon, Wednesday:

3810 Bienville Blvd. Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Phone: 228-875-5009

Human Resources

Point of Contact: Mindy McDowell (Director)

Address: 1016 Porter Avenue, PO Box 1800, Ocean Springs, MS 39566-1800

Phone: 228-872-3338

Fax: 228-872-0430

Planning Commission Board

The Planning Commission traditionally meets the second Tuesday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall. The Planning Commission is under the guidance of the Planning Department.

Planning Commissioners

L. Teno Henderson

Marshall Johnson

Andy Phelan

Michael Smith

Matthew Hinton

Denise Cuevas

Elizabeth Feder-Hosey

Zoning and Adjustment Board

The Zoning and Adjustment Board (ZAB) traditionally meets the second Tuesday of every month at 5:00 p.m. at City Hall. ZAB is under the guidance of the Planning Department.

Zoning and Adjustment Board Members

Jason Payne

Nicholas Gant

Terry Armstrong

Kait Sukiennik

John O'Hara

Economic Development Council

The Economic Development Council (EDC) traditionally meets the second Monday of every month at 3:00 p.m. at City Hall. The EDC is under the guidance of the Mayor's Office.

Economic Development Council Members

Daniel Payne

Joey Conwill

Todd Mowat

Jane Hunolt

Jaklyn Wrigley

Christopher Skrmetti

Matt Williams

Marques Thomas

Building Board of Adjustment and Appeals

The Building Board of Adjustment and Appeals is under the guidance of the Building Department.

The Building Board of Adjustment Appeals Members

Billy Nix

Joe Telerico

Shane Jackson

John Guice

School Board

The Ocean Springs School Board Members are elected to 5-year terms. The Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen appoints 3 members to the board. The other two are appointed by an election. For more information about School Board Members, please contact the Ocean Springs School District at 228-875-7706.

Ocean Springs School Board Members

Wally Carter

Frances "Sue" White

Kacee Waters

Dr. Lena Melton

William H. Lee

Contact

City of Ocean Springs (Mailing Address)

Address

Post Office Box 1800
Ocean Springs, MS 39566

Hours

Monday: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Tuesday: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Wednesday: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Thursday: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Friday: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed