Hurricane Camille Memorial/Ring-in-the-Oak
Hurricane Camille Memorial
The Camille Memorial Wall bears the names of 172 known victims of Hurricane Camille. The dedication ceremony occurred on August 17, 2001, the 32nd anniversary of the category 5 hurricane that came ashore on August 17, 1969. An Air Force reconnaissance plane reported winds in the storm to be 200+ mph and a barometer reading of 26.61 inches. Residents suffered an up to 35-foot storm surge, depending on where they lived. Learn more about Camille and see photographs in the local history department of the Biloxi Public Library.
According to legend, the Biloxi Native American tribe told the story of the Ring-in-the-Oak to early French settlers. The story can be found in the slim volume, Legends and Lyrics of the Gulf Coast (in the local history department, Biloxi Library), written by Laura F. Hinsdale in 1896. The poem tells of “a maiden of the Biloxi race, a chieftain’s fair and only child.” And then came “a Natchez warrior from the west,” who asked for the maiden’s hand in marriage. The chieftain replied: “when a ring grows in yonder tree.” That night a terrible storm occurred and left two of the oak tree’s branches entwined into the ring that can be seen here.
Continue eastward on Highway 90 for six tenths of a mile. Turn right (south) into the parking lot of the Schooner Pier Complex. The Deer Island Coastal Preserve is clearly visible from this location.