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The upper Gulf Coast city of Bay Saint Louis is the county seat of Hancock County, Mississippi. The area was frequented and named by the French explorers, d’Iberville and Blenville, as early as 1699. Known for years as the Bay of St. Louis, the settlement was named Shieldsboro in the early 19th century, for Thomas Shields, a ship’s purser who lived within the town and delivered mail on his return from voyages. The city was incorporated as Bay St. Louis as the first act of the new Mississippi legislature in 1818. At one time, Bay St. Louis was in line to become the state capital but in a last minute vote, it was beat out by Natchez, which soon lost the designation to Jackson. Bay St. Louis is situated on a peninsula overlooking St. Louis Bay, adjacent to the city of Waveland, to the southwest, and across the bay from Pass Christian. Diamondhead is located to the north.


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