Frank Parker | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Frank Parker

Frank Parker Image
Location of Interview
Collection Name

Ethnicity in the Seafood Industry on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Like any place where hard work could yield fortune, Biloxi’s seafood industry attracted immigrant labor – first Polish by way of Baltimore, then Croatians and Cajuns, and more recently, Vietnamese. Collected here are some of the stories of Biloxi’s shrimping past and present.

principal investigator
Date of Interview
Biographical Sketch

Even in a town like Biloxi, it's not often someone can claim seven generations of fishing heritage. The line in Frank Parker's family may have stopped at six when his parents pushed him to go to college and consider other lines of work, but the years of growing up playing on the dock had him pretty well convinced he was going to go back out onto the Gulf. So at 24 years old, 12 credits shy of graduating, Frank decided to listen to the sirens and bought himself a boat. The funny thing, though, is that his parents listened to them too. His father retired from furniture refinishing to be his deckhand, and his mother got on the boat to do the support work, and to referee when they butt heads. A decade later, the industry is facing a crisis and shrimp prices have dropped drastically, expenses are rising, and captains and deckhands alike are bailing all around. But working with his family and selling his catch directly, Frank believes he's still able to make it work, and he's getting ready in case his kids one day decide they want to be generation eight.

Please reach out to let us know how these interviews are being used in your research, project, exhibit, etc.  The Voices staff can help provide other useful resources related to your inquiry. 

The NOAA mission is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. The Voices Oral History Archives offers public access to a wide range of accounts, including historical materials that are products of their particular times, and may contain offensive language or negative stereotypes.

Voices Oral History Archives does not verify the accuracy of materials submitted to us. The opinions expressed in the interviews are those of the interviewee only. The interviews here have been made available to the public only after the interviewer has confirmed that they have obtained consent.