Biloxi, MS | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Biloxi, MS

Interviewee Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation Collection
George Trojanovich

Georgo Trojanovich is, as he says, "The only real Croatian in Biloxi." But in a city as proud as this one is of its Croatian heritage, everyone here knows what he means: with the arrival of Croatian families tailing off by the second half of the 20th century, Georgo is one of the few - yes, perhaps only - Croatian-born immigrants in town. A distant relative of a local restaurateur, Georgo came as a teenager to escape Tito's Communist regime, working as a dishwasher at Mary Mahoney's restaurant.

Francis Lam Biloxi, MS Southern Foodways Alliance Ethnicity in the Seafood Industry on the Mississippi Gulf Coast
Frank Parker

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.

Francis Lam Biloxi, MS Southern Foodways Alliance Ethnicity in the Seafood Industry on the Mississippi Gulf Coast
Corky Hire

Corky Hire may have had an inauspicious beginning to his shrimping career, taking over for his ailing father, but now 70 years later, his memories of working the Gulf are almost all fond ones. His time on boats, through the 30's and 40's, was during a time when Biloxi's seafood industry was growing tremendously and ail schooners were being replaced by powered boats, and Croatian families were making the shift from immigrant laborers to cannery owners and professionals.

Francis Lam Biloxi, MS Southern Foodways Alliance Ethnicity in the Seafood Industry on the Mississippi Gulf Coast
Leroy Duvall

When Leroy Duvall refers to himself as one of the younger people, it's despite his 64 years, but it's without a trace of irony. Part of it is that he is the President of the Fleur de Lis Society, a club half the size of what it once was because its membership is slowly passing from old age. And part of it is that, after 30 years of shrimping on the Gulf, his body still feels young. Eventually, the economic repercussions of endangered turtles forced him to retire from shrimping, and when Hurricane Katrina washed away his bakery, he retired from that, too. Mr.

Francis Lam Biloxi, MS Southern Foodways Alliance Ethnicity in the Seafood Industry on the Mississippi Gulf Coast
William W. Walker

Mr. William W. Walker is a resident of the Gulf Coast. At the time of this interview he was Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. Walker was born on September 16, 1945, in Hammond, Louisiana, to Mr. and Mrs. William Byrd Walker. Mr. Walker attended Hammond High School, Southeastern Louisiana University for his bachelor’s degree, and Mississippi State University for his master’s and doctoral degrees, graduating in 1972. He married Sharon H.

Stephanie Scull-DeArmey Biloxi, MS NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History
Tuan Tran

Mr. Tuan Tran is a Vietnamese-American shrimper living in Biloxi, Mississippi. Tran was born on July 28, 1963, one of seven children, in Nha Trang, South Vietnam. Mr. Tran’s father died in battle, serving in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, when Mr. Tran was twelve years of age. Upon his father’s death, Mr. Tran quit school to help his mother make a living to support selling produce and other goods in the market. In 1986 Mr. Tran was out fishing when he made a sudden decision to escape Vietnam when approached by others who were escaping.

Linda VanZandt, Angel Truong Phan Biloxi, MS NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History
Thomas J. Schultz Jr.

Mr. Thomas J. Schultz Jr. is a retired commercial fisherman in Biloxi, Mississippi. He was born on October 22, 1932, in Biloxi, Mississippi, to Mr. Thomas J. Schultz Sr. (born June 25, 1907, in Bon Secour, Alabama) and Mrs. Ophelia A. Quigley Schultz (born November 25, 1908, in Biloxi, Mississippi). His father was a fisherman and a boatbuilder. His father’s paternal lineage was Danish. His maternal lineage was Mississippi Native American. His mother was a housewife who also worked in the seafood processing industry.

Barbara Hester Biloxi, MS NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History
Joseph D. Jewell

Mr. Joseph D. Jewel (b. 1957) is deputy director of the Office of Marine Fisheries at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. He was born in 1959 on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the small fishing community in east Biloxi known as the Point. His parents were Mr. Thomas Jewell and Mrs. Betty Jane Seymour Jewell. He was the second son in a family of six sons and one daughter. Following the return of his parents to his father’s ancestral home in Oregon, Joe was raised by his maternal grandparents in a commercial fishing family.

Barbara Hester Biloxi, MS NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History
Walter Eley Ross, Sr.

Mr. Walter Eley Ross Sr. is a retired commercial fisherman on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  He was born on March 16, 1924, in Biloxi, Mississippi,to Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Ross. His father was a commercial fisherman, house builder, and boat builder. His mother was a housewife. Mr. Ross began fishing with his father commercially when he was a teenager, and he continued in that profession for fifty-three years. Ross also served in the US Air Force, achieving the rank of sergeant. He is a Catholic.

Barbara Hester Biloxi, MS NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History
Earl W. Ross

Earl Ross is a commercial shrimper in the Gulf of Mexico. Ross was born on December 13, 1947, in Biloxi, Mississippi, to Mr. Wildon Ross (born April 22, 1922, in Biloxi) and Mrs. Ruth Wallis Ross) born September 27, 1929). His father was a police officer, taxicab owner, and shrimper in Biloxi. His mother was a bookkeeper. His father’s family were shrimpers who owned local businesses, including grocery stores, clothing stores, and taxicabs. His mother’s family were shrimpers and bakers. On November 17, 1968, he married his wife, Charlene (born December 14, 1947).

Barbara Hester Biloxi, MS NOAA-NMFS, University of Southern Mississippi - Northern Gulf Institute Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History