Biloxi's Blessing of the Fleet - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi's Blessing of the Fleet

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - For 80 years now, the boats have come to be blessed.

"Even in 2009, we're reaping the harvest out of the Gulf.  It's family, tradition and faith being passed on," said Father Gregory Barras of St. Michael Catholic Church.

Twenty-four shrimp boats and 57 small pleasure boats came out for this year's Blessing of the Fleet. They came praying for a bountiful fishing season and for safe travel on the water.

Accompanying Father Greg Barras was this year's Biloxi Shrimp King, Nicholas "Corky" Hire. He remembers the very first Blessing of the Fleet.

"I'm the king of the party this year," Hire said.  

It took nearly 20 years before the king would agree to take his place among Biloxi's shrimping royalty.

"He always told my sister Lisa and I that he wasn't old enough and there were fisherman older than him and more deserving. This year when they asked him, we finally told him, 'You're 87 daddy, and there's no one else older than you,'" Rita Bailey said with a smile. "But we could burst, we're so proud of him for doing it."

Also waving the boats in was 17-year-old Stevie Cantrell, this year's shrimp queen.

"I was born shrimping.  I know how to pick a shrimp and head a shrimp and do all that.  The shrimping and seafood industry has built Biloxi, and I take pride in being a part of something that made us who we are and who we've become," Cantrell said.

Though the event isn't quite back to the days when more than 200 boats filled the channel, there's still a strong desire to keep the fleet in formation and the blessings coming. 

"I hope it never quits," Hire said.

Some of those who decorated their boats also received a monetary blessing during the event. The "Richard and Melonie" took home first place and a $1,000 prize. The "Lucy F." took home second, winning $500.  The "Barbara Faye" also took home $500 as this year's participation winner.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 'Extreme pain': Teen found stabbed, burned alive

    'Extreme pain': Teen found stabbed, burned alive

    Thursday, April 26 2018 9:24 AM EDT2018-04-26 13:24:51 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 11:09 AM EDT2018-04-26 15:09:23 GMT
    Police said a 911 caller thought he saw the body of Tyrell Holmes crawling on the ground while still on fire. Holmes died from smoke inhalation, thermal injuries and stab wounds. (Source: WFMX/CNN)Police said a 911 caller thought he saw the body of Tyrell Holmes crawling on the ground while still on fire. Holmes died from smoke inhalation, thermal injuries and stab wounds. (Source: WFMX/CNN)

    Police said a 911 caller thought he saw the body of Tyrell Holmes crawling on the ground while still on fire. Holmes died from smoke inhalation, thermal injuries and stab wounds.

    More >>

    Police said a 911 caller thought he saw the body of Tyrell Holmes crawling on the ground while still on fire. Holmes died from smoke inhalation, thermal injuries and stab wounds.

    More >>
  • Exclusive: Interview with woman who adopted OJ and Dozer

    Exclusive: Interview with woman who adopted OJ and Dozer

    Thursday, April 26 2018 6:19 PM EDT2018-04-26 22:19:09 GMT
    OJ and Dozer go for a walk Thursday after they were reunited the night before (Source: RACC)OJ and Dozer go for a walk Thursday after they were reunited the night before (Source: RACC)

    The woman who adopted OJ and Blue Dozer from Richmond Animal Care and Control is speaking for the first time after the two dogs were reunited Wednesday night. 

    More >>

    The woman who adopted OJ and Blue Dozer from Richmond Animal Care and Control is speaking for the first time after the two dogs were reunited Wednesday night. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly