Ice house owner optimistic about shrimp season

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - With the 2012 shrimp season about to begin, there is guarded optimism that this year will be a good one. It certainly can't be much worse than the last few years, with the triple whammy of Hurricane Katrina, the oil spill and escalating gas prices.

David Luke and his wife Elaine certainly hope it is a good year. They own and operate St. Michael's Ice and Fuel in East Biloxi.

"I have been doing this since I was knee high to a duck catching shrimp coming out of a canning plant back in Louisiana," David told us in his South Louisiana Cajun accent.

Over the years, the Lukes have seen the best of times and the worst of times

"At one time, I used to have 100 boats out here. Now, I might have 20 or 25 boats," he said.

Luke certainly knows it will never be like that again, but early signs are this will be a good year. His wife, Elaine, said they have been very busy selling ice and fuel to shrimpers in anticipation of this year's opening of the season.

A lot of the business is shrimpers who have come in from the neighboring states of Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. Steven Richardson shrimps in the Panama City, Florida area.

"I come here every year hoping to catch a good crop, and it is looking good so far," Richardson said.

The Lukes' ice house sits literally a few feet from Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Casino. With a smile on his face, he told us that when Buffett opened the casino last week with a performance, Buffett glanced over at St. Michael's, and gave them a wink and a wave.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.