The Desporte family once resisted Biloxi's attempt to relocate his Caillavet Street seafood shop. But after three years of heated negotiations, they eventually accepted a $213,500 buyout package. Desporte and Sons Seafood moved to Division Street. And its cash register receipts have multiplied by a lot more than anybody imagined.
Fresh seafood has always been the lure that reels people into Desporte and Sons. Junie Desporte is co-captain of the 110 seafood dealership. "I was glad to get away. I mean I wasn't that crazy about Caillavet Street," he said. "I was just that crazy about getting enough money to move. We were ready to do something different."
In 2001, the buyout check from Biloxi gave his family the money it needed to relocate its seafood dealership.
Sean Desporte will eventually run the family business. "Caillavet Street was good for a long time," he said. "But now, I think the traffic is moving. I think it's a lot better over here on Porter and Division." Sean is the fifth generation of Desportes to sell seafood in east Biloxi. "We have a lot more parking, a lot better facility," he said. "And wherever we go, I guess people follow us, because we treat people right."
Treating people right. That was Junie Desporte's complaint about Biloxi before he sold his Caillavet Street property, so Biloxi could widen the road. "The whole thing in negotiating the deal was they weren't giving me enough money to actually make a move," the elder Desporte said. Three years later, Desporte laughs about those negotiations, because they turned into a tasty proposition for everybody.
Desporte and Sons was one of 90 properties Biloxi had to buy so it could widen Caillavet Street, and help casino traffic get from Highway 90 to the back bay resorts.