BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The number of inductees into the 2015 Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum's Heritage Hall of Fame wasn't as large as the first class, but you couldn't tell by the number of people who showed up for the ceremony Saturday.
As the organizers know, big names draw big families. They packed in shoulder to shoulder, standing, sitting in chairs or taking a seat on the floor. Most attending couldn't even get into the ceremony room.
This was the second class for the Heritage Hall of Fame but it was a first-class honor. The oldest inductee, 93-year-old Nicolas Rosario "Corky" Hire, got the best seat in the house.
"Oh, it was great," Hire said. "Hell, I remember schooners anchored in the channel loaded with oysters to the deck. You don't see that no more."
The former boat captain started working on boats when he was 15.
"One good thing about fishing is you were independent," Hire added. "That was the main thing. Never had no boss. My daddy, you know, he was the boss. I mean, he was the boss."
Included were boat captains, commercial fishermen, seafood processing companies, industry trade and boat names.
Albert Ott, Sr. accepted on behalf of his mother and father, Edwin and Alice Ott.
"It would make them proud," Ott said. "It really would, because they were in the seafood business all their lives. He had a shrimp boat, the Anita Christine, which was also being honored here tonight."
Munro Petroleum, which closed in 2005, was also honored for serving the seafood industry for more than 60 years. Jerry Munro accepted on behalf of his father, Tommy Munro.
"Once you're inducted here, you live forever," Munro said. "That's why I wanted to give them a hat with our logo. Everybody knew that MP logo, and it's just something that's part of our Biloxi history."
The crowd was estimated between 400 and 500 people, which shows the need for a 7,000-square-foot expansion that is already in the works only one year after the museum reopened.
"This is a house of love," said Kim Ross Bush, board member and emcee. "This is a house that was built by the Gulf of Mexico, by the men, women and children who came here and plied the waters and built an industry that we will forever be known for."
You can find a full list of the 2015 inductees here: http://shout.lt/8TVF