BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Call him the Golden Fisherman 2.0. Biloxi's iconic statue that pays tribute to generations of commercial fishermen is about to make a comeback. But this time, he'll look very different.
The original Golden Fisherman was erected in 1977 and stood over the Vieux Marche area of downtown Biloxi. Eventually, he was moved closer to the water on Point Cadet, which seemed like a perfect spot... unless you're trying to avoid a hurricane.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 knocked the statue to the ground. With so many other post-Katrina recovery projects underway at the time, the Golden Fisherman would have to wait his turn. But then, in 2006, the city of Biloxi announced that the statue was stolen.
A reward was offered and the 16-foot, one-ton statue was eventually found in a creek in Mobile, County, AL. Officials guessed he was probably dumped there by metal thieves who were disappointed to realize he wasn't actually made of gold or copper or anything worth reselling.
Fast-forward to 2018, and Biloxi is set to unveil a new fisherman statue. This guy is an original seven-foot bronze sculpture crafted at the Caggiati Foundry in Parma, Italy. He'll stand on a six-foot granite base adorned with plaques featuring more than 800+ seafood industry family names, as well as the names of all of the kings and queens of the Biloxi Shrimp Festival & Blessing of the Fleet.
The new statue will be unveiled to the public Thursday, May 31, at 7:15 pm on the front lawn of the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum.
As for the old Golden Fisherman, he was far too damaged to save. But he will be used for ornamental work such as oyster shells, mullet, and crabs in the fountain that is planned for Phase II of the project.
The museum is still taking donations to finish the project. If you'd like to donate, you can visit the Golden Fisherman's GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/golden-fisherman-fountain