Coast Celebrates 73rd Blessing Of The Fleet

Troy Derouen is a long time Biloxi resident. So, coming out to the beach with his family for the Blessing of the Fleet is in his blood, but, he says things have changed from when he was kid.

"It's gotten a lot less people now," he said. "I guess the casinos have put a damper on the [event], as far as people showing up for this. Don't look like there's as many people as there used to be."

Gwen Broussard and Kathy Schultz don't know the difference, though. The long time friends are from Florida and Louisiana.

"And we meet here in the middle and it just so happens, it's usually the first...this is the second year we've done it and it happens to be the first weekend in May with all this going on," Broussard said.

They don't know the history of the event, but they enjoy the sights all the same.

"Just coming out and being able to get together and seeing all the boats and the festivities," she said.

But David Dubois says there's an even better way to enjoy the Blessing.

"My wife's sister used to have a boat that they decorated up every year and we used to come out here and take first place, but now this year, we're just out here watching and seeing who takes the prizes," he said.

It's not quite as much as fun, and it's certainly a lot hotter on the sand, but Dubois says it's annual tradition no one should miss.

"I think it draws a lot of people from different areas around the coast here--Louisiana, Alabama come down here and take part of the Blessing and hope everybody has a well shrimp season," he said.