Locations and Themes in the Novel Bycatch
U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Biloxi
In 1933 the United States Coast Guard established an air base on the eastern edge of Biloxi to provide life-saving support to merchant and commercial vessels in the northern Gulf of Mexico. A hangar, tarmac, barracks, and seaplane ramp were built on Point Cadet. The Grumman JF-2, a single-engine biplane with 39-foot fabric-covered wings on a single hull, was one of the first aircraft operated at the station. The “Duck,” as it was called, had a range of 800 miles and was suited to take off and land in the shallow waters of Biloxi Bay.
St. Michael Catholic Church
“The Fisherman’s Church” has been an anchor, in one form or another, on Point Cadet since 1908, serving the predominantly Catholic Spanish, French, Yugoslavian, and Vietnamese immigrants. The scalloped roof, “fishing” apostles in stained-glass, and brass waves, all connect with the nearby sea. St. Michael Catholic Church
Long before air conditioning and jet planes whisking sweaty “Coasties” to cooler climes, locals on the Mississippi Gulf Coast sought what comfort came from gentle sea breezes on hot and humid summer days by climbing a raised platform surrounding the trunk of an ancient oak. Square or octagonal, shooflies are generally made of wood, built next to the beach, and rarely survive a strong blow. The Shoofly Magazine
This long-winged black and white seabird glides above the water with its oversized lower bill slicing the surface. It feeds by feel, snapping its beak shut when it encounters a small fish, one of the few birds able to fly and forage at night. Mistakenly called a shearwater by some, the bird graces the logo of the famed Ocean Springs pottery studio founded in 1928 by Peter Anderson. Shearwater Pottery
How Does a Shrimp Boat Work?
Seven-minute video showing how a shrimp trawler makes its catch. Video produced by the Southern Shrimp Alliance. See a turtle exclusion device (TED) and bycatch reduction device (BRD) in action. Watch YouTube Video
Blessing of the Fleet
“May God in Heaven fulfill abundantly the prayers which are pronounced over you and your boats and equipment on the occasion of the Blessing of the Fleet. God bless you going out and coming in; the Lord be with you at home and on the water. May He accompany you when you start on your many journeys. May He fill your nets abundantly as a reward for your labor, and may He bring you all safely in, when you turn your boats homeward to shore. Amen.” Blessing of the Fleet
Biloxi Pulling Skiff
Small flat-bottomed boats like this pulling skiff have been used by fishermen for over a hundred years in the shallow waters of the Mississippi Sound. Originally designed to be towed behind a sailing schooner then rowed, the craft is now often fitted with a small outboard motor. This boat and many others used on the Gulf Coast can be found at the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum on Biloxi’s Point Cadet.
MPR Vietnam Reflections
The Coast’s own Emmy Award-winning journalist, Trang Pham-Bui describes her escape by boat from war-torn Vietnam in 1975 and her assimilation into America in this five-minute video.