The BP Oil Spill of 2010 generated stress and financial hardships throughout the Gulf Coast fishing industry. In this episode, Daniel Nguyen of the Mary, Queen of Vietnam Community Development Corporation discusses how that stress affected the Vietnamese Fishing Community.
After the BP Oil Spill, Congressman Joseph Cao formed a rapid response team to assist the Vietnamese fishing community. Team member Tuan Nguyen recalls those hectic days of community service and the cities they visited.
While BP hired many out-of-work fishermen to assist with the clean-up following the oil spill of 2010, some Vietnamese fishermen were left out due to the language barrier. Peter Nguyen explains how he assisted those fishermen to find work during the recovery.
Tuan Nguyen recounts with pride, the ways the rapid response team assisted, not only the Vietnamese community during the months following the oil spill, but the entire Gulf Coast.
On April 20th, 2010, an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform, in the Gulf of Mexico, led to the largest crude oil spill in history. In this episode, commercial fisherman Peter Floyd recalls being confident that the Gulf Coast would survive. Joe Jewell of the Mississippi Dept. of Marine resources discusses the “triple threat” faced by Coastal fishermen.
After Hurricane Katrina, Crab fisherman Louie Lipps opened his own seafood restaurant in Frenier, Louisiana. Five years later, the BP oil spill brought a whole new set of challenges to the Gulf Coast seafood industry. Lipps remembers how his business was affected.
According to Peter Floyd, optimism is trait inherent in all successful fishermen. He feels that dire predictions in the media did more harm to the seafood industry than the spill itself.
Mardi Gras has been celebrated in Biloxi since 1883. In this episode, Jerry O’Keefe remembers the excitement of attending the parades as a boy in the 1930s. Later, as a young father in the 1940s, O’Keefe shared his love of Mardi Gras with his children.
After being elected Mayor of Biloxi in 1972, O’Keefe realized the city’s Mardi Gras fundraising system needed to be overhauled. He explains how that was accomplished and why Mardi Gras remains so important to the city's identity.
Gulfport native John C. Robinson moved to Chicago and became a pilot after graduating from the Tuskegee Institute in the early 1920s when blacks were considered incapable of grasping the principles of aviation. He did this by taking a job as janitor of the Curtis Wright Flight School and earning the respect of one of the instructors. After graduating, he stayed on as an instructor and helped other Africian-Americans enter the field. He later convinced his Alma Mater to open a flight school--thus paving the way for the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII.
In this episode, Gulfport writer Thomas Simmons shares stories of Robinson that he gathered in eight years of research for his book: The Brown Condor-The True Adventures of John C. Robinson.
Wendell Taylor of Gulfport became a Methodist minister in 1937. In this week's episode, he discusses Gulfside Assembly, a retreat for black Methodists located in Waveland.
Gulfside was founded in 1923 to provide spiritual, educational and recreational facilities to African-Americans who were denied access elsewhere because of segregation. Taylor remembers the outstanding church leaders who were educated at Gulfside.
In 2005, Gulfside Assembly was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Plans to rebuild the historic site are pending.
Alfred Brown, Junior, grew up in the historic Soria City neighborhood of Gulfport during WWII. In this episode, he describes how his father sold fish in their back yard for extra money.
Brown remembers how Soria City residents took pride their neighborhood and looked out for each other.He recounts how his father would often give away fish to those in need.
(photo is of the Soria City Lodge, recently restored)
David Hall began attending the Thirty-third Ave Elementary School in Gulfport in 1935. There were no buses for black school children then. He recalls how the teacher would help the children warm their hands on cold mornings. He also remembers one teacher who would buy lunch for students who were hungry.
As the Seventh of fourteen children, Jimmie Jenkins of Gulfport was always looking for ways to make money. He and his brother caught and sold crabs door to door as kids. Later, Jenkins worked in the kitchen of the Edgewater Hotel. After returning from the Army, he returned to kitchen work shucking oysters at Fairchild's Restaurant and finally working at Carl's Beef Bar- home of the "famous Wheel Burger."
Thomas Gonzales, Sr. was born and raised on Delacroix Island. He recounts how his family came to the area.
Gonzales also explains how his father and grandfather taught him to fish the Gulf using traditional methods brought over from Spain and why fishing was more than a way of life—it was freedom.
On Friday, August 26th, 2005, Tropical Storm Katrina passed over South Florida and entered the Gulf of Mexico. As the storm rapidly strengthened to a category five hurricane, Phyllis Genin of Bay St. Louis, MS began to prepare. In this extended version of the radio broadcast, Genin describes how she and her family rode out the storm in a small downtown office building. She also expresses the shock that they felt when they were finally able to survey the damages.
Renowned Gulf Coast artist, Walter Anderson spent the late 1930s in and out of hospitals for the treatment of severe depression. His oldest daughter, Mary Anderson Pickard remembers how her father taught himself to draw again. Pickard also recalls her father’s love of nature and history and how he shared that love with his children.
Anderson never achieved much notoriety in his lifetime. In this extended version of the original broadcast, Pickard discusses getting to know him again long after his death in 1965 through the collection he left behind.
Anderson’s collection is on display daily at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs.
Hunter Kimbrough, of Bay St. Louis, was 13 when he met his brother-in-law: noted writer and social activist, Upton Sinclair. He remembers Sinclair as nice, but a little eccentric.
In this extended version of the radio broadcast we hear many interesting details about Sinclair's dealings with the famous Russian director Sergei Eisenstein.
Kimbrough also tells the story of the day that he and Sinclair were arrested for trying to make a speech.
In 1881, Laz Lopez opened the South’s first seafood factory in Biloxi. Julius Lopez, Jr. recalls his grandfather’s rags to riches story.
At its peak, Lopez-Elmer was the largest seafood packer in the country. Lopez discusses the company’s glory days.
For over thirty-five years, Wade Guice served as the Harrison County Director of Civil Defense. His first office was a small trailer powered by an extension cord. During his time in that position, he is credited with saving countless lives during several tornados and hurricanes including Camille. Please enjoy Guice's story in his own words in this extended version of the original broadcast.
Jim Kelly of Pearlington, grew up in the nearby town of English Lookout. He recounts how English Lookout got its name and how lumber companies used schooners and tug boats to carry harvested timber down the Pearl River to Gulfport.
The logging towns that sprang up along the Pearl River often had no roads and depended on boats for mail, supplies and transportation. Kelly remembers the mail boat of Captain Boardman that ran from Logtown to English Lookout.