THE COAST 81 THE COAST 81 “remarkably improved.” In 1939, investors established the Wallace M. Quinn Fisheries, which processed menhaden for their oil and for fish meal to make chicken feed. In the 1940s other menhaden companies opened, even up the Escatawpa River. Through the decades, the seafood industry has waxed and waned with the economic times along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Vietnamese workers arrived in the 1970s and provided much-needed personnel for the industry. Today, the seafood industry has undergone many changes, with steel-hulled boats catching the shrimp and new picking machines shelling them in the factories. After Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (BP Spill) in 2010, the industry suffered further setbacks when many workers moved because of a lack of employment in the industry. Regardless, families such as the Gollotts, Desportes, and Mavars and other shrimpers, oystermen, fishermen, and processing plant owners annually celebrate the Blessing of the Fleets and enjoy seafood festivals in honor of the history and culture that are part of the fabric of the Gulf Coast. Shipbuilding Private shipbuilding operations existed in Jackson County during the French colonial period in the 1700s, and once the harvesting of timber became so profitable along the coast and inland, shipbuilding businesses followed naturally. With the Clark and BeBee yards in the nineteenth century, coastal Mississippi established itself as a shipbuilding center in Mississippi. Prior to World War I, shipyards such as John DeAngelo’s in Jackson County employed approximately 100 craftsmen and laborers to produce three-masted schooners. The United States government established a repair yard in Jackson County in 1910 for government vessels. When World War I broke out on July 28, 1914, the shipbuilding boom took off in Jackson County. “Liberty Ship” contracts were available through the United States Emergency Fleet Corporation, and many yards in the county began building larger military ships to fulfill these contracts. By 1917, three major shipyards in Pascagoula provided employment and constructed wooden cargo vessels made of longleaf pine and coastal live oak. Companies such as Dierks-Blodgett Shipyard, Dantzler Shipbuilders & Drydock Company, and International Shipyard all worked to build the needed ships. International Shipyard, or Piaggio’s, as Pascagoulans called it, employed 5,000 workers and constructed five-masted wooden ships more than 300 feet in length. Toward the end of World War I, however, steel- hulled ships began to replace the wooden behemoths. CROSBY ARBORETUM In the late 1970s, the children of L.O. Crosby, Jr. established the Crosby Foundation and Arboretum to honor their father’s deep passion for Mississippi nature. Located in Picayune, Mississippi, the facility expanded during the early 1980s, and in 1986, the Arboretum was opened to the public. In 1997, the Crosby Foundation partnered with Mississippi State University, which offered significant resources to further develop the Arboretum. Today, the facility remains owned and operated by Mississippi State University as part of its Coastal Research and Extension Center. The facility seeks to preserve and protect native plants of the Pearl River Drainage Basin Ecosystem and to inform the public about the environment through its many educational and recreational opportunities. The Arboretum is located on 700 acres containing 300 species of plants, providing endless potential for research. With three main exhibits—Savanna, Woodland, and Aquatic, plus several other special exhibits—the Arboretum is able to offer many programs and events for children, as well as people of all ages. In addition to its plant life, the facility is also home to award- winning architecture. The Arboretum’s Pinecote Pavilion— designed by E. Fay Jones, native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and protégée of Frank Lloyd Wright—was given the Honor Award by The American Institute of Architects in 1990 and is considered a Mississippi Landmark by Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The MSU Crosby Arboretum continues to preserve native plant life while educating its visitors from across Mississippi and the country. In 2016, the Arboretum received the Garden Excellence Award from the American Public Gardens Association. PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE CROSBY ARBORETUM, MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY