After the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill of 2010, NOAA asked us to conduct an oral history project to preserve the stories of those who fished the Gulf for a living. What one hears in these interviews a decade later is a myriad of emotions: pride in the past, exasperation at the evolving markets and conditions, and fear for the future. This week, we return to the interview of Thomas Schultz, junior, a fifth generation fisherman who, though he had retired, was still very much involved with preserving a way of life that he felt was slipping away.
2011 - Before the days of motorized fishing boats, fishermen relied on manpower and the wind to ply their trade. In this episode, Thomas Schultz of Biloxi describes how his father’s family would row a skiff thirty miles to sell their catch.
Schultz spent decades catching and selling shrimp with his own shrimp boats. He recalls being out in the Gulf for weeks at a time and how the price of shrimp has fluctuated. After Schultz retired from shrimping, he remained active with the Southern Shrimp Alliance, a group of industry professionals dedicated to ensuring “the continued vitality and existence of the U.S. shrimp industry.” He explains why he thinks the threat that shrimping poses to the sea turtle population has been greatly exaggerated.
According to Schultz commercial fishing is a great life and allowed him to provide for his family. He worries that pollution and government regulations are discouraging the next generation of fishermen.
As a new class of inductees ascend to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, we look back to this classic episode featuring Jai Johanny Johanson, a founding member of the Allman Brothers band. "Jaimoe" as he is known, had many interesting stories to share and we were all ears! Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995, please enjoy this classic MSMO. We will be back next week with a new episode.
2012 - Ocean Springs native Jai Johnny Johanson got his first big break as a professional drummer in 1966 when he joined Otis Redding's band. Over the next couple of years, he played for several big names including Percy Sledge, Joe Tex, Johnny Jenkins and Clarence Carter, but by 1968, found himself struggling to make ends meet. Johanson was about to leave the south and move to New York to pursue a career in Jazz when he heard of a young guitar player named Duane Allman, looking to form a new band. The two men were soon joined by bassist Barry Oakley and that trio would serve as the foundation for the Allman Brother Band.
In this episode, Johanson shares his memories of that time including the phone call he got from Cadillac Henry about joining Otis Redding’s band. He recalls going to see Percy Sledge at the Apollo and how he got the nickname, Jaimoe. Finally, he discusses what made Duane Allman such an exceptional musician and the legacy of the Allman Brothers Band.
PHOTO: J. Bayer: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jlbnyc/3388544821/
1975 – Doyle Ball moved from Amite County, Mississippi to Kansas in 1912 and took a job on a large cattle ranch. In this episode, he recalls learning to rope and ride and how to tend to the cows when they were sick.
During WWII, Ball leased out his farm in Crystal Springs and began working at a shipyard. He describes building mine sweepers and other ships critical for the war effort. After the war, Ball returned to his home in Crystal Springs and opened a dairy farm. He discusses the different types of farming operations he managed during his long career.
In 1975, Ball could look back with pride on the sixty-five years he spent in agriculture. He considers the changes he has witnessed and offers advice to any young farmers just starting out.
Some of Sam Alman’s earliest memories are of sleeping upstairs in his family’s fledgling soft drink business as the machinery below filled the bottles to be delivered the next day. And his stories of a life spent as part of the Gulf Coast community are filled with love and appreciation for the place he called home.
2004 – Sam Alman’s father moved their young family to Gulfport in the 1930s in search of new opportunities. In this episode, he recalls how they opened a soft drink bottling company and lived upstairs in those early days.
For his final two years of high school, Alman attended the Gulf Coast Military Academy which opened in 1912. He explains how the training he received there prepared him for life in the Navy during WWII.
Mardi Gras was an important part of Alman’s life from an early age and he participated in the Gulf Coast festivities for most of his life. He remembers serving as the King of Mardi Gras in 1971 and how local businesses would build their own floats.
During his lifetime, Alman watched the Mississippi Gulf Coast grow and prosper. He reflects on the changes he witnessed and why he wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.