The Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. There has been something saved, the two replica oyster schooners are safe and came to Biloxi's Point Cadet, where the museum used to stand, under full sail.
BILOXI - The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum's pair of replica oyster schooners hoisted sail on a bright and beautiful Thursday morning and came out of their hiding place up the Biloxi River to make a victory voyage around Biloxi's tip before docking at Point Cadet Marina.
Their Victory? They survived Hurricane Katrina intact, unlike the museum itself and much of the Point Cadet neighborhood.
The Glenn L. Swetman schooner and the Mike Sekul schooner were built in the late 1980s in homage to Biloxi's centuries-old seafood industry and the old oyster schooners that sailed in and around the Mississippi sound. Besides being available for charters, the two boats are symbols of something more, said Robin Krohn David, the museum's executive director.
"They're part of our history," David said. "That's why we came under full sail - so people could see us and have a little hope."
With two sturdy long leaf yellow pine masts on each boat and strong cypress hulls, the boats made it through with barely a scratch, a bit of luck that many of the other boats tied up nearby did not have, said Capt. Brandon Boudreaux, who's been at the helm of at least one of the schooners for five years.
"I never in my life thought I'd see something like this," said Boudreaux, who started as a deckhand on one of the boats 15 years ago. "There were boats in the trees, up in the woods. I had goosebumps when I saw them."
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