After and Now is a Sun Herald Sunday feature that details South Mississippi in the days after Hurricane Katrina's Aug. 29 landfall and how it compares with current conditions.|
The Katrina-denuded slab of C.F. Gollott & Sons Seafood is buzzing these days with a new two-story building under construction and workers installing state-of-the art seafood-processing equipment. "We were a two-story building but now we are a two-story building with 19 feet between floors," said Brian Gollott. "The top story will be 30 feet above sea level and that's where a lot of equipment will be.
"We're building for the future."
The Gollott brothers had hoped to have the processing plant operating at the June 7 opening of shrimp season, but their story is like so many others awaiting delayed arrivals of supplies and equipment. The completion date with the contractor is past, and the workers, supplies and equipment keep coming.
"We're hoping to be running in a month, but I feel this is like Murphy's Law. A month ago I told people I thought we'd be up in a month. Now it's another month and I hesitate to say anything but I see sunshine peeking through the gray clouds. After we get the processing plant up, it'll be another six or eight months before we open the seafood market.
"Every day, people call to ask if the market is open. We send them to the competitors and tell them we hope they'll come back."
C.F. Gollott opened his D'Iberville seafood factory in 1932, a step up from when he and his dad caught and peddled shrimp, fish and oysters. C.F. was joined by son A.C., and they built the business by specializing in Gulf and Sound catch.
The processing plant and a seafood market hummed, with occasional breaks to rebuild after hurricanes - the price for owning a waterfront business. When A.C. took over, his five sons joined him at the foot of Central Avenue. Brian, Arny, Nicky, Dale and Ben each learned a different aspect of the business, and when A.C. retired, the five kept going.
Even in tough times of cheaper shrimp imports, the Gollotts say their speciality will remain Gulf states shrimp, because, as Brian says, "our shrimp is unique in taste and quality and the best in the world."
- KAT BERGERON