Daybrook Fisheries fleet set for seasonApr 28th, 2011 | By William Dilella | Category: top story
Daybrook Fisheries in Empire held their annual Blessing of the Fleet to commemorate the beginning to this year’s fishing season. Through the air of celebration, apprehension lingered about the season ahead.
The presentation began on the main stage before the tent-full of fishermen and their families. On stage were Plaquemines Parish President William “Billy” Nungesser and Louisiana State Sen. David Heitmeir alongside Daybrook Fisheries Executive Vice-President Borden Wallace, Councilman Jeff Edgecombe, District 7, and Daybrook’s President and Chairman Gregory Holt.
Those who spoke, acknowledged the troubles of the past.
“After five years of recovery from Hurricane Katrina, who’d have thought we had to deal with BP,” said Wallace.
2010 saw the emergency shutdown of coastal waters from the oil spill. The men and women who depend on fishing for their living had barely kicked off the 2010 season, when the boats were turned back. Then there were the months of waiting, through a fishing season that only lasts from the beginning of Spring into Fall.
A fresh start
The officials on stage honored the captains, crew members, and families who attended the celebration, men and women who characterize the parish and bring hope to the coming season.
“This is a success story second to none in our region,” Sen. Heitmeir said. “We survived Katrina, but let’s not forget Rita, let’s not forget Gustav and Ike, and then BP.”
And to start the fishing season properly, Father JosephTran was then called to say a prayer over the crowd. Tran is formerly of St. Anne’s Church and now a Pastor in Assumption.
“Heavenly Father, annually, we gather here to ask for your blessing. We ask that you give us a special blessing as we begin a season of fishing. We ask you to bless the Daybrook Fisheries’ families, all the employers, and all the employees,” Father Joseph said. He called for the fish to be bountiful and their nets full, if only to ensure the jobs of the men and women there, whose hope is to raise their families right.
The men and women
All along the path Father Joseph took from the stage to the ships awaiting the holy water, a parade of fisherman came seeking additional blessings.
“Everyone is running up saying: Bless me! Bless me!” Father Joseph said.
Tran saw many of the workers were excited, but noticed a distinct worry about what the future may hold. One man presented a set of rosary beads for blessing. The man clutched them tightly in his fist.
As Father Tran blessed each ship sitting in the water, workers were still coming up for their own blessings. Half way through, Father Joseph had to ask someone to refill the pale of holy water he was carrying, so he could finish the blessing.
But despite all the blessings and the worry, Father Joseph held faith.
“People support one another through natural disasters,” Tran said. “People will come together and help one another through times of struggle.”