< Back to Oral History project: Biloxi’s Ethnic Shrimping Communities
Andrew "Fo-Fo" Gilich
Slavic Benevolent Association
For over a hundred years in Biloxi, immigrants have come to work in the seafood industry, fueled by the notion that their sacrifices and hard labor will bear easier lives for their children. Fo-Fo is two generations removed from people who came to America from Croatia, people who struggled and eventually found their careers in seafood canning. Even if he did catch hot shrimp cans off assembly lines as a boy, Fo-Fo today is a software developer and an entrepreneur (and a would-be Mayor of Biloxi, falling a few hundred votes shy in 2001), representing the forward-looking vision of his grandparents.
At the same time, as the President of the Slavic Benevolent Association, Fo-Fo presides over the post-Katrina rebuilding of their Lodge with an eye towards the past, recovering and restoring old photos, artifacts, and memories as he focuses on a new building to house the club. He wants to honor the generations of Croatian Biloxians through pictures and stories, even as he honors their legacy just by being.