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Sammy Montiforte, commercial fisherman
Sammy Montiforte literally owes his life to the seafood industry: his parents met when his father arrived to unload his catch in Biloxi. And so Sammy came to grow up in his grandfather’s factory, sneaking off with snacks of crab claws. And so Sammy came to grow up watching his father build boats in their backyard, learning enough to build his own after quitting school and dedicating himself to working the Gulf, shrimping in the summers and oystering through the winters. It was, as Sammy says, “Just what you did around here.”
Now Sammy talks about all that in the past tense. The boat he built himself sunk during Hurricane Katrina, but he’d sold it off before then, no longer able to make a living as a fisherman. But he misses the water. The Gulf still calls to him, and now, in moments snatched in between various jobs, he works on a boat for his son.