Golden Fisherman Statue Stolen From Point Cadet Site
From City of Biloxi Vincent Creel
Filed 6/11/06 GCN Updated 6/13/06
Biloxi’s Golden Fisherman, a 16-foot statue that once stood on Point Cadet in tribute to the seafood industry, has apparently been stolen from the former site of the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum.
The city-owned statue, which weighed more than a ton, was last seen mid-afternoon this past Saturday near the museum site, where city workers had moved it a week ago. The statue, which was insured, was damaged and knocked off its waterfront pedestal by Hurricane Katrina.
“How someone could have the gall to do something like this on the weekend of the Blessing of the Fleet just appalls me,” Mayor A.J. Holloway said this afternoon. “On the other hand, if someone moved it for safe keeping, call the Biloxi Police and tell them where it is.
“This statue was not brass, or copper or even gold. It was made of an alloy, and one of the components of that alloy was melted-down winches and cleats and other fixtures from shrimp boats. They were donated by fishermen. So it had no huge value as far as precious metals, but it was precious to those families and to this community.”
Holloway plans to ask the City Council Tuesday to offer a $15,000 reward for the return of the statue.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the statue should contact the Biloxi Police Department at (228) 392-0641.
Holloway had launched an initiative in 2004 to update the list of seafood family names that were to be placed on marble tablets surrounding the fisherman’s pedestal on Point Cadet, where the city had moved the statue.
In fact, the city was to unveil the results of that effort in late 2005 until Hurricane Katrina interrupted those plans. The storm’s winds and surge destroyed landscaping, sidewalks and benches that had been installed at the statue's waterfront site at Point Cadet.
The statue was originally commissioned under Mayor Jerry O’Keefe in 1975 as part of the country’s Bicentennial. It was a golden figure of a beak-nosed fisherman with his arms outstretched and throwing a cast net. It was crafted by Ocean Springs sculptor Harry Reeks. It was believed to be made of phosphor bronzes, or tin bronzes, which are alloys containing copper, tin and phosphorous, which resisted corrosion.
“People had different opinions on what it looked like,” Holloway said this afternoon, “but the fact is this statue was a tribute to the people of our seafood history. It was tribute to our history and it was certainly going to continue to play a role in our future. It’s just a shame.”
---To read about the city’s pre-Katrina initiative to refurbish the statue site and update the names of the Biloxi seafood families on its pedestal, click here.