During the late 1800s and early 1900s there was a migration of European immigrants to the Gulf Coast. Many were from seacoast areas around the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas and came to the Gulf Coast settling into fishing communities along the Coast. Among these were the communities of Mobile, Pascagoula, Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Pass Christian, and Biloxi. While the early influence of the Spanish and French continues it was the immigrants from Greece, Italy, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia who most influenced the maritime and fishing traditions of these areas all the way from Tarpon Springs, Florida to New Orleans and Texas. Large numbers of Croatian fishermen settled in Biloxi.
The area around Biloxi became a major seafood industry area and traditional work boats were developed to meet the needs of the fishermen. Like the Skipjack on the Chesapeake Bay, the Biloxi Schooner was a specific boat type developed to meet the specific needs of the Mississippi Sound and Coastal waters off Biloxi. With the advent of gasoline power the Biloxi Schooner was gradually replaced by another type of boat developed specifically for the area, the Biloxi Lugger. The early Luggers were a power conversions of former Biloxi schooners but it was not long before Luggers became they became the focus of local shipbuilders.
The Biloxi Lugger remains today a vivid reminder of this areas maritime heritage. Sea Wind and J.C. are typical of this boat type and are primarily involved in shrimping. The stern location of the deck house and sharp sheer line are a direct result of the Mediterranean and Adriatic influence. The blue-green or aqua hull trim visible on the Sea Wind is a direct carry over from the traditional Croatian fishing boats that worked off the Dalmatian Coast in the Adriatic.