Bayou La Batre is a small village in Mobile County, Alabama. Dubbed as the Seafood Capital of Alabama, the town’s progressive fishing industry has netted $80-100 million a year in revenue. Moreover, it is also famous for its shipbuilding yards. With the combination of quaint Southern culture and brisk modernization, not to mention its location along the central Gulf Coast, Bayou La Batre offers coastal living like no other. No wonder the town is featured in the novel and movie Forrest Gump, and a ship featured in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies was built there.
The town was established as a French settlement in 1786 by Joseph Bosarge and its name means “bayou of the battery” due to artillery installed on the bayou’s west bank. Ever since its establishment, fishing has always been the way of life there, and its significance is celebrated is celebrated in events such as “Blessing of the Fleet” and the “Miss Seafood Contest”.
It was also a resort town from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s due to the Bay Shore Railroad, and its medicinal spring water was spoken of in historical lore. Storms have wrecked this town several times, including Hurricane Katrina; but the people, almost 3,000 strong (according to the 2005 census), never gave up.
Another reason for the town’s nickname is the proliferation of seafood processing plants. Catches from other states and even other countries are processed in Bayou La Batre, and with the plants’ high standards, seafood is made more valuable.