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Wooden Lugger; 40-50 ft

Built by George Ross, Jr. – Heron Bay/Dauphin Island, AL (circa 1870)

The ORA MAE was the first of several boats built by George Ross, Jr. in his lifetime. However, she earned her spot in the Heritage Hall of Fame for her role in establishing a legacy in Mississippi’s seafood industry.

After immigrating to the United States from France, George Ross, Jr. set down his roots in Alabama. He built the ORA MAE in his own yard and put her to work harvesting oysters to support his growing family. About the time the seafood industry was growing by leaps and bounds, the coast was impacted by two hurricanes, so the Ross family navigated between Biloxi and Bayou le Batre in search of work. In 1896, the ORA MAE brought her family on their voyage “home” to Biloxi. This began the Ross legacy which includes many influential members of the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s Seafood Industry and several members of Royalty in the Shrimp and Seafood Festivals, including eight generations of fishermen and seven kings/queens.

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