Bayou La Batre, AL – Bayou La Batre celebrated its 55th annual Blessing of the Fleet Sunday. Dozens of decorated shrimp boats participated. The event marks the beginning of the shrimp season on the Gulf Coast. A wreath was dropped into the water to honor the 24 fishermen who have died while shrimping. Afterward, the shrimp boats, charter vessels and marine patrol boats received blessings and a sprinkling of holy water from Oscar Lipscomb, Archbishop of Mobile. "Forest Gump" author Winston Groom was the parade's grand marshal. His Gump character spent some time working on a shrimp boat based in Bayou La Batre.