Bayou La Batre (/ˌbaɪ.oʊ lə ˈbætri/ or local /ˌbaɪlə ˈbætri/) is a town inMobile County, Alabama, United States. It is included in the Mobilemetropolitan statistical area. At the 2000 census, the population was 2,313. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2,558.
Bayou La Batre is a fishing village with a seafood-processing harbor forfishing boats and shrimp boats. The local Chamber of Commerce has described the city as the "Seafood Capital of Alabama" for packaging seafood from hundreds of fishing boats.
Bayou La Batre was the first permanent settlement on the south Mobile County mainland and was founded in 1786, when French-born Joseph Bouzage (Bosarge) [1733-1795] was awarded a 1,259-acre (509 ha) Spanish land grant on the West Bank of the bayou (see history below). The modern City of Bayou La Batre was incorporated in 1955.
Bayou La Batre was featured in the 1994 film Forrest Gump and the book upon which it is based. In April 2005, Disney Studios launched a secretly built pirate ship, the Black Pearl, out of Bayou La Batre for filming sequels toPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Bayou La Batre's seafood industry also serves as a centerpiece for the History channel'sreality documentary series Big Shrimpin'.
On August 29, 2005, the area was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, which produced the largest storm surge ever recorded in the area, reaching nearly 16 ft (5 m) and pushing many shrimp boats and the cargo ship M/V Caribbean Clipper onto shore.
People from all over the world including the United States, South America, and Africa have boats built in Bayou La Batre frequently. In 2005, Steiner Ship Yard was asked by Walt Disney Studios to build a pirate ship, the Black Pearl; the pitch-black ship was actually a huge wooden prop built on top of a modern 96-foot-long steel utility boat. Crews sailed the ship out of the bayou to the Caribbean for the filming of sequels to Disney's 2003 film "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl".
Bayou La Batre is served by the Mobile County Public School System. The city has Booth (formerly Alba) Elementary School Alba Middle School, and Secondary public school Alma Bryant High in Irvington, where all the high school students attend. Additionally, a small number of city residents' children would attend Dixon Elementary in Irvington. Bryant High School also encompasses students from outside the Bayou La Batre-Coden area from neighboring Grand Bay, Alabama, Irvington, St. Elmo, Alabama, and Dauphin Island.
Both Alma Bryant and Booth Elementary are located on the northernmost edge of the city. Bryant, built in 1998, slightly delayed by Hurricane Georges, and Booth, built in 2006, delayed by Hurricane Katrina, are located on Hurricane Boulevard. Both schools' students were (in part) located in what is now Alba Middle School further south in Bayou La Batre. Alba High School first combined with Grand Bay High School in 1998 in the newly built, centrally located Alma Bryant High School, located on 16th Section land (land dedicated for school purposes). Alba Middle (which was in great part located in portable classrooms and was a part of the high School campus, as was Grand Bay Middle) took over the high school building, greatly relieving overcrowding. Similarly, the Alba Elementary Campus which shared land with the middle school, while being mostly autonomous, also became part of Alba Middle School. Alba and Grand Bay Middle are the focal point of bus routes for all school buses for Bryant High, those buses shared in grades 6-12 as a cost-saving effort to avoid overlapping routes for the separate schools.
In December 2007, a new library was opened to serve the area's Asian-American community. The library is located on Wintzell Avenue in the Bayou La Batre office of Boat People SOS, a national group that assists Vietnamese-Americans. The Mobile County Commission gave $2,500. The library will be used as a place where elderly immigrants can master computer skills, children can practice their Vietnamese after school, and day laborers can surf the Web after work.