The well-known vendor who sold shrimp from her van on a busy Waveland corner for about 10 years is now serving customers on the same corner but inside a new seafood market that bears her name.
It’s been a dream of Ly Le’s to have her own store, and on Aug. 2 she finally opened her market. Her daughter said she worked hard inside the cramped van and had a couple of frightening experiences, including being attacked with a knife.
“She always wanted a storefront and has been saving up for many years, selling shrimp out of the van,” said daughter Kim Le. “Because of the two robberies, it pushed her to work even harder and get her storefront.”
Regular customers of Ly’s are slowly discovering the new store at the corner of U.S. 90 and McLaurin Street, but some are still looking for that old familiar van. “Her regulars will come into the store but others take off if they don’t see the van,” Kim Le said laughingly.
The new store is the first tenant in the new building and Ly has plenty of room to expand her offerings, not to mention shelter her from the heat, rain and cold. Atop the long counter, fresh seafood from the Gulf is on display alongside fat Pacific salmon that Le gets from a local wholesaler. The fresh shrimp and soft-shell crabs, cooked crab claws and chunky claw meat are covered in ice to keep it as fresh as possible. At the end of the counter, live blue crabs are kept in a crate covered with a damp sack.
Freezers in one corner hold various fish, crabs, crawfish, tuna and scallops. Along one wall are shelves of seasonings, spices, condiments, cooking oil and whatever else customers need to cook a seafood meal. A painting by a customer of Ly weighing shrimp in the old van sits behind the cash register.
“A lot of people in Waveland and Bay St. Louis know my mother on that particular corner,” said Kim Le. “After Katrina, she found her corner and that’s where she’s been ever since.”
Ly Le’s Seafood Market, located at 301 U.S. 90 Suite 1 in Waveland, is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The telephone number is (228) 344-3608.