A Terrebonne shrimp story

Part 6: The Four Daughters


In the late 1970's I was making good, shrimping with the Captain Atlas in the summer and fall, fur trapping in the winter and farming in the spring. In the winter of 1977 Gerald Mazerac approached me and presented me with a proposal to build two identical 62 ft. steel hulls on the side of Bayou Terrebonne in front of my house, one for him and one for me. Gerald was the brother of Larence Mazerac who owned a shipyard called Main Iron Works in Bayou Blue in Terrebonne Parish; Gerald was the vice President of Main Iron Works and for most of his life had been involved with construction of steel vessels. The deal was that I furnish the land for the project and he would furnish the know how, we would each buy the material for our respective boats. We both did what we could to help the construction along. I had an old wench truck with a gin pole and a tractor with a front end loader. He borrowed some welding and sand blasting equipment from the iron works.

Gerald had a son Darrel and a son-in-law Richard Vissa. One week-end we would fit the metal on one boat the next week-end we would fit the material in the other boat. Between week-ends I would weld on my boat from the break of day until after dark and Darrel, Richard and Gerald would come after work and weld on theirs; I worked 7 days a week 10 to 12 hours a day for 13 months, even 1/2 a day on Christmas until the boat was finished.


By the time I was able to go shrimping I was too tired to really do much the first few months. I christened the boat the Four Daughters after my four daughters. It held 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 1500 gallons of fresh water. The captain Atlas held 300 gallons of diesel and 50 gallons of fresh water. I had saved enough money with the Captain Atlas to buy the material and I didn't have much debt. I owed Pitres Hardware about $15,000.00 but I had to have a crew and liability insurance. Although the Four Daughters caught 10 times more shrimp than the Captain Atlas it cost me 10 times more to maintain and operate.
The steel hulls Part 5 Part 7 Over capitalization