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Oral Histories - Houston History Project

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Finding Aid/Inventory

African American Studies

Arts

Business

Culture

Disaster Response and Recovery

Education

Energy Development

Environmental Issues

Galveston (Tex.) History

Houston (Tex.) History

Immigration

Law

Medicine

Mexican American Studies

Native American Studies

Philanthropy

Politics

Religion

LGBTQ People

Sports

University Of Houston

Women's History



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Oral Histories - Houston History Project, 1996- | University of Houston Libraries

By Reddy Guntaka, Tanmay Wagh, Madhuri Keshavarao, Tai Luong

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Collection Overview

Title: Oral Histories - Houston History Project, 1996-View associated digital content.

ID: 07/2006-005

Primary Creator: Houston History Project

Extent: 25.0 Linear Feet

Arrangement:

Oral histories are arranged numerically. Identifers include the Houston History Archives (HHA) number, interviewee's name, and subject module. Interviews consist of typewritten transcripts and audio interviews, presently available for reading and listening in the Special Collections Department of M.D. Anderson Library.

All formats for an interview are shelved by number in appropriate storage boxes.  Transcripts (typed pages) are housed in record cartons, audiotapes and CDs are housed in specialty boxes.  Each format includes sequential numbers appropirate  boxes. Because boxes and formats are configured differently, Box 1 in one format does not hold the same set of interview numbers as Box 1 in another format. However, searching for a specific interview number across formats will  produce all available interivew materials for that interviewee.

Date Acquired: 00/00/2005

Subjects: African-American studies, Arts, Business, Culture, Disaster response and recovery, Emigration and immigration, Energy development, Environmental issues, Medicine, Mexican Americans - Study and teaching, Native American studies, Religion, Sports, Women’s history

Forms of Material: Audiocassettes, Compact discs, Interviews, Sound recordings, Transcripts

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

When UH’s Center for Public History and the University Libraries collaborated to create the Houston History Archives (UH-HHA), part of their mission included a repository for oral histories that tell stories of the growth and development of the Gulf Coast region from multiple points of view.  To that end, the Houston Oral History Project in the Center for Public History trains history graduate students to research and interview Houstonians with recollections of the city’s civil rights, women’s, cultural, political, or medical past.  In furtherance of the mission, the UH Oral History Project entered into a collaboration with the City of Houston that will bring to the UH repository interviews of one hundred of Houston’s leaders from all walks of life.  Another large collection headed for the repository is the Offshore Energy Oral History Project, a collaboration among several UH professors and other universities to document  the growth of the oil refining industry along the Gulf Coast before and after World War II.  Topics available include interviews with Katrina emergency responders in Houston, a series of interviews with African American (black) generals, interviews with members of Houston's Indo-Asian population, and interviews from the Afro-American Physicians project, as well as a number of other topics.

Related Materials:

Oral Histories from the Houston History Project digital collection (http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory)

Biographical Note

Joseph Pratt, Ph.D., in the UH Center for Public History, established the Houston History Project to expand and improve the research done on Houston and to serve as a learning laboratory for public history students.  Professor Pratt recognized the appropriateness of a publication supported by both  a research component and a repository for archival collections and oral histories to accomplish these goals.  All three elements – Houston History magazine, the UH Oral History Program, and the Houston History Archives -- reinforce one another and add to our understanding of Houston’s history by recording, reporting, and preserving the narrative of Houston’s past.  Together, the Houston History Project’s three components contribute to the University of Houston’s mission and realize the university’s strategic initiatives.

Subject/Index Terms

African-American studies
Arts
Business
Culture
Disaster response and recovery
Emigration and immigration
Energy development
Environmental issues
Medicine
Mexican Americans - Study and teaching
Native American studies
Religion
Sports
Women’s history

Administrative Information

Repository: University of Houston Libraries

Access Restrictions: Open for research.

Use Restrictions:

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electric form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

Photocopy decisions will be made by Special Collection staff on a case-by-case basis. Patrons are responsible for obtaining permission to publish from copyrights holders.

Related Materials: Oral Histories from the Houston History Project digital collection For more information please see http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory.

Preferred Citation: Oral Histories-Houston History Project. Courtesy of Special Collection, University of Houston Libraries.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: African American Studies],
[Series 2: Arts],
[Series 3: Business],
[Series 4: Culture],
[Series 5: Disaster Response and Recovery],
[Series 6: Education],
[Series 7: Energy Development],
[Series 8: Environmental Issues],
[Series 9: Galveston (Tex.) History],
[Series 10: Houston (Tex.) History],
[Series 11: Immigration],
[Series 12: Law],
[Series 13: Medicine],
[Series 14: Mexican American Studies],
[Series 15: Native American Studies],
[Series 16: Philanthropy],
[Series 17: Politics],
[Series 18: Religion],
[Series 19: LGBTQ People],
[Series 20: Sports],
[Series 21: University Of Houston],
[Series 22: Women's History],
[All]

Series 7: Energy Development
Box 1
Item 1: 00001_Aalund, Niels_MMS-ShipChannel (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Houston, TX

Affiliation:  University of Houston/History International

Niels Aalund is a native Houstonian. He graduated from the University of Houston and worked in D.C. as a martime lobbyist before taking a job with the West Gulf Maritime Association, where he currently serves as Vice President of the Maritime Affairs. He also serves on the Houston Maritime Museum Committee.

Item 2: 00002_Acosta, Robert_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Bobby Acosta was contacted though Diana Edmonson of the Council on Aging.  We met at the Council offices in Houma.

Bobby worked mostly in the Houma District for his 40 year career with Texaco.  He started as a kitchen hand in 1948 (Dog Lake, Bay Ste. Elaine, Lake Barre).  At 21, he became a roustabout (1951).  In 1955 he became a pumper, working up through meterman to production supervisor at Lake Barre.  He shifted fields regularly within the Houma District, including a stint in the Houma office.  He was offshore for about six months.  He finished up with four years as production supervisor at Caillou Island until retirement in 1987.

Item 3: 00003_Adams, B.A. "Red"_MMS-History (2002,2004)

Interviewer(s): Andrew Gardner; Jamie Christy

Affiliation: University of Arizona, University of Houston/History International

Red Adams is well known in and around Morgan City. He runs a company called Oil and Gas Rentals, and this company is one of the larger employers in town. He was quite willing to talk with me. Red has an office in his business complex in Amelia, alongside the bayou. We met there and talked for just under an hour.  Red reviews some of what he perceives as the keys to managing a successful business in the oilpatch, as well as some of the ways that businesses can be good participants in community life. Red was interviewed by Andrew Gardner in 2002 and then again by Jamie Christy in 2004.

Red Adams was born and raised in Harvey, Louisiana, across the river from New Orleans, in 1933. He joined the Navy and spent five years there. After his discharge he began working in the oilfield as a contract laborer in Bay Marchand for the California Company in 1952. Red worked as a roustabout for 5 years, then roughnecked for a year in Bay Marchand, and worked his way up to gangpusher. He moved to Morgan City to work for Arnold Pipe Rental in 1958.  After six years with Arnold Pipe Rental, Mr. Adams went to work for Drilling Tools, Inc. for three years.  In 1967, Mr. Adams formed Oil and Gas Rental in 1967, which he still owns and operates.  Oil and Gas Rentals grew from a handful of employees to 95 employees in 2002.

Item 4: 00004_Adkins, Gerald_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Kerry St. Pé had referred us to Gerald Adkins as one who knew a lot of the commercial fishermen in the area. I had called him several times in September 2001, but his "on-call" job forced him to cancel a couple of appointments: he drives vehicles around to car lots all over the region. He retired in 1997, and rather than return to his native Shreveport, he built a house in a new subdivision behind the shopping mall in Houma. His wife, Jane, a nurse, was home but did not participate in the interview. The interview ranged across a number of topics dealing with W&F data collection and management, environmental changes and fluctuations, local entrepreneurs, and the differing propensities of shrimpers and oystermen to interact with the oil industry. He agreed with an impression I had been formulating: because of the greater degree of variability/volatility in shrimping (i.e., year-to-year changes in catches due to environmental factors), compared to the relatively steady nature of oyster harvests (function largely of how diligently an oysterman cared for his reefs/leases), shrimpers were more aggressive than oystermen in trying to find niches in the oil industry as it developed.

Item 5: 00005_Ainger, Ralph_MMS-History (2002) - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Herndon, VA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mr. Ralph Ainger grew up on Long Island, NY.  A marine biologist by training, he was hired in 1976, around the time of the first Mid-Atlantic offshore lease sale, by the Bureau of Land Management as an oceanographer.  After a few years in the New York office, he moved to Washington to work in the environmental policy group, and in the early 1980s took over as regional supervisor for leasing and environment in the Atlantic region, formed with the creation of the MMS.  In the early 1990s, he went to work for the associate director of the MMS, working on updating the data management system.  In 1996 (?) he became the chief of the leasing division, and in 2001 he moved on to become chief of the international marine minerals division.

Item 6: 00006_Albert, Vernon_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. Vernon Albert was born in Pennsylvania and grew up an "Army brat." He studied business at San Antonio College before joining the Army, where he went to flight school and spent two years in Vietnam. Upon leaving the military in 1967, he went to work for Petroleum Helicopters Incorporated (PHI), where he stayed until he retired in 1994. The first six years he worked for PHI, he lived in Lake Charles and worked in Cameron, but then moved to Lafayette when he took a job in the company's training department. In 1982, he became vice president and chief pilot. He currently works as an air safety investigator and consultant.

Item 7: 00007_Andrus, Nedra_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Nedra Andrus is the wife of Lafayette realtor Dwight Andrus. She was born in Merryville, but lived in a number of different towns in southern Louisiana while she was growing up. Her father was a manager for Morgan-Lindsay stores (a five-and-ten cent chain store). She moved to Lafayette when she was in the third grade and studied music at Southwestern Louisiana Institute (SLI) and Loyola. She describes the growth and changes in Lafayette related to the influx of oil-related business.

Item 8: 00008_Angel, Tom_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Joe Sanford referred me to Tom Angel. Tom was one of the first employees hired by Sanford Brothers in Morgan City.  I met Tom at his office at Submar in Houma. He had an hour and a half for the first interview. During the interview he told me about scrapbooks his wife had put together from his early days in diving, and we agreed to get together again to look through his books.

Tom first moved to South Louisiana from Pittsburgh in 1961. He began working with Sanford Brothers in 1962 and retired from diving in 1988.  He stayed with Sanford Brothers, which was renamed Sanford Marine, when it was bought by Westinghouse, then by Fleur, and then by Santa Fe Engineering. Among his contributions to oilfield diving, Tom helped develop underwater photography and was a founding member of the Association for Diving Contractors.  After leaving diving, he became president of Submar, an oilfield service company.

Item 9: 00009_Applebaum, Bruce S_MMS-History (2002) - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Bruce Applebaum retired from Texaco following its merger with Chevron.  He had been vice president of Texaco and president of the company's Worldwide Exploration and New Ventures.  Prior to joining Texaco in 1990, Applebaum had held positions for several independent oil and gas companies, including exploration manager with Sun Oil and Texas Eastern, domestic exploration manager for SEDCO Energy, and division exploration manager for Union Pacific Resources.  He was born in Buffalo, NY in 1947 and received a B.A. in geology from SUNY-Buffalo and a doctorate in geological oceanography from Texas A&M.

Item 10: 00010_Arcenaux, Cleejus "Click" and Betty_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Bourg, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

The interview with Click was a long time in the making.  F.J. Matherne and I had become friends since my interview with him in July of 2001.  Since that time, he had been wanting me to contact his good friend, Click Arcenaux.  I tried for 3 months and had all but given up when F.J. said he'd call for me.  Click and his wife, Betty, were happy to be interviewed, and were apologetic that it had taken so long to arrange the meeting.

Click became involved in the oil industry in 1948.  He had gone to school after getting out of the military with the hopes of getting a degree in geology.  He spent a year at LSU and then decided to come home.  He worked for Halliburton from 1948-1951.  In 1951, he got a job at Texaco as a roughneck.  He worked the majority of his years out at Lake Pelto.  He was a derrick man on the night shift for 13 years before moving to push tools for 18 years.  He was promoted to field superintendent in the late 70's.  He retired in 1984 and has enjoyed farming his land and fishing.

Item 11: 00011_Armstrong, Earl_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Boothville, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Bud Latham and Sam Pizzolato both recommended Earl Armstrong, a cattleman born in 1944 down at Pilot Town, now living in Boothville. I hooked up with Earl at the Fill-A-Sack convenience store in Boothville, as arranged, and we went next door to the house his father keeps when he's not down in Pilot Town. Earl himself owns a house, barn, and pasture across the highway. Dressed in cowboy hat and boots, Earl looked the part. He was articulate about environmental deterioration in the delta.

Earl Armstrong was born in 1944 in Pilot Town, and now lives in Boothville. He is a cattleman and runs 1,200 head on a dozen islands his family owns. His father and grandfather grew up at Pilot Town, as trappers, fishermen, and tenders of the Coast Guard's navigation lights along the channels. He and three partners bought four crewboats and a 160' supply boat in the 1980's, and "lost money for seven years" before selling the boats, two to Chevron and two to buyers in Venezuela.

Item 12: 00012_Arnold, Ken E_MMS-History (2004) - Audio Only

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Ken Arnold worked for Shell Oil Company from the 1960's to the 1980's.  He is now CEO of Paragon Engineering Services in Houston.  Arnold got into the oil field in 1964.  He graduated from Cornell with a degree in civil engineering and went to work for Shell in New Orleans.  From there, he was transferred to the head office in New York City where he worked in the production department.  He also worked a year in head office transportation and supplies and another year in manufacturing / engineering (refinery work).  He was transferred back to New Orleans as section supervisor of mechanical engineering in the Delta Division.  In 1971, Arnold moved to offshore operations as a section leader and division mechanical engineer.  Four years later, he transferred to Bellaire Research Center as the manager of the production operations research department.  Arnold spent his last couple of years with Shell as engineering manager of the mid-Continent production division (west Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Michigan).  After leaving Shell, he opened Paragon with a partner.

J. Frank Davis went to work for Shell in 1958.  He grew up in the oil fields and got a degree in electrical engineering from Texas Tech.  His first job was with W. A. Bill Farmer Construction in 1943.  Over the years, he worked on drilling rigs, pulling units, and doing construction and roustabout work.  He was in the Houston area gas department as plant engineer, project manager building gas trading plants, gas liquid recovery plants, compression plants, and gathering systems.  He was construction inspector and first plant engineer at Shell's first sour gas operation in the United States.

Item 13: 00013_Aucoin, Leonard_MMS-History (2004) - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. Christy. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Leonard Aucoin was born in Little Bayou Long, Louisiana in 1927 as the son of a fisherman / shrimper.  Mr. Aucoin worked on a dredge boat, as a dishwasher on a houseboat, as a deckhand, and then as an oiler.  He went to work for Sun Oil in 1946 at age 19.  Mr. Aucoin was most often working with seismic crews and he traveled with them all over Texas and Louisiana.  He also worked for Geotech and Apache Oil for very brief periods and took a job with Band Marine of Berwick in order to return to his home near Morgan City.  On his off days, he drove a cab.  Mr. Aucoin was adept at operating boats and convinced Band Marine to promote him to captain.  He retired with Tidewater Marine in 2000.

Item 14: 00014_Ayers, Buddy_MMS-History (2002,2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin, New Orleans, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Buddy Ayers by Leslie Learney of the Historic Diving Society (HDS). I was talking with Leslie at the HDS booth at the Underwater Intervention conference, and he suggested that Buddy would be a good person to talk to about the history of diving offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Buddy was also at the conference, and when he came over to the booth Leslie introduced us. We went and sat at a table in an area designated for Latin American contacts and chatted. Buddy introduced me to a couple of other people who came over and gave me the names of a number of people he thought would be good contacts. We arranged to meet again at the conference two days later for an interview. We connected up at the HDS booth late Saturday morning and walked to a nearby restaurant to have lunch and talk. The restaurant was almost empty and Buddy indicated that we wanted to be left alone, so almost no one came by. Buddy talked for a couple of hours and then we had lunch and went back to the conference before it ended. Buddy told me about the divers' reunion that was taking place the following Sunday and invited me to go along. I flew back early from Atlanta on a standby flight and rode with him out to the reunion. We picked up another diver, Jerry, on the way out. Buddy and Jerry talked all the way out and back. At the reunion I spent most of the time meeting other divers. I returned in 2003 to complete the interview.

Buddy began diving in Texas when he taught himself to scuba dive as a young teenager. He started working offshore in 1961. During the 1970s, Buddy became the secretary for the newly formed divers' union. As a result of his union activity, he was blackballed in the Gulf of Mexico and ended up spending four years in the North Sea. He stayed there until the contracts ran out and he went to work in Mexico.  He returned to the Gulf in the 1990's as an independent contractor.

Item 15: 00015_Babin, Eddie and Marie_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I first met Eddie at the Halliburton Retirees' Breakfast in Houma. I met Eddie and his wife, Marie, at their house for the interview. Marie had some things to say about being on her own while Eddie was offshore. Our second discussion also covered the activities involved in drilling, and the situation for women onshore.  After retiring at age 50, Eddie served as a truck-driving instructor.

Eddie Babin's father was an oyster shucker.  Eddie started as a cement truck driver, beginning in 1956.  His job gave him experience in cementing, which he later applied to oilfield drilling.  In 1958, he went into the service, spending 13 months in Korea.  He worked offshore on a drilling rig for awhile. His truck was often loaded onto a barge and carried to the rigs.

Item 16: 00016_Babin, Martial_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Galliano, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

After my interview with Butch Renois, Butch went over to visit with Martial Babin, an 80-year old Chevron retiree who lives on the east side of the bayou. Butch called me at the motel to say that Mr. Babin had agreed to talk to me. Mr. Babin was Butch Renois' former boss for part of their time with the Chevron operation out of Leeville. Martial's second wife passed away in 2001; at one point in the interview, he pointed to a huge mounted fish on the wall and talked about how she, not he, would always catch the big ones.

Martial Babin grew up in Lake Charles and did metalwork in Texas during World War II. He began working for Chevron in 1947 and worked eight years on drilling rigs. He later did engineering work and advanced to drilling foreman where he trained new engineers coming into the business. He retired from Chevron in 1980 at the age of 59 and built a fishing camp to enjoy with his wife.

Item 19: 00019_Bailey, Bill and Lee, Griff_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(S): T. Priest. Dallas, TX

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Milo Backus is largely credited with being the father of 3-D seismology.  Longtime head of research at Geophysical Services, Inc., he masterminded the creation and application of many digital signal processing techniques in the 1950s.  He developed the concepts behind deconvolution in the changeover to digital technology, and led the development and promotion of the practical application of 3-D methods to exploration and production in the 1960s.  He is currently a geophysical consultant and Dave P. Carlton Centennial Professor of Geophysics at University of Texas-Austin.  He lives in Dallas.

Item 20: 00020_Bailey, P.T._MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

P.T. is Dub Noble's brother-in-law. He owns Bailey's Basin Seafood in Morgan City. It was brought to my attention that P.T. had been interviewed for the previous project, mainly about his business and the regulations that were affecting small business owners in the area during the 1980's. I had Tom McGuire look at the previous interview to pick out topics I needed to discuss further. My interview focuses exclusively on his time in the oil industry and the impetus behind his move to owning his own business. We met in his at the bait shop where three young to middle-aged men, one of them being his son, were sorting large crates of crabs. We went upstairs to his office for the interview. His shop is located on Front Street in Morgan City. He appeared willing to talk with me, but it was apparent that he was extremely busy as well as the phone rang several times during the interview. Prior to the interview I had not known that he spent 15 years overseas in Malaysia and Singapore. He talks some about what it was like and the differences between working overseas and working here. We then move into a discussion about what prompted his decision to quit the oil field and start his own business.

P.T. Bailey was born in Morgan City in 1927.  He worked as a shrimp trawler for 20 years, joined the Navy and then shrimped again after getting out of the service.  His neighbor got him a job at Tidewater in 1966, and he started out as a deckhand. He quickly became captain after a couple of weeks on the job. After five or six years, the company moved him to Venice to be a Port Engineer. After four years, he became Marine Super for Offshore Logistics. He stayed with Logistics as a Manager until 1983, when Logistics sold all of its boats and got out of all aspects of the oil business except for helicopters.  P.T. decided to go into the seafood business with his son.

Item 21: 00021_Baker, Jim_MMS-ShipChannel (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Jim Baker is a retired Houston port captain for Lykes Brothers. A native of West Virginia, Baker is a graduate of King's Point U.S. Merchant Academy (1949). As a cadet, he traveled throughout the Caribbean and West Indies aboard ship for several years before landing a job with Lykes Brothers. His career with the steamship line spans nearly three decades. His positions included: port captain, marine division manager, and assistant vice-president of the traffic department. He also served as chairman for the Port Safety and Advisory Council, and also served on the West Gulf Maritime Association. Capt. Baker has been involved in nearly every aspect of the Port of Houston, including environment and safety regulations, dredging, pipelines, Houston Pilots and Coast Guard.

Item 22: 00022_Bankston, Gene_MMS-History (1999) - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Gene Bankston grew up in Southeast Oklahoma.  After serving in World War II as a B-17 gunner he studied petroleum engineering at the University of Oklahoma, earning his degree in 1949.  He began working for Shell that same year and quickly rose through Shell's ranks.  He worked towards economically evaluating prospects in order to maximize profits for the company.  After  working in New York in 1957, Shell assigned him to the Hague to better understand the "big picture" at the company. Between 1957 and 1963 he worked in various capacities for the company including division exploitation engineer for Southwest Louisiana and assistant to Shell's manager of exploitation in New York.  He was the key liaison between development and E&P for Shell.  He became manager of the economics department in 1964, and in 1965 he worked in London as head of the North American Division for Shell International Petroleum.  In 1966 he became the Vice President of E&P for the Houston area.  He served in that capacity for 6 years until becoming Production VP.  He worked in that position until his retirement in 1980.

Item 23: 00023_Barret, "Herb" Hebert_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

We met Herb Barrett when Diane, Tom, and I attended a breakfast meeting of the Halliburton retiree's club in Houma. Herb was born in Duncan, Oklahoma in 1928. He graduated from high school in 1946 and went to the University of Oklahoma to study petroleum engineering. He left after two years to take a job with Halliburton working in the machine shop and as a cement truck driver. He was transferred to Harvey in 1949 and asked to be placed on the boats because the schedule allowed for some days off so that he could visit his family in Duncan, Oklahoma.  In 1951, he went to work on the pump trucks in Harvey and transferred back to Houma in 1952.  After serving some time in the army, he went back to work for Halliburton where he worked as a diesel mechanic until 1971.  He quit Halliburton in 1971 because of circumstances around the Shell platform fire, and after going to school to study mechanics, he spent the last 13-14 years of his career working for Duplantis Trucking

Item 24: 00024_Barrilleaux, Julie_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Amelia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Julie Barrilleaux in 1999 when I interviewed her boss, Earl King, Jr., as part of the study of the impacts of the offshore oil and gas industry on individuals and families in southern Louisiana. I returned to visit Earl in 2001 as part of the offshore history study and spent some time talking with Julie as well. When I began looking specifically for women who were involved in the industry, I asked Julie if she would be willing to be interviewed, and she consented. I contacted her on several trips, but we had a hard time coordinating our schedules. We finally met in July at her office.

Julie Prestenbach Barilleaux was born and raised in Morgan City, Louisiana. When she graduated from high school in 1977, her parents could not afford to send her to college, so she began looking for a job. At the employment office, she learned that King Trucking was looking for help, so she applied for the job. She was hired and has been with the company since then. She has enjoyed working for a smaller company where she has many different responsibilities and has earned enough to raise her son. In 1996, while still working for Earl King, Jr., Julie returned to college; she was awarded her baccalaureate degree in 2001

Item 27: 00027_Basset, Aubrey_MMS-History (2003) - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]
Item 28: 00028_Belanger, Roland_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Montegut, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona.

Roland Belanger was recommended by his son, Kevin, who is chief executive officer of the South Central Planning and Development Commission, the regional planning agency.  Roland and his wife still live in Montegut in a house which was menaced by the hurricane floods of September.  They are long term residents of Montegut.  Roland is one of the Montegut residents who worked for Texaco his entire career of 37 years.  Marie, Roland's wife, participated as well as his son, Barry, who owns a fleet of offshore service boats.

Roland Belanger is one of a number of natives of Montegut who went to work for the Texas Company and stayed with them for his entire career.  His father owned a boat, and was hired by Texaco in the 1930's as crew boat captain.  After serving in the Marines in World War II, Roland began working in the Texas Company shipyard in 1946.  Within a few months, he transferred to Bay Ste. Elaine as a roustabout.  In 1953 he was transferred to Garden Island.  By 1960 he was a driller on the Terrebonne Bay, making toolpusher in 1963.  In 1968, after an injury, he was assigned to a cost study team to evaluate costs of drilling.  Returning to toolpushing in 1972, he worked in Mississippi and Florida, finishing his career as rig superintendent in 1983.  Of his four sons, one works overseas on offshore rigs and one owns a small offshore service boat company.

Item 29: 00029_Bellanger, Arthur_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Grand Isle, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Arthur Bellanger, referred to me by Jean Landry, was born and raised in Lockport, and visited Grand Isle while his father, a carpenter, was building camps. After school, Arthur took a job with Louisiana Power and Light, and for 11 years was responsible for electrical work from Leeville to Fourchon to Grand Isle. He then took a job with Conoco, getting tired of being on call 24 hours a day for the power company. He worked for 17 years on the base, operating the separation process, then was sent offshore his last 3 years to oversee the gathering system on "43 Double A," Conoco's primary platform. He retired at age 55, having met the company's requirement of age plus 20 years totaling to 75. He has been mayor of Grand Isle, prior to David Camerdelle, and was largely responsible for the water pipe from Lafitte to the island.

Item 30: 00030_Benton, Jerry_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Jerry Benton through his sister, Mary Samaha.  I had a brief interview with him in January when I stopped by to talk to Mary, and she called Jerry to come over.  He is the oldest son of Mary's mother and stepfather, Escoe Benton.  Jerry helped to run Benton Casing for many years.  Since selling off his father's business due to the recession of the 80's, he has slowly been saving money and has opened another tool company under a different name.  Jerry and his brother still run this company.

Jerry, born in 1944, began in the oil industry during summers off from high school.  He worked offshore for a contract company and almost died due to the carelessness when a Halliburton truck was unloading some pipe.  After he recovered in 1964, he went to work for his father at Benton Casing.  He opened his own business in the mid 90's after the loss of Benton Casing in 1992.

Item 31: 00031_Bergeron, Robert "Bobby"_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Bobby Bergeron is the Parish President of Terrebonne Parish.  As such, he was someone I wanted to interview to gain his perspective on oil and community development.  Other people also recommended him because he also represents something of a success story in oil service business.

Bobby Bergeron worked in the oil fields as a floor hand during summer vacations from high school.  After graduation from high school in 1956, he began working for Heldenbrand Incorporated, a tool service company, rising to president.  When Heldenbrand was sold to Chromalloy American, he was made vice president in charge of the former Heldenbrand, then a division of Chromalloy.  After a rough time, the tool company was later bought by a group of local investors, including himself.  So now he is president and part owner of Surbo-Tubular, which continues the tool joint rebuilding and repair work started by Heldenbrand in the 1950's.  After serving on the Parish Council, he was elected Parish President in 1998.

Item 33: 00033_Bernard, Melvin_MMS-History (2001,2003)

Interviewer(s): Tom McGuire; Diane Austin

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Melvin Bernard is part of the network of Chevron people I got into after first interviewing Butch Renois early on in the project.  Some of the discussion deals with his recollections of the relations between Otto Candies and Humble: Otto could speak French, and thus negotiate land leases for Humble, so Humble gave Otto all of the company's supply/crewboat business. He also passed on some secondhand observations regarding Louisiana Land and Exploration' acquisition of huge tracts of land; the source was Loulan Pitre, Sr.

Gulf Oil drilled its first Southern Louisiana well on Melvin Bernard's grandfather's property, now below the Leeville Bridge.  Melvin started school in Leeville, but the family moved up to Golden Meadow after a hurricane. His father and two uncles worked for Gulf before WWII.  Melvin, now 69, began working for Texaco during high school; then he started with Chevron in 1961 and remained there until his retirement in 1990. In 1969, he was transferred onshore in the company's transportation division.  His responsibilities included procuring supplies, services, and boats for the offshore operations

Item 34: 00034_Besson, Frank "Paco"_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s):  T. McGuire. Grand Isle, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Frank "Peco" Besson was recommend to me by Jean Landry. I called him at his souvenir and bait shop along the highway, and he told me to come over. He was doing some repair work, getting the shop ready for the season.  Most of the first side of the tape is concerned with looking through photos and other materials Peco has at the souvenir shop. The second side has some discussion of oil and gas industry involvement on the island, as well as his observations on efforts made to turn the Tarpon Rodeo into a family affair.

Peco Besson's father was from Grand Isle, and his mother was from Golden Meadow.  "Uncle Nat" Chighizola "adopted" Peco, because he had no children. Nat is the great-great grandson of Nez Coupe, Louis Chighizola, a lieutenant for Jean Lafitte. Peco worked for Grand Isle Shipyard for 25 years, has been a councilman, and expects to run for mayor in the next election.  He got laid off 1990, then worked for Dolphin Services out of Houma for 3-4 years. He and his wife bought the chicken/hamburger place and the souvenir business from his mother and then bought the daiquiri shop across the highway.

Item 35: 00035_Bibe, James_MMS-History (2003) - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Weimar, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mr. James Bibee graduated from University of Tennessee with a degree in Geology in 1950, and immediately went to work for Gulf. After spending a couple of years with another company in Colorado, Gulf hired him again in 1956 to work offshore at their New Orleans office.  He worked on the 1970 and 1972 lease sales at the time when bright spots became an indicator of reserves, and due to his success became head of E/P for Gulf.  Bibee continued his service for Gulf during its merger with Chevron and retired after 34 years.

Item 36: 00036_Billiot, Wenceslaus "Win" Antoine_MMS-History (2005)

Interviewer(s): Betsy Plumb; Joanna Stone. Dulac, LA.

Affiliation: University of Arizona

This interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry. Win was referred to us by Corinne Paulk, and she set up this interview.  Win came with his wife, but she sat across the table and did not participate in the interview. He talks about his service during WWII and also his years as a tugboat captain servicing the offshore industry.

Win Billiot is part Choctaw, part Biloxi-Chitimacha.  He was born in 1926 and grew up on Island St. Charles, working on boats from an early age. He left school after the 5th grade and started working for Delta Farm picking cotton and cutting sugar cane by hand at age 15. From there he moved to Baton Rouge, where he worked in a fish market. He was drafted into the army and served in the South Pacific during WWII and occupied Germany after the war.  Upon his return he got back on boats and eventually became a tugboat captain, working for various service companies until his retirement at age 65.

Item 37: 00037_Billiot, Wilbert_MMS-History (2003) - Audio Only

Interviewer(s): S. Kennedy. Dulac, LA.

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Mr. Wilbert Billiot by Kirby Verret.  Mr. Kirby told me that he thought that Wilbert was one of the first Houma Indian to really move up the chain of command in the oil and gas industry.  When I mentioned this to Mr. Wilbert, he chuckled and said not really.  When I arrived at his house he was wearing an oil-stained tee-shirt, and said that he was getting ready to work on his car.  After the interview, I spent a few minutes with him trying to troubleshoot the problem.  He had pulled out a lot of components to get to the water pump, and then he discovered that that was not the problem.  It looked like he had a lot of work ahead of him, and I wished him luck.

Wilbert Billiot is a fifty-five year old Houma Indian who has lived in Dulac, LA all of his life.  He received a bachelor's degree from the University of New Orleans in petroleum services and petroleum technology.  He worked for Unocal Corporation for twenty-seven years as a pumper, and traveled all over the Gulf of Mexico working in the oil field.

Item 39: 00039_Blackburn, Charlie_MMS-History (1999) - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Dallas, TX.

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mr. Charlie Blackburn had a long career with Shell begining in 1952 after he graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.S. in engineering physics.  He became Chief Petroleum Engineer for Houston E/P area in 1964.  In 1966 he served as Budget Coordinator for Shell E/P and later became Southwestern Production Division Manager.  In 1968 he became General Manager for the Onshore E/P division, and in 1970 he was promoted to VP of the Southern E/P region.  In 1974 he became VP for Transportation and supplies, and in 1976 named Executive VP.  Shell selected Blacburn as director and President of Shell Energy Resources in 1982 where he served until his retirement in 1986.

Item 40: 00040_Blanchard, Acklin_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Acklin Blanchard was recommended by Diana Edmonson, and is one of the people from Montegut who went to work for Texaco.  He and his wife met me in his new home.

Acklin Blanchard started work with Texaco in 1947 at the shipyard and warehouse in Montegut, loading supplies, cement and pipes, for $.87 per hour with an extra ten cents for overtime.  In 1949 he started in field production, starting as a roustabout.  After two years he was promoted to night pumper at Caillou Island, where he stayed for 30 years.  In 1953 he was promoted to meterman, then "head roustabout."  In 1972 he was named Production Foreman.  After that he was "shuffled around" to Bay Ste. Elaine and Lake Barre, ending up in Golden Meadow when he retired in 1983.

Item 41: 00041_Blanchard, Melvin_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I received Melvin's name from Herman LeBlanc. Melvin worked for several different contract companies during his time with the oil field.  Melvin talks about his oil experiences with much interest. He seems glad to be out of it, but is also thankful to the oil industry for providing him with work. His last comment was very telling. He said, "Well the oil industry hasn't changed one bit.  My nephew was laid off this morning from Weatherford."

Melvin Blanchard was born in 1930.  His father was a afarmer, and Melvin began in 1949 working for a contract company as a roustabout. He worked onshore and offshore on rigs and ws involved in drilling and pushing tools.  He held jobs with 7 different companies, changing jobs in response to layoffs and insearch of better working conditions.

Item 42: 00042_Blum, Rosalie_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Morgan City, LA.

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Rosalie Blum was referred to me by Steve Shirley. She is a lifelong resident of Morgan City, and Steve suggested she would be able to talk about the oil and gas industry and its impacts on the community. Rosalie was hesitant as she felt that she did not know much about the oil and gas industry, but after we talked for a while she agreed to be interviewed. As a native of Morgan City, Rosalie offers a valuable look at Morgan City before the oil and gas industry arrived and then talks about life in the community.

Rosalie Blum was born and raised in Morgan City. She and her four sisters and two brothers grew up on Railroad Avenue with her grandfather, Pieto Guarisco, her grandmother, parents, uncles, and one unmarried aunt. Her family was one of several Italian families that, along with black families, lived "across the tracks." Rosalie's father worked on the farm and in the family bakery and later bought a bar and pool room and an ice cream store. Her uncle, Victor, had a crab factory and a bulk plant and later built Twenty Grand, a boat company that serviced the offshore oil and gas industry. Rosalie's husband, Milford, worked at the bulk plant and other jobs around town. He died when their fifth child was only a year old, and in 1961 Rosalie began working as a schoolteacher, a job she held until she retired.

Item 43: 00043_Bollinger, Charlotte_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Lockport, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

In addition to her position at Bollinger's, Charlotte is active in various community organizations. I interviewed her when I was investigating educational issues in southern Louisiana for the baseline study we conducted in 1997. When I called her to ask if she would be willing to do an oral history interview, she invited me to come over within the hour. I met her in her office and we talked for a while and then went to her house for lunch.

Charlotte Bollinger is the Executive Vice President of Bollinger's Shipyards, located on Bayou Lafourche. Bollinger's was started in 1946 when Charlotte's father, Donald, was willed $10,000 by the owner of the company for which he and his father had been working. Donald moved his family to Bayou Lafourche in 1960, and Charlotte grew up in the shipyard. She married and raised three children and then went to work for the company in 1984. Since its inception, the shipyard has been involved in building vessels for the offshore oil and gas industry. In the 1980s the company began building patrol boats and has built the entire fleets of both the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy.

Item 44: 00044_Bonnette, Adrian_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA.

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Bob Bonnette is another person identified by Diana Edmonson of the Houma Council on Aging.  He and his wife live in a newer part of Houma, not far from the Civic Center and YMCA.  He has a good retirement package, and has been able to be active in community politics.  While he doesn't regret the work, he is very aware of the "fast and loose" accounting of the oil fields.

Adrian (Bob) Bonnette began work in the oil field in 1959 after completing service with the military.  He worked his entire career with Texaco, mostly operating out of Houma and the Caillou Island field.  He began as kitchen help, but also worked as a roughneck at night.  Within a few months, he was promoted to radio operator.  As radio operator, he was responsible for communications, but also office management, production reports, payroll preparation.  He worked directly under the dome foreman.  Eventually, Bob was also assigned to troubleshoot situations where accounting wasn't properly maintained.  He retired from Texaco in 1993 and has been active in local community politics.

Item 45: 00045_Bookout, John_MMS-History (1998) - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Stewart. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

John Bookout had a tremendously successful career with Shell Oil Company.  After serving in World War II as a B-17 pilot he attended the University of Texas earning a B.S. and a M.S. in Geology.  He began working for Shell in 1950.  He became District Geologist in Amarillo in 1954 and stayed in that position until 1958.  That year he was promoted to Division Geologist for Wichita Falls, TX.  He also worked as Exploration Manager for New Orleans in 1965, in Economics Department for E&P, and as exploration manager and VP Denver. (then he became president of Shell Oil Company from 1976-1988.)

Item 46: 00046_Boudreaux, Moye_MMS-History (2001,2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Moye Boudreaux at the ecology festival hosted by the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary Foundation in Thibodaux. She was sitting near our booth resting when she realized that we were doing a history study. She and her daughter came over and talked about their experiences in the oil and gas industry. Moye had sent a message to the email address we set up for the project. We exchanged cards and agreed to meet the following week. Moye was very happy to set up a time to get together, and we met at the Terrebonne Council on Aging, where she is helping the organization set up new offices, partially furnished by Exxon.

Moye was born in 1939 in Palestine, Texas and first arrived in Louisiana as a young girl when her father took a job in a newly developed oilfield operated by Tidewater Oil Company in Venice, Louisiana. Moye grew up in Venice, moved with her family to Houma for a few years as a young teenager, and then returned to Venice to finish high school. Moye began working in the oil and gas industry right out of school and worked for Exxon until her retirement in 1994. Among her other activities, Moye was president of the Desk and Derrick Club, a women's club organized in New Orleans in 1949 to help educate women employees about the oil and gas industry.

Item 47: 00047_Bougeois, Bob_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s):  D. DiTucci and S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Bob Bougeois was born in Raceland, LA in 1934; he had four brothers. He studied physical education at Nicholls College before being drafted into the military, where he served in Europe for two years. He hired on with Continental Emsco during the summer of 1959 as a truck driver; he worked there for 12 years in sales, moving from Houma, to Venice, to Morgan City, to Lake Charles. In 1971, he went to work for Precision Instrument Company; he was transferred to Lafayette in 1975. Eight years later, he went to work for Gemoco, a division of Weatherford; he retired with them in April 2002. He describes what sales were like in the late 1950s and 1960s and discusses ethically suspect sales practices.

Item 48: 00048_Bourg, George_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Montegut, LA.

Affiliation: University of Arizona

George Bourg was recommended by Ed Henry, who had contacted him and explained the study.  He was another of the Montegut Texaco hands, well acquainted with the others from there whom I had interviewed.  We had a little trouble scheduling an appointment because his wife was ill, but eventually I was able to go to his house and talk.  We had limited time because he had to take his wife to the doctor.

George Bourg grew up in Montegut.  He dropped out of high school at 16 and began work with Texaco as a cook's helper.  In 1943, when he reached 18, he went into the service.  After studying gunnery for B-17s, he was shifted to the infantry, joining the 101st Airborne as a replacement just after the Battle of the Bulge.  He returned in 1946 and returned to work for Texaco in the warehouse and office of the shipyard below Montegut.  He didn't care for the 5 and 2 work, so he shifted back to cook's helper, then second cook on a 6 and 6 schedule.  In 1949 he began work as a roughneck on the drilling barge, Shea.  From there he moved up through derrickman to driller in 1966 and toolpusher in 1970.  As a toolpusher, he worked in the Houma, Harvey, and New Iberia Districts in Louisiana, then in Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi.  He returned to the Harvey District and retired in 1982 as field superintendent of the Lafitte field.

Item 49: 00049_Boykin, Ray_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): R. Higgins. Bayou Vista, LA.

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had Ray's name on a list from the last time I was in town. My notes did not indicate what he had done, but only that he was involved very early in the history of offshore oil. I called him for the first time on Tuesday (6-26-01), and after I talked briefly with his wife, Ray and I chatted for about twenty minutes. He told me about some other jobs he had had and about his recent marriage. I told him more about the nature of the project. He was interested, if not excited, about the prospect of doing an interview. He told me to come by any time later in the week; he and his wife were going to be gone for the next couple of days.  Ray and his wife live just a couple hundred feet from the bayou, near the high school in Bayou Vista.  Ray and I sat on the screened porch, and his wife brought us each a soda and told us she would leave us to talk. Ray moved slowly but looked happy to be sitting and talking about his life. Even so, he did not know where to start at first. So, I asked him to tell me how he got started in oil.

Ray Boykin began working for Halliburton shortly after he was discharged from the Army in 1946. He worked for Halliburton's inland operations initially. He was based at first in Harvey, then Lake Charles and finally in Lafayette. While in Lafayette, he got the orders to switch to the company's offshore division. This change took place in 1948. After working in the local offshore division for only 8 months, Ray was sent to Venezuela for four years. He then returned to the states and was based in Morgan City, getting in on the "ground floor," for the next several years. In 1969, Ray was promoted to supervisor.

Item 50: 00050_Bradshaw, Jim_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Jim Bradshaw is originally from Lake Charles, LA and moved to Lafayette in 1964. His father worked for Union Oil and Gas. He graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana with a Bachelor's in English and Journalism. Since then, he has worked in media and is currently employed by the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. In the interview, he talks about the changes that the oil industry brought to Lafayette, including economic, cultural, religious, and commercial changes.

Item 51: 00051_Brasted, Lee_MMS-History (1997) - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): B. Beauboeuf and J. Pratt. Houston, TX.

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mr. Lee Brasted went got his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Bucknell University in 1964.  He joined Shell in 1965 and soon began to work on developing offshore structures for the company.  He worked on such projects as Cognac, Bullwinkle and numerous other offshore structures.  In 1987, Shell made him Floating Systems General Manager.  He retired in 1996.

Item 52: 00052_Breaux, Minos_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Minos Breaux was recommended to me by Father Fred Reynolds, a friend of Barbara Davis with whom I had a long discussion upon my arrival in New Iberia. He's a very nice man and is willing to meet with us again anytime.

Minos was born on Jefferson Island and spent his teenage years working in the salt mines before serving in WWII. He continued working in the salt mines upon his return and then began building sugar mills, an occupation he maintained to the present. In the late 1960s, Minos began working in the oilfield in a variety of capacities. He started as a pipefitter, and his longest stint was as a supervisor in a fabrication yard. Most of his work consisted of engineering and construction, the very skills he used in building the various sugar mills over the years.

Item 53: 00053_Breaux, Numa_MMS-History (2001,2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Larose, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Numa Breaux was referred to me by Katherine Richardelle. He was a bit uncertain about participating in the study because he worked only onshore. When I told him we were interested in the transition from onshore to offshore and therefore needed to learn more about how things worked onshore, he warmed right up and began telling his story. After the interview, when I was asked to stay for lunch, Numa's wife began pulling out albums and talking about their children. Their son, Davey, works for the Port Commission at Fourchon.

Numa's daddy was a cattleman, and he was born on Delta Farm. He is the youngest of 14 children and the only one in his family to go into the oil and gas industry. He worked for two years at a paper mill, making $1.75 an hour, and then moved to Texaco because they were paying $2.50 an hour at the time. His father-in-law worked for Texaco, so Numa went to work there in 1957 and stayed there for 36 years until he retired in January 1993. When he began, it had been 10 years since the workers had seen a new face. As the new kid on the block working with lots of older men, only one of whom could speak English, Numa helped out those who could not read and was taught a lot by them. He began as a roughneck, became a gauger in 1968, a gas lift specialist in 1970, a gang pusher in 1980, and an assistant production foreman in 1990.

Item 54: 00054_Broman, Bill_MMS-History (1999) - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mr. Bill Broman got his B.S. and M.S. from Michigan Technological University.  He joined Shell Development Company in 1953 working mainly in the Houston E&P area.  He began working as a geophysicist for in 1959 and became Senior Geophysicist in 1965.  He continued to serve in various capacities including Acting Director of Exploration Research.  He then transferred to Shell Oil in 1969 becoming Division Exploration for the Onshore Divisions, Southeastern E&P Regions.  Shell Oil made him manager of Geophysical Operations in 1973, and in 1977 he became Division Exploration Manager, Offshore Division for the Souther E&P Division.  In 1980 he became General Manager, Rocky Mountain Division for Western E&P operations.  In 1983 he was named General Manager for Exploration for Shell Offshore.  He retired in 1990.

Item 55: 00055_Brooks, Ron_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

A number of people said I should talk to Ron Brooks at Patterson Real Estate.  While he has been living continuously in Houma since 1978, he was president of a major real estate firm and known as a collector of economic information about the community.  I called him and told him I was interested in his perspective of the role of oil in community development, and he said he could spare an hour.  As we talked, he continued for almost two hours, although some of this was informal discussion, not on tape.  He offered information about his business, but also about the experiences of a Protestant newcomer from northern Louisiana.

Ron Brooks first came to Houma as a pharmaceutical representative for Eli Lilly in 1967, but he didn't stay.  He was transferred to Baton Rouge in 1970, then to New Orleans in 1973.  In 1978 he returned to Houma to stay, working as a real estate broker.  He is now president of Patterson Real Estate, a well established, full service real estate company.

Item 56: 00056_Broussard, James "Cecil"_MMS-History (2008,2002)

Interviewer(s): D.Austin; Norma Cormier. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I (Norma) met Mr. Broussard through a couple I had previously interviewed. When I asked them if they would know someone who had worked in the oil business that would be at lest 60 years old, they referred me to their neighbor. Mr. Broussard is 64 years old and had been retired since 1993. He retired from Otis after 29 years of service. He did an outstanding job for them and was honored with many letters of recommendation for his work. Three of these letters had been mounted and framed, and were presented to him at the time of his retirement. His extensive collection of pictures, as well as his extensive rock collection made him an extremely interesting person to interview. Diane returned in December to do a photo interview with Mr. Broussard.

Cecil Broussard was born in 1938 and began working in the oilfield with Louisiana Oil and Exploration in 1957. He went into the military in 1958. Four years later he returned to southern Louisiana and took a job with Loffland Brothers. In 1964, he began working for Otis, and he remained with that company until his retirement in 1993. He worked on snubbing units and spent 15 years working on-call 24 hours a day.

Item 57: 00057_Broussard, Sammy_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Sammy Broussard, Jr. had participated in the 1998-1999 study of the impacts of the offshore oil and gas industry on individuals and families in New Iberia and Morgan City. I called and told him about the history study, and he agreed to participate. He was very pleasant and open and alternated talking about his father and his own history. He described struggling to keep the company going during the 80s and then the restructuring of the 90s. He attributes his company's continued existence to his Christian faith and commitment to operating according to Christian principles.

Sammy Broussard, Sr. established the owner/operator lease concept in oilfield trucking in the 1960s when he was a state senator. At the time he also owned a truck dealership and trucking company. Sammy, Jr., began working for the dealership in the late 1970s and then took over the trucking company in 1987.  He brought the company through the rough times following the 1980's downturn and continues to operate Broussard Trucking.

Item 58: 00058_Brown, William_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Lake Charles, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

William Brown was referred to me by Mary Ann Galletti. Willie had worked for J&J Divers, a company out of Pasadena, Texas that was started by John Galletti and Joe Carroll. I met Willie at his home near Lake Charles. Willie met me out front and informed me that he had prepared his "props". He sat me down on the couch and then brought in albums, boxes of materials, and other items. We talked throughout the day, taking a break in mid-afternoon to go for some lunch. The first and last parts of the interview were recorded on tape. The middle part, conducted during lunch, is recorded only in my notes.

Willie was born in south Texas in 1928. He left Texas in 1944 to go work as a tender for his uncle's diving business in California. He entered the U.S. Merchant Marine in 1945. He continued working as a seaman and diver until 1958 when he devoted all his time to diving. His first job in Louisiana was helping to build a bridge over I-10 in 1947. He operated his own company, Deep Diving Company, from 1946 until 1966. After that he worked for several companies, including J&J Marine Services and Dick Evans Divers. He quit diving in 1976 after he was injured on a diving job.

Item 59: 00059_Bundy, Billy_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Anand. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr Billy Bundy was referred to me by Mr James Dishman of Rainbow International Carpet Care in Houma (Mr Dishman's daughter Jamie struck up a conversation with me at Sunrise Fried Chicken in Houma when she noticed the Arizona license plates on Diane's car; upon hearing of the offshore history project, she suggested I look up her father).  Mr. Bundy is also a notary public and is a friendly, talkative man.  Mrs. Bundy made us some lemonade and also offered me some gumbo.

Mr. Bundy was born in Louisiana in 1930 and has worked many jobs in the oilpatch.  He began with Halliburton Cement Company in 1948 and, beginning in 1951, worked for Texaco for six and a half years roughnecking on workover rigs.  Then he shifted to Guiberson as a production packager and later a life serviceman fixing gas lift valves.  From 1959 he worked for Otis Engineering (which had just merged with Halliburton).  He worked several jobs with Otis until 1981, when he joined a friend's office.  He became a real estate broker in 1985.

Item 60: 00060_Burcalow, Leon_MMS-History (2005)

Interviewer(s): C. Leza and C. O'Donnell. Thibodaux, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Leon Burcalow was referred to us by another participant in the project. Leon spoke at  length and in great detail about his experiences in World War II. Leon also answered questions and spoke to us about his career in onshore oil. He was eager to share some pictures from an excellent book he had on World War II and treat us to some great seafood at a local restaurant. This interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry.

Leon was born in Barrett, Texas on September 23rd, 1923. He grew up in the oil field in Texas and talks about climbing all the oil derricks in his town as a kid. Leon graduated high school in 1942, and shortly after started work on a subtender and then went into service in April of 1943. After being discharged from the Army in 1945, Leon returned to the oil field, working as a roustabout and doing contract work for about three years. Then Leon was hired on by Humble/Exxon and worked for the company for 31 years and three months.

Item 61: 00061_Burgess, Jim_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. River Ridge, LA.

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Several people told me I should contact Jim Burgess for an interview, but I had a hard time reaching him because he still works on a 30 and 30 schedule overseas. When I was at Buddy Ayers' house in July, Buddy told me that Jim was home and took me over to his house. Jim was packing to return to work, but he took time out for the interview. While Jim and I talked, Buddy sat in the kitchen with Jim's wife and chatted.

Jim Burgess was born in Champaign, Illinois and moved to the Gulf of Mexico in 1957 to work in oilfield diving. He got into diving in the Navy during the Korean War where he worked on mine recovery. When he got out of the service, the offshore oil and gas industry was beginning to take off, so Jim moved to Houma, Louisiana. At first, Jim had difficulty finding work because the companies were not hiring ex-Navy divers, so he went back to school. His first job in the Gulf was on Grand Isle for Walt Daspit repairing damage from a hurricane. After that job, he moved his wife to Morgan City, took a job with a new company, and started working overseas. He worked for several companies and then wound up at Dick Evans Divers, which was later bought by McDermott. He was a diver on Westinghouse's first total saturation job outside Roanoke, Virginia. Jim left McDermott in 1978 and worked as a consultant until 1995 when he took the overseas job he still holds today.

Item 62: 00062_Burgess, Leroy_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Bayou Vista, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I accidentally found Mr. Burgess. There was a Leroy Burgess on the contact list who was a friend of Julie Delaune's. When I looked up the number this is whom I found. Leroy's son answered the phone and was excited to hear that someone might want to talk to his father who had worked at McDermott for 25 years.  Leroy is an extremely soft spoken but polite man. He offered to get me water and made sure that I was comfortable at the kitchen table. He answered my questions to the best of his ability but did not tend to elaborate on any points. He also had a difficult time remembering names of people he'd worked with.

Leroy was born in 1944 and grew up in Verdunville, Louisiana. He served in the Army in Vietnam and began work with McDermott when he returned to Louisiana in 1966. He began with no experience but worked his way up to the position of welder. He was laid off in 1984 and again in 1986. On both occasions he worked odd jobs to make ends meet. He returned to McDermott when things picked up again and retired in 1998.

Item 63: 00063_Burton, Harold_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Harold Burton was recommended by Adrian Bonnette as a toolpusher who really knew how to do the work.  Adrian called me earlier with the news that he had talked to Harold ahead of time and had gotten him to agree to be interviewed.  We met at Harold's home on a nice Saturday morning and spent the whole interview time on his back porch.  We talked for almost 3 hours.  He was very responsive to my questions and patient at explaining how the work was done in the oil field.  Subsequent informants have referred to Mr. Burton as one of the most knowledgeable about drilling.

Harold Burton has the reputation of being a "toolpusher's toolpusher."  His grandfather worked for the Texas Company (production foreman) in Shreveport and raised his brother and himself (his brother is an MD), so Harold grew up in the oil field.  He started doing well salvage for independent contractors in Illinois.  His grandfather asked him to come back to Louisiana and got him a roustabout job with Texaco in 1950.  After working on land rigs around Oil City, he transferred to the Harvey district, as roustabout on the drilling barge, Gibbon.  In 1956 he worked on Texaco's largest barge, the Terrebonne Bay, as a driller.  He moved up to toolpusher later that year and in 1958 was promoted to dome foreman at Leeville.  Later he worked in that capacity at Lake Barre and Caillou Island.  The dome foreman was in charge of all activity in a field -construction, drilling, production.  He spent 14 years in that position at Caillou Island, which was Texaco's largest field (he said at one time they had 1800 wells there), retiring from there in 1983.  He has worked occasionally as consultant since then.

Item 64: 00064_Byler, Pat_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Pat Byler was referred to my by Jimmy Hebert. Pat and I met fairly early in the morning at his place. His mother had a minor stroke the day before, and he had to leave to go to the hospital. I attempted to make plans for another time, but he insisted we go ahead with the interview. The interview itself is a little short, but he's a very clear speaker and he addressed all the questions quite precisely.

Pat Byler began work for Shell in 1960 as a roustabout. He worked in both drilling and production. He worked his way up through the ranks to production foreman.

Item 65: 00065_Cake, Ed_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Ocean Springs, MS

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Dr. Ed Cake was one of Ron Dugas' referrals. We had communicated through email on an earlier trip; Ed remembered me well, and was anxious to give me some time. We agreed to meet in Ocean Springs on a Saturday, and held the interview in a Chinese restaurant over in Pascagoula. Driving over (I had left my car at the Chamber of Commerce/Visitor's Center in Ocean Springs),  I raised the question of why, as I was hearing, fewer and fewer oystermen are bedding oysters. His initial answer (untaped) was that Louisiana oystermen may have pretty well ruined the seed grounds by not returning cultch. I countered with the issue of labor costs, and he told me a story of one of his clients. Through some familial ties, the client had connections in Honduras, and would go there several times a year to recruit workers. I had already heard from Marty Bourgeous of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries that most of the oyster workers in Terrebonne Parish were "Hispanic."

E. W. "Ed" Cake, Jr., Ph.D., operates "Gulf Environmental Associates: Biological, Environmental, Legal, & Mariculture Services (edcake@datasync.com) out of Ocean Springs, MS. He is one of a handful of biologists certified by the State of Louisiana to conduct oyster damage assessments, and prides himself on working both sides, oil companies and oystermen. He was the plaintiffs' main expert witness in the Alonzo case in St. Bernard Parish, and his formula for reef restoration costs was accepted by Judge Manny Fernandez in establishing the damages caused by the Caernarvon Freshwater Diversion Project.

Item 66: 00066_Callais, Ronald_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Golden Meadow, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Ronald Callais is a regular at PJ's in Golden Meadow for early morning coffee. The last time out, he agreed to talk, and also gave me the name of Mr. Web Callais (TM034), his uncle. I interviewed him in his office at the shipyard, an office well-stocked with novels (James Lee Burke, among them), with walls filled with official certificates, marking perhaps his service on Lafourche Parish's Police Jury and his membership on the Levee Board. He admitted that he is semi-retired from the shipyard business (started in 1980), though he comes in to the office, often just to read. This yard, and another in Larose, is run by his son exclusively do repair work, including much work for the shrimp industry. After the interview, we toured the yard. Several utility boats and tugs being worked on, and he talked about plans for expanding the yard.

Ronald graduated from high school in 1959, then went to USL (SLI at the time) for accounting, then transferred to Nicholls. At one time, Ronald was also involved in the utility boat business of his father (Abdon Callais), but he got out of that end of it when it was clear that the two enterprises were in conflict: he was repairing the boats that competed with the boat business.

Item 67: 00067_Callais, Weber_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Golden Meadow, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Web Callais, 88 years old, had been referred to me by his nephew, Ronald Callais of Allied Shipyard (a regular with the coffee group at PJ's in Golden Meadow). I had contacted him on previous trips but never hooked up with him. His grandson, Brad, was visiting him when I arrived, and I explained the project to both of them; several other female relatives came in and out during the interview. After the interview, we walked over the Chene's netshop, where Mr. Web goes many mornings to help make nets and get exercise (and, according to Ronald, play bourée).

Web Callais owned a netshop for decades, but his primary business was boats, first tugboats after the war, then crewboats, then offshore boats. He serviced Humble Oil out of Grand Isle for 22 years. With only a 2nd-grade education, he is proud of a career of running boats, serving on bank boards of directors, making nets, and running a 100-acre crawfish farm up in Larose. He is still on Hibernia Bank's board.

Item 68: 00068_Camp, Ruth_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Ruth Camp is the widow of Robert Daniel Camp. Robert worked for Penrod Drilling from 1937 until his retirement in the early 1970's. Robert moved up from roughneck to toolpusher by the 1950's. He worked inland and received an award for deep drilling in a lake.

Item 69: 00069_Cantrelle, A.J.Sr_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Anand. Larose, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. A.J. Cantrelle was referred to me by his son, Buddy Cantrelle.  Initially, I was to interview them together, but Mr. Cantrelle Sr. could not make it to that interview, so we met later at his home.  Mr. A.J. had a large CCFC (Concerned Citizens for Community, an anti-union group initiated by Edison Chouest Offshore) sign out in his yard and told me that he was one of the first people to put it up.  Both he and Buddy (earlier) spoke quite vehemently about the damage unions would do.  We did the interview at the kitchen dining table.  Though initially aloof, he warmed up a bit into the interview.  He had a pronounced limp from a work-related injury.

Mr. Cantrelle was born in 1937 and left school in the 10th grade when his father fell ill.  He began working in the oilpatch in 1952. He got his first Captain's assignment working for Griffin Towing in the mid to late 50s before being hired as Captain by Galliano Tugs. He worked there until 1965, whereupon he joined Robin Tours Corp.  Mr. Cantrelle was injured in October 1985 while working for Gulf Fleet Marine and left offshore work.  He then began teaching at Houston Marine in 1987.

Item 70: 00070_Cantrelle, A.J. "Buddy" Jr._MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Anand. Cut Off, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Buddy (A.J.) Cantrelle was referred to me by Mr. Ferrel of Crosby Tugs as a person with extensive offshore experience.  He was younger than I'd assumed.  Mr. Cantrelle lives in a fairly new house.  His wife and daughter were home watching TV in the living room, and I was cursorily introduced to them.  On the phone he'd mentioned to me that his father might join us, but Mr. A.J. Cantrelle (Sr.) could not make it.

Mr. Buddy Cantrelle was born in 1960 and began to work on boats at a very young age.  He began working as a deckhand on a tugboat while he was still in high school and returned to the boats after graduation.  He became a captain at the age of 20 and worked offshore from 1977-1993; his father worked tugboats from 1953-1986.  Mr. Buddy has worked on the east coast and abroad, and he feels that Louisiana's infrastructure needs more funding, given its importance to the nation.

Item 71: 00071_Carline, Richard_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Amelia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Richard Carline by Dewey Wilson. Dewey had worked with Richard when he took a job with Tidewater, and the two of them did many overseas deliveries together. They also were very involved in Tidewater's training program. When I called Richard, he was busy trying to get a vessel ready to go overseas, so we agreed to wait until the following week. I reached him at his office on Monday morning, and he told me to come on over. When I told him what I wanted, he told me that he had spent his entire career with Tidewater and had lots to say. He told his secretary to hold his calls and closed the door so we could talk. At the end of the interview, Richard mentioned that he had a nearly complete set of Tidewater's company magazine, the News Tide, going back to the 1960s. He agreed to bring them in so I could borrow them.

Richard was raised on a houseboat in the Louisiana swamps. His family moved to town when he was 10 or 11 years old, and he later moved with his mother to Houston. After finishing high school, he spent three years in the Army and then returned to Morgan City and started working on the Rip Tide, servicing Texaco rigs off the coast of Louisiana. He learned how to navigate and became a deckhand. Then he worked his way up to earn his 100 Ton then 300 Ton and then 1600 Ton licenses. He has worked in and out of the office since 1968, returning to the boats whenever he tired of being in the office. Among his responsibilities, Richard delivered vessels around the world, helped develop training courses, served as operations manager, and oversaw new construction. He worked in the Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria, Angola, and the North Sea.

Item 72: 00072_Carline, Wallace_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Amelia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Wallace Carline is the owner and CEO of Diamond Services Corporation, and when I interviewed Earl Hebert, a long-time employee of his, Earl said that I really should interview Wallace. He talked with Wallace about it and arranged for the interview. After a couple of attempts to get together, we managed to coordinate our schedules. I met with Wallace in his office and explained the study, and he said he would be happy to talk about his experiences. We talked for about an hour and a half, stopping a couple of times so he could answer phone calls.

Wallace Carline was born in Plaquemine, Louisiana in 1931 and moved to Morgan City as a child. He began working in the oilfield during the summers when he was still in school. He served two years in the Korean War and returned in 1953 to work for his brother in his oilfield contracting business. In 1961, he went into business for himself and continues to operate Diamond Services Corporation. His company has been involved in laying pipe, putting in foundations for drilling barges, driving pilings, and putting in platforms. In 1973, Carline went to the Amazon to perform work for most of the major oil companies that were drilling there. In the 1970s and 1980s his company's main business was dredging. In 1995, the company built its first water jet boat and now has nine of them working, three in Mexico.

Item 73: 00073_Chabert, Elvis "Al" and Champagne, Roy_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Galliano, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Roy Champagne, Sr. was shrimping at night off Campeche when he got chased by gunboats, so he decided to quit shrimping and went to work on crew boats. Roy's friend, Elvis "Al" Chabert, worked his way up through his career as a driller, beginning on Rowan rigs, then working mostly for Texaco. Unlike many of the old-timers, Al and Roy don't hang out for early morning coffee at the Fed Pond in Golden Meadow. Roy's house is just behind the L & M office, so he visits the office regularly. When I was explaining the consent forms, Al said, oh, you mean a release form. It seems like he and many others have become familiar with the process working as actors or extras in Glen Pitre's movies. Tony Cheramie arranged this interview, and we talked in MJ's office at L & M Botruc, with Tony and MJ present through most of the discussion. During the interview, the two would talk to each other in French.

Al began his career working on drilling rigs for Rowan and then went to working for Texaco in 1954, working on drilling barges in the bays. He stayed with the company for 33 years until his retirement in 1984.  By the 1980s, everything was run from the office, by computers.

Item 74: 00074_Chargois, J.C._MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. J. C. Chargois was born in 1924 in Lafayette and was the third child of Kezz and Louise Chargois. His father was the first city marshal in Lafayette parish in the late 1920s. His grandfather and later his father owned a plantation and opened 450 acres of land that included four springs, which serviced as Lafayette's only swimming pool. After graduating from Lafayette High School in 1942, he went work for the Southern Pacific Railroad where he started out as a clerk on the road and later became a crew caller and worked in the time keeping department. During that time he also went to college at Southwestern Louisiana Institute (SLI). When his department at Southern Pacific was relocated to Houston in 1963, he went to work for Doutree's Furniture as a designer; he went into the decorating business for himself in 1968. He provides a detailed description of downtown Lafayette in the 1930s and 1940s. Then he discusses the influx of oilfield people (early on called "oilfield trash") and the departure of the railroad.

Item 75: 00075_Charpentier, Lloyd_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Amelia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Lloyd Charpentier was referred to me by Richard Carline, another long-time Tidewater employee. Lloyd was not at work when I interviewed Richard, but Richard talked with him about the study. When I called, he was happy to arrange an interview. I met him at his office at Tidewater.

Lloyd began his career on the water in the 1950s when he went to work on his uncle's fishing boat. He then operated a crewboat for Phillips 66 when the company was laying a pipeline to a Eugene Island field. He left the Gulf of Mexico to serve in the army from 1961 to 1963 and returned to the oilfield as a deckhand/engineer for Tidewater. He advanced to captain within six months and then moved from crew boats to supply vessels the following year. He worked in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, South America, and Trinidad until 1973 when he moved into a staff position overseeing vessel repair and maintenance. He has given 40 years of service to the company and has no immediate plans to retire.

Item 76: 00076_Charpentier, Steven_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Galliano, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I called Mr. Jimmie Martin for referrals to shrimpers; he recommended Steven Charpentier as a man who had really made a living on the water. He's been retired for 6 years, and is 71. He is an avid duck carver, on the board of directors of a carving club. After the interview he showed me around his workshop; he intends to donate many of his carvings to the Cajun Heritage Museum that is being set up in Larose. He introduced me to his wife, but she didn't participate in the interview. During the interview, his uncle came over from next door to ask for help loading a huge TV into the car to take back to Wal-Mart. Later in the interview, the uncle returned, saying that Wal-Mart had to order a replacement 35-incher, so we unloaded the TV into the carport.

Steven shrimped on wooden boats for 47 years until he bought his last boat, a steel, 72 footer, Mom and Dad.  His son-in-law crewed with him on that boat, and Steven sold the boat to him, at no interest, telling him to pay him back when he could. The son-in-law also has a license to run crew boats. Under Governor Edwards, Steven served on a task force attempting to set up sanctuaries and revise the inshore season so that shrimp had time to grow larger before capture. Both of these efforts failed because the offshore shrimpers, such as Steven, were outvoted by the inshore/bay shrimpers on the task force. During the interview, Steven kept coming back to the main problem with Louisiana shrimping: the ever-growing number of inshore shrimpers are catching small shrimp. But, he said, this is a democracy and you can't control the number of shrimpers. He sees the trend of big-boat trawlers converting to small boats - much cheaper to operate - so the problem will get worse. The inshore May season was a disaster, due to low prices caused by a flood of imports.

Item 77: 00077_Chauvin, Dewey "D.J" and Lucy_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Anand. Chauvin, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. D.J. Chauvin, a retired mud engineer, was referred to me by Rob Gorman of Catholic Social Services (Houma).  I met him at his home in Chauvin, where I also met his wife Lucy.  They live in a relatively new subdivision, and the house was easy to locate.  D.J. and I conducted the interview by the mantelpiece in their dining room, while Lucy sat further away at the dining table.  D.J. and Lucy also had a tape recorder running so that they could have a copy of the interview for themselves.  They were both very warm and gracious.

D.J. was born in Chauvin in 1941.  As a youth, he worked at a shrimp factory and grocery store and then worked in a pipeyard whlie in college.  He graduated from Nicholls State College and worked as a schoolteacher until 1970.  At that time, he joined the oil industry. He became a mud engineer and then a trainer. He was blinded in an automobile accident in 1988, and has been an oil sales representative since.  He and Lucy work together (she drives him around), beginning very early in the day and winding up by the afternoon.  He still calls on rigs for his work.  D.J. also has an older brother, Ferrel, who spent many years with Texaco.

Item 78: 00078_Chauvin, Ferrel_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Anand. Chauvin, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Ferrel Chauvin was referred to me by his younger brother, Mr. D.J. Chauvin, who also called him to introduce me.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Chauvin (Grace) were quite friendly (she came in mid-interview), and the interview was quite informative.  We talked for a while about traveling, and about various things in general like cultural differences. The Chauvins have traveled a fair bit, and Mr. Ferrel Chauvin is very proud that he has traveled to Europe a few times and taken his kids to most of the big monuments across the U.S.

Mr. Ferrel was born in Chauvin in 1932.  He served in the Army in the early 1950s. After leaving the Army in 1953, he joined Mobil as a kitchen hand, then became a roustabout, and then a roughneck. He went to work for Texaco in 1954 and worked his way up from being a derrick man, mud engineer, and driller, to a senior drilling supervisor before his retirement on December 31, 1989.  Mr. Ferrel remembered his years in the oilpatch fondly, particularly the jokes crew members played on each other, a subject on which he said he could write a book!  I returned to interview him on the 18th for more specifics about his work experience.

Item 80: 00080_Chauvin, Kerry_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

A significant number of people in government and business suggested talking to Kerry Chauvin, who is chairman and chief executive officer of Gulf Island Fabrication.  The interview took place at the corporate offices near the main yard at the end of Thompson Road.  His office is unpretentious, considering he is CEO and chairman of the board of a NASDAQ listed company. That, and small things like the worn boots in the corner, suggest an environment at the corporate headquarters that emphasizes hard work rather than pretense.  The interview was easy going and open.

Kerry Chauvin grew up in Houma, and went away to college.  After receiving a bachelor's degree in engineering and an MBA with an emphasis on banking, he went into the Air Force.  Upon discharge from the military in 1973, he began working for Delta Shipyard (New Orleans), which opened a division in Houma.  He stayed with Delta through thick and thin, as it evolved into Delta Services and finally Gulf Island Fabrication. When the Gulf Island investor group bought Delta's fabrication assets in 1985, Kerry was named general manager.  By 1990 he was president and chief executive officer, and in 2001 he also added chairman of the board to his titles.

Gulf Island is a publicly traded corporation traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol GIFI.  It has three primary subsidiaries:  Dolphin Services, an inshore and offshore fabricator; Southport International, which makes offshore living quarters; Gulf Island MinDOC, which develops deepwater oil and gas production structures.

Item 81: 00081_Cheramie, Minor "MJ" and_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Galliano, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

MJ Cheramie and his son, Tony, had been recruited by Kerry St. Pé of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program to be part of the "action team" for this project, and both had agreed to talk with us. For several days, I had been working through Tony to set things up with some of the companies old-time captains, and I interviewed MJ in his office when he returned from a trip to Mississippi (the tape has noise from phone calls and intercom paging). Tony was sitting in on the interview and added some information and opinions. I only ran one side of the tape, though the session continued with a tour of the operations and discussions about the unique Botruc design based on scale models in the conference room. Then MJ, an avid horseman as well as a hunter, had to go off to help a friend cut out some cattle.

MJ Cheramie runs L & M Botruc from the office on Highway 1 in Galliano, a business started by his father. Starting in 1948 or 1949, MJ's father borrowed money for engines from his grandfather and began building up inventory, starting with crewboats. He got contracts through Otto Candies. He took a Rhode Island ferry design to George Engine Company in Harvey and had boats built for the offshore industry. He operated three vessels built by Baroid Mud and also kept building according to the Botruc design. Through the years, the company built larger vessels as oil work went further out in the water. The company built several vessels with Bollinger and American Marine.

Item 82: 00082_Cheramie, Chester_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Golden Meadow, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Chester Cheramie at the boucherie in Cut Off and arranged to interview him the following morning at the Fed Pond in Golden Meadow, where he is a regular at the morning coffee gathering.

Born in Golden Meadow in 1923, Chester Cheramie was one of seven siblings in a trapping/fishing family. He graduated from high school, spent three and a half years in the Navy, then returned  to Golden Meadow and worked as a roustabout for several years. His father-in-law gave him a barroom, which Chester operated for fifteen years before going to work for Cheramie Brothers' boat company. He then worked in the office, doing mainly personnel, purchasing, and promotional work, for Nolte Theriot's boat company. After 26 years at that job, he retired at age 74. One of his sons has a PhD and directs the CODOFIL program (Council for the Development of French in Louisiana) out of Lafayette.

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Item 83: 00083_Cheramie, Linwood "Boz"_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Cut Off, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Linwood "Boz" Cheramie by his coworker, George St. Pierre. George had recommended that I talk with Boz because he was known as the practical joker on the rigs, so I was looking forward to hearing his stories. I talked with Boz's wife on the phone, and she was hesitant at first because Boz had fallen on his head and also suffered a mild stroke, and he has trouble with his memory. He is also suffering from prostate cancer. When I told his wife what I had heard from George, she laughed and warmed up to the idea of the visit.  When I arrived, both Boz and his wife were waiting outside and eager to visit. We talked for a while about their yard and then went into the formal dining room. Boz and I sat at the table while his wife sat at a chair off to one side. I asked her to join us at the table, but she said that she preferred to sit in that chair. We had a delightful interview. Boz was able to answer questions and remember stories, and his wife joined in with comments throughout. She also brought in photos of his last day at work and other mementos.

Boz was born in 1920 and raised in Golden Meadow. He moved to Cut Off in 1954 when he was married. His first job was with Rebstock and Reeves. He then worked as a roustabout for Brown and Root in Golden Meadow for 5-6 years.  He went to work for Latek Gulf, a small company in Leeville, and then worked for Chevron until he retired in 1982 at age 62.

Item 84: 00084_Cheramie, Mark & Eric Vizier_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Anand. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Mark Cheramie and Eric Vizier at Penny and Ray Adams' home, where they seemed to have dropped in for a conversation and some food.  Diane and I were there to talk to Ricky Cheramie, but often the conversation was general, and it turned out that Mark and Eric (who are cousins) had both recently lost their jobs for trying to organize their workplaces.  They were both very outgoing and worked up about labor issues and local politics, and when I asked if they would be interested in being interviewed, they agreed.  I contacted them some days later, and we set up a meeting.  We conducted the interview outside the union offices, by the parking lot at a wooden picnic table, next to a swing-seat in the lawn.  During the interview, every now and then a couple of people would come out, maybe to have a smoke, and go back in, one of whom was Michael Creivash (sp?), a local organizer who was described by Mark and Eric as an encyclopedia on unions and legal issues.

Mark Cheramie was born in 1963 in New Orleans and was a licensed deckhand by the time he finished high school in 1981.  In 1985 he joined Doucet Adams as a Mate, and in 1992 he moved to Guidry Brothers, where he moved from Mate to Captain in two years.  By 1994, he was First Captain.  In December 2000 he was fired for Union activities.  He is currently working as an organizer at the Offshore Mariners United union in Houma.

Both Mark's and Eric's cases against Guidry Brothers were up before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) at the time of the interview.

Item 85: 00085_Cheramie, R.J._MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Cut Off, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I received R.J. Cheramie's name from Raymond Dupre. Mr. Dupre seemed hesitant to give any names but then decided that the President of the Exxon Retirees Club would be a good person for me to talk to. R.J. was skeptical at first as to what our future purposes were for the information we were going to be gathering. After I explained that the interviews would be for posterity's sake for a large part, he agreed to the interview wholeheartedly. He lives down in Cut Off and is familiar with the "down the bayou" families such as the Cheramies and the Chouests. R.J.'s house is filled with furniture and pictures from the Orient. It is strange to see such foreign objects in a house in southern Louisiana. R.J.'s wife is pleasant but left us alone down in the den.

R.J. is from south Louisiana.  He went to the Marine Corps out of high school, returned home and went into shrimping, and then went to work for a contract drilling firm.  He then got a job with Exxon and when the company got rid of its drilling rigs in the mid 1950's, he was transferred to the production department. He worked for Exxon for 37 years.  Seven of these years were spent overseas in Burma and Singapore. He is extremely loyal to Exxon and says so several times during the interview. He insists that he was railroaded into becoming the Exxon Retiree's Club president but has enjoyed his duties.

Item 86: 00086_Chesson, Hubert_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Hubert Chesson was recommended to me by Rene Seneca. Both are Texaco hands. I met Hubert on his porch on the outskirts of New Iberia. He was working in the yard and wearing the ubiquitous coveralls. His hands were dirty with oil and grease from whatever he was doing. Hubert was a fun guy to talk to - he was frank and forthright with me, and there was lots of good material in the interview.  He spends some time talking about the various schedules that he worked after the war, and we end up talking about the Texaco camps for a while. The descriptions he gives are probably the best I have, and he notes that the camp concept was finally given up after a hurricane took them all out. Most of the rest of the discussion is about gas production, although there is a fairly frank evaluation of the friction caused by the racial quotas instigated in the late 1960's. He is also one of the few oilmen to admit to me that the oilfield was a pretty dangerous place to work in the early days.

Hubert comes from a Texaco family, and although he had some experience with other companies before the war, he got on with Texaco in 1946. He worked for the company for 38 years, beginning in drilling and ending in gas production. He made these advancements without a high school education.

Item 87: 00087_Christ, Charles C.J._MMS-History (2003,2005)

Interviewer(s): James Sell; Diane Austin. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Both L.J. Folse and Hartwell Lewis mentioned C J Christ as a local historian, although his reputation had to do with his knowledge of U-boats in the Gulf so I put off contacting him.  When I had some free time, I looked up his address and found that he lived right next to my motel, so I called.  He invited me over immediately, so I gathered my notebooks and tape recorder and walked over.  It turns out he was an oil field pilot who also worked with mud and later on offshore service boats, and is very knowledgeable.  My interview with him was spread over 3 days.

Charles Christ, known over Houma as "CJ," is a pilot who had a varied set of experiences in the oil fields.  Before completing college, he joined the US Air Force and served as a bomber pilot in Korea.  After the Air Force, he returned to college, then started driving a truck for Halliburton in 1954.  In 1956 he became a mud engineer, working for Magnet Cove Barium (Magcobar - now owned by Dresser Industries).  As a pilot, he flew to his mud engineering jobs.  In 1959 he became chief pilot for Magcobar and set up their aviation and pilot training program, so that all mud engineers could fly to their jobs.  In 1963 he had a partnership with a friend to create Coastal Marine (Comar), an offshore boat contractor.  In 1964 he started Houma Aviation Services, a fixed base floatplane operator at the Houma Airport.  Houma Aviation was caught in the 1980s oil bust and went bankrupt in 1989.  So at 61, Charles became a boat captain for Coastal Marine, running crew and supply boats to the offshore platforms until retiring in 1995.  He is well known for his knowledge of naval and marine history, especially U-boats in World War II, and consults on underwater archaeology.

Item 88: 00088_Clark, Joe_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Piekielek. Boothville, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Michael and Daisy Dardar suggested that I talk with Joe Clark, their new council member who represents them in the Parish government, and a family friend.  Michael called and arranged for me to meet with Joe at his new office after work.  They said that Joe was someone their parents' age and had worked several kinds of jobs which allowed him to be familiar with various aspects of the industry.  When I explained the project to Joe Clark, he said right away that he hadn't worked in the oil industry, only at a supply store.  Nonetheless, he offered a comprehensive perspective on the economy of Boothville-Venice.  Joe Clark often moved the conversation back to issues currently facing the community, primarily the unsure future of the economy and its relation to the oil industry.

Joe Clark was born in New Orleans and moved with his family to Port Sulphur in 1964.  In 1966 he married and moved to Venice, where he has lived since.  He worked 3 days in the oil fields before his first employer discovered that he was 16 years old, too young for the job.  He worked many years for the Press family, who owned Empire Machine Works, with business operations in Boothville and Venice that served oil companies' supply and repair needs.

Item 89: 00089_Clark, Robey_MMS-History (2003) - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Amarillo, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Robey Clark went to LSU in 1939 and joined the Navy before graduation. However, they still gave him a diploma.  After serving on the Gulf Coast during World War II, Mr. Clark got a job with Magnolia.  He worked in various locations throughout the Southern U.S. in geology, mapping, and analysis.  He became heavily involved in Offshore Gulf of Mexico and served as head of E&P for Mobil.  He left Mobil in 1971 to work for Diamond Shamrock where he also enjoyed success.  He finally retired from corporate life in 1982 only to start up a consulting business.

Item 90: 00090_Cochennic, Jay_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Cut Off, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Jay Cochennic's name was given to me by Mrs. Viviane DeFelice of Larose. When I interviewed the DeFelices in January, I asked about finding someone who worked for Schlumberger, as we had not found anyone who had worked for them yet. Mrs. DeFelice told me she thought Mr. Cochennic had worked for Schlumberger. When I reached Mr. Cochennic in March, he was happy to be interviewed; in fact he suggested I come down the same day I initially called him. He and his wife Doris greeted me when I pulled up. They have a lovely home in Cut Off. There were fans going and the wind blowing and out back they had a partially covered pool, whichmade me feel like I was in the tropics.

Mr. Cochennic was born in Golden Meadow to a bar owner and his wife, a jewelry shop proprietress. He grew up living behind the bar and remembers every Saturday night listening to oilfield workers, shrimpers and oystermen fighting. He spent summers working for Exxon and Brown and Root while in high school. He was in the Air Force for six years and was trained in Radar. He got out of the service, returned to Louisiana, and almost immediately got a job at Schlumberger. He felt that he was well trained to work there because of all his technology training in the military. Schlumberger was a very technology-oriented business and invented many oil field tools. Jay worked his way up to an electronics technician and retired in 1997.

Item 91: 00091_Cockerham, Robert "Bob"_MMS-History (2000)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Bob Cockerham was referred to me by Jerry Cunningham during our study on the impacts of the offshore oil and gas industry on individuals and families in southern Louisiana. I had asked Jerry for help getting more information on drilling and on the history and evolution of the offshore oil and gas industry, and Jerry introduced me to Bob. Bob was 80 years old at the time of the interview and was very happy to participate. We met in his office at the VFW and talked for a couple of hours. Bob passed away in November 2002. After his death, I contacted his wife, Joyce, for permission to include his interview in the oral history study. I met with Joyce, their daughter Frances, and Frances' husband Buddy Justillien in July 2003 (see DA119).

Bob Cockerham was born in Louisiana and raised in the Texas oil fields. His father owned and operated drilling rigs. Bob went into the service in 1940 and met his future wife, Joyce, when he was passing through Conroe, Texas on army maneuvers. The two of them were married in 1943, and after Bob returned from serving overseas during World War II, they moved to Morgan City. He was working on shrimp boats in 1947 when Kerr-McGee began drilling what was to become the first successful offshore well out of sight of land. Bob heard about the well and went to work for Kerr-McGee. He then worked for Dansiger, a drilling company, and stayed with them for ten years. He moved on to another drilling company and remained in drilling for 22 years. He then went into consulting until his retirement in 1984. Shortly before his retirement, Bob was given responsibility for managing the first women's crew to work offshore.

Item 92: 00092_Cockerham, Joyce, Frances and Justillien, Buddy_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Berwick, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I interviewed Bob Cockerham for our study on the impacts of the offshore oil and gas industry on individuals and families in southern Louisiana. He was 80 years old at the time of the interview (see DA000). We met in his office at the VFW and talked for a couple of hours. Bob passed away in November 2002. After his death, I contacted his wife, Joyce, for permission to include his interview in the oral history study. I met with Joyce, their daughter Frances, and Frances' husband, Buddy Justillien, in July 2003. They agreed to share their memories of Bob and living with him in the oil field. The interview continued into a second night when I returned to look at photos.

Joyce Cockerham was born in Lafourche Crossing near Thibodaux. Her father was a supervisor for Shell Oil Company, and the family moved to Conroe, Texas. She and Bob Cockerham met there while Bob was serving in the army during World War II. They married in 1943. After Bob returned from the war, the couple ended up in Morgan City where Bob soon got a job working for Kerr-McGee drilling what was to become the first successful offshore oil well drilled out of site of land. Bob worked for several drilling companies over the next 22 years and then worked as a consultant until his retirement in 1984. Bob and Joyce adopted their daughter, Frances, in . Bob became a second father to Buddy Justillien. Buddy become his son-in-law in 19 when he married Frances. Joyce, Frances, and Buddy spent their lives in the oil field. Buddy and Frances now operate Justco Engine Service.

Item 93: 00093_Collins, Ed_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): R. Carriker. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

One of three boys, Ed Collins was born in 1924 in Laurel, Mississippi. His father owned a plumbing business. While in high school he roughnecked a bit on a drilling rig and worked as a rod man on a survey crew. After graduating high school and serving during World War Two, he spent a semester at Mississippi State before studying petroleum engineering at Louisiana State University; he graduated with his degree in 1949. After graduating from LSU, he found himself in a saturated job market and was lucky to get a job was Magnolia Petroleum Company where he first worked as an engineer in Snyder, Texas. Two and a half years later he went to work for Wilshire Oil Company in Midland, Texas; several years later, when that company was bought out, he went to work for a year for Wilshire Oil Company of Texas. A year later in 1954, he moved to Wichita, Kansas, to work as assistant production manager for Vickers Petroleum Company; not long after he was made vice-president of production; in 1959, he moved with the company to Denver, Colorado. After a deal with Alco Oil and Gas Company, he went to work for Alco representing the Vickers interest; in 1962, Alco centralized itself in Lafayette. He lived a year in Lafayette, before he took a job with the Vickers as a consultant and started venturing out on his own as an independent; he became involved in buying and selling leases and royalties. In 1963 he started a sugar cane bagasse (product used in drilling mud) processing factory in Belle Rose, Louisiana; he did this for 12 years while still doing the other independent work. In the late 1970s, he sold the company to Venture Chemical Company; he was involved in Venture until they were sold in the early 1980s. He discusses why Alco Oil and Gas made the decision to centralize their company in Lafayette and not other cities, as well as the Lafayette community.

Item 94: 00094_Collins, Wilbert_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Golden Meadow, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Wilbert Collins, born in 1937, is one of only a handful of oystermen left in lower Lafourche Parish.  His grandfather  started the business in the 1930's, and Wilbert's son Tracy is carrying it on - the fourth generation. After 50 years of working oysters, Wilbert himself isn't going out on the boats much anymore.  He is active in the Louisiana Dealers and Growers Association, fighting with  federal agencies over repeated efforts to restrict raw oyster sales in the summer, due to potential health effects.  He is also currently on the Commission for Port Fourchon, spearheading the fundraising effort to get a monument placed there for Senator A.O. Rappelet, the early driving force for the port.

I try to touch base with Wilbert whenever I'm in the Golden Meadow area. He is one of the most respected of the old-time oyster farmers.

Item 95: 00095_Collipp, Bruce_MMS-History (1999) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Bruce Collipp graduated from MIT in 1953 with a masters degree.  He started at  Shell in 1954. He worked with Shell's Technical Service Division to develop offshore technology.  He is credited as the father of the semi-submersible after the construction and placement of the Bluewater One.  His efforts earned him the Holley Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  He continued working with Shell developing offshore technology, including the Cognac, project until his retirement in 1987.

Item 96: 00096_Comeaux, Johnny_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): R. Carriker. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. Comeaux was born in the early 1920s in Austin, Louisiana. His father was a farmer. He graduated high school when he was 16 years old and attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana (USL) while also working for the Civilian Conservation Corps (for two years) and for the college. He enlisted in the Air Force and spent most of 1942-45 in Europe. After going to a few trade schools, he worked as an electrician for Lake Charles Electric for seven years. In 1953 he entered the oil patch working for Mervin Taylor's rental tool business, first running the yard (11 years) and later as a salesman (3 years). During the following years, he did concentric work. In May 1981, with his son and two partners, he opened Workover Equipment Rentals; he worked there until he retired in 1999.

Item 97: 00097_Comeaux, Leon_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Leon Comeaux was born in Carencro, Louisiana in 1936. His father was a dairyman for a while and later became a salesman selling dairy-related products. He went to Southwestern Louisiana Institute from 1954 and received a degree in geology in 1958. Jobs were hard to find, so he ended up roughnecking and roustabouting for Superior Oil Company. After being knocked out on a rig, he started doing relief office work in Dulac. In 1960, he got a position as a geologist. He did geology work (evaluating and logging wells, mapping, paleo) onshore and offshore; in 1967, he got into unitization work as well. In 1976, He left the company when it began to be reorganized; he went to work for Ted Hoz, a premier unitization geologist. Hoz gave Comeaux the business when he retired in 1986.

Item 98: 00098_Comeaux, Lorimer_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Larose, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Lorimer Comeaux was the first person to approach me after the Exxon retirees luncheon and ask to be interviewed.  He was one of the oldest members there.  When I arrived at his home, he had made a huge batch of pralines for me to take home.

Lorimer was in the Army until 1945.  During his summers off from high school, he would help his father farm the land behind where he now lives.  In November of 1945, he went to work for Exxon.  He chose Exxon because he knew there would be security when he retired.  He began working the pipeline and always seemed to come back to it.  He would walk 20 miles through the swamps checking on the lines.  He worked the pipeline gang until 1958; then he was transferred to Grand Isle for 13 years.  Lorimer retired in 1985 after 40 years with Exxon.

Item 99: 00099_Conrad, Parker_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Parker Conrad at his office at the Conrad yards. Although he's well over 80, he still goes into the office every day. He's a very kind and intelligent man, as others had correctly noted to me, and he was perfectly willing to take an hour out of his day to meet with me and talk.  He is a wealth of knowledge concerning the history of the region, the history of industry, and the entrepreneurship necessary to succeed in the oilpatch.  Most of our discussion revolved around his business, but in places we talked about the community and people upon which his business depended. He has good things to say about the people of Morgan City and the surrounding areas - they're hard workers. The community has changed a lot. He describes how poor the community was when he got started, and how much things have changed since then. We also looked at some photographs from WWII - the German Uboats sunk 35 ships just off Morgan City.

Parker was born up near Jefferson Island but moved down to Morgan City as a boy. His father came from a wealthy family, but Conrad struck out on his own in the Great Depression. He rode a train across the country as a hobo and tried numerous ventures before he finally got into boatbuilding. While he started out building shrimpboats, the oil companies began to lease boats for their seismographic work, and eventually he made the transition to building in steel. He built crewboats and barges for the most part. Conrad Industries is a large business, and a successful one. The company recently went public and bought a shipyard in Texas, and Parker technically has less control over the business than he did in the past.

Item 100: 00100_Constant, Nelson_MMS-History (2001,2002,2005)

Interviewer(s): Diane Austin; Betsy Plumb. Thibodaux, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Nelson Constant by his granddaughter, Alana Owens, who was working as an intern for the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program. She accompanied me to the first interview. Nelson's wife sat at the kitchen table through most of the interview, but she did not say much. A couple of times she made a comment or two, but she asked that she not be recorded. Nelson had a notebook of photos from his work as a surveyor, and I visited him a second time to do a photo interview. The third interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry.

Nelson was born in 1914 and raised in Kramer, Louisiana. His childhood was unique because his mother was a teacher and ensured that he finished high school, even though it meant he had to live with several different aunts. He entered the oilfield after working in his daddy's store for several years and getting to know a party chief who did business with the store. He began with a survey crew in the swamp and advanced quickly to surveyor and permit man, jobs which he kept for most of his 23-year career in the industry. When he left the industry, Nelson went to work planting soybeans for about 8 years and then built some crawfish ponds.

Item 101: 00101_Couvillon, John_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. John Couvillon was born in 1920 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His father worked for Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon) as a blacksmith. After graduating from LSU in 1942 with a degree in petroleum engineering, he went to work for Stanolind (Standard Oil of Indiana; now Amoco) out of Jennings as a roustabout. A few months later he was drafted into the service during World War Two, where he served in Europe. When he returned from war in 1946, he went back to work for Stanolind on a drilling rig (worked lead tongs); in 1947, he was promoted to engineer and moved to Hackberry, where he married his wife. After moving between Hackberry and Lake Charles a few times, he moved to Lafayette when Stanolind opened their office there in 1957. In 1961 he quit and went to work for Falcon Seaboard Drilling Company; the following year, he was promoted to division engineer and transferred to Houston, where he oversaw production in a number of different states. He was transferred to Lafayette in 1970 to work for a subsidiary company, Oleum Incorporated. After being laid off in 1975, he took a job with DOR Engineering, a consulting firm, in Lafayette, where he would supervise drilling operations. He retired in 1989 at the age of 69. The interview with him covers a range of topics.

Item 102: 00102_Coyle, Billy Jr._MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I received Mr. Billy Coyle's name from Gip Talbot as well as Phillip Fanguy. While Gip knew the name, Phillip knew Mr. Coyle Jr personally and called his secretary to help set up an interview time with me. Billy's father, Billy Coyle, Sr. is legendary in many circles. He began several oilfield tool companies, but the most successful has been Bilco tools which Mr. Coyle Jr. is currently running. Mr. Coyle Jr. has a negative attitude about the oil field and what's it's done to both Houma as well as greater Louisiana. He knows the history of many of the businesses that grew up in Houma and has given several contacts of men who began businesses in and around the area. Mr. Coyle was extremely cooperative. I tried several times to suggest that his father needed to be interviewed, but he seemed adamant about leaving his father alone. It was valuable to hear a different perspective on the oil field's impact on the land and its people, especially from a small business owner.  The interview took place in the boardroom of his office building. His office was a medium sized his office. He wanted to aid me in my quest to fly over South Louisiana by helicopter but unfortunately the weather played its card and I left the next day.

Billy was 10 years old when his father moved the family down from northern Louisiana to Houma, and he felt like he had entered a whole new world.  At the time, seafood was going out and the oilfield was coming in.  Service companies were locating next to Houma because of access to Grand Isle, Venice and Morgan City.  In 1978, Billy's father was turning 62 and working at JEMOCO, and he wanted to look at early retirement.  Billy, Jr. then came on board with his dad to try and help him sell the business.  He and his father founded Bilco in 1978.  Bud Williams let them use part of his business, and Billy and his father built the business up from scratch.  His brother joined the company as well.  In 1981, it felt like there was no end to the amount of business they could generate, but in 1982, things dropped quickly.  Billy, Jr. bought his brother out and much of his father's share as well.  Since that time, Bilco went from having one patent to having 18 and has some technology tht nobody else has.

Item 103: 00103_Craig, William_MMS-History (2002) - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz; D. DiTucci. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

William Craig earned a bachelor's degree in Petroleum Engineering at Louisiana State University. He worked for the Arkansas and Louisiana Gas Company for two years, joined the Army Air Corp until 1945, and returned to the Company for five more years. He did consulting work beginning in 1951, first in Texas, then in Lafayette in 1956. He discusses the changes that the Oil Center brought to Lafayette, and how it was different from when he visited the city as a child. He also talks about economic changes that the oil industry brought to Louisiana.

Item 105: 00105_Creel, Evelyn_MMS-History (2005) - Audio Only

Interviewer(s): J. Stone. Cut Off, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jean Landry set-up this interview with Mrs. Creel because she knew we were interested in people who had lived in the company camps on Grand Isle. Jean and I met at the D&D Restaurant in Larose and I followed her to Mrs. Creel's house, which is in Larose even though it has a Cut Off address.  Jean participated in the interview, both asking and answering questions, and she added a lot of very interesting information.

Evelyn Creel was born in Paradis, Louisiana in 1924.  She was the only child in her family to graduate high school, and she worked on the weekends at a restaurant.  She moved to Exxon's Grand Isle camp when her husband was transferred there in 1948 and stayed until 1971, when she relocated to Larose.

Item 106: 00106_Creswell, Tim_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz, D. DiTucci; and D. DiTucci. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Tim Creswell responded to the article in the Baton Rouge Advocate. Born and raised in Abbeville, he realized that the oil industry would be a good way to make money without going to school first. His first job in the oilfield came in 1953 after his sophomore year of high school; he worked in the marsh running pipelines. After graduating high school, he went to a few colleges, before deciding that was not for him. So in 1958 he went to work for Union Oil Company of California (Unocal) which was just beginning to get into offshore production; he worked as a contract dispatcher in Intercoastal City until 1963. After that he took a job in production operations and began working offshore. In 1974, he took a construction foreman's job where he supervised the building of offshore platforms. A year and a half later, he became a production foreman where he supervised two offshore complexes; several years later he took on the additional responsibility of being a shore base foreman, while losing one of his offshore complexes. Later, he continued with the production foreman job and took over the safety supervisory work (taught water survival). He did this until 1991 when the company completely reorganized when he became the logistic superintendent's job for the Louisiana Gulf Region. After having a quadruple bypass, he retired at the end of 1996. During his first interview he discusses his career, noting changes in the industry. His second meeting was for a photo interview, wherein he shares picture of many Union Oil Company structures, including their first offshore production venture in the late 1950s.

Item 107: 00107_Crochet, James "Peanut"_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): Emily Bernier; A. Gardner. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Peanut, as family and friends refer to him, has worked with and been friends with F.J. Matherne for over 30 years. He worked at Kerr McGee as a flunkie and then went to Texaco for 36 years. When I called him to set up an interview he sounded excited over the phone; he also asked if F.J. put me up to this. When I drove up to the house, I was astounded by the number of plants sitting in the car port, around the car, beside the house and on boards out in the yard. I then noticed a small faded sign by the door that said, "Plants For Sale." Peanut answered the door with a quick smile. He and his wife were sitting in the living room watching television, as it was rainy that day. I soon found out that his wife was the gardener; she talked very excitedly about her plants to me for 10 minutes. Peanut brought out a number of photos to share during the first interview (July 20, 2001), so Andrew Gardner returned five days later to scan the photos and conduct a photo interview specifically about the photos.

James "Peanut" Crochet was born in 1927. He was drafted into the service in 1944 and toured Marseilles and Belgium for 20 months. His first job was at a factory called "Weatherhead." It was a canning factory in Houma. In 1949 he got a job with Kerr McGee as a flunkie and then moved onto roustabout after a year or so. After Kerr McGee he went to work inshore for Texaco. In the 1970's he worked as foreman for a few years. During the downturn of the early 1980's, he was transferred to work on a clean up barge by the name of Barge Lawrence.

Item 108: 00108_Crosby, Percy_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Grand Isle, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jean Landry introduced me to Percy Crosby at the senior's dinner at the Grand Isle Community Center, and he agreed to chat with me the next day. I got to his house somewhat later, after putting in a courtesy visit to Mayor Comerdelle, and Mr. Percy berated me (kindly) about punctuality. The interview was fairly brief, because he had to go the meal again at the Center.

Percy Crosby is a native of Grand Isle, 82 years old. After the War, he spent a few years as a cook for Shell, then went to barber school in New Orleans. After 26 yrs, he suffered disk problems and couldn't stand up, so he gave up the business. He was elected town constable for two terms. He has a small pension from Jefferson Parish for working in mosquito control on the island. This is the fellow that Bob Gramling had recommended to me, though Bob didn't  recall his name.

Item 109: 00109_Culligan, Leland_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): R. Carriker. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. Leland Culligan is from Birmingham, Alabama; his father was the vice-president of a coal company. He received his bachelor's degree in geology from Birmingham Southern College. After serving in the Marine Corps during World War Two, he went to the University of Colorado where he received his master's degree in geology in 1847. He then went to work for the California Company (since became Chevron, Texaco) as a development geologist in Mississippi. He spent five years in development work, moving every six months to a year. He moved into the exploration department in Shreveport, and then was transferred to Jackson, Mississippi, where he stayed 11 and a half years. He moved to Lafayette in 1965, where he went back to doing development work. The interview seems to end abruptly when Mr. Culligan asks to change the subject and that the recorder be turned off.

Item 110: 00110_Cunningham, Jerry_MMS-History (2001,2002)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jerry Cunningham was an active participant in our previous project in the region. He put me in contact with a variety of different people in the Morgan City area, but I also thought it would be a good idea for me to interview him at some point in time. His actual participation in the offshore oil industry was somewhat limited, but his father worked in the industry, and he is also familiar with some of the community impacts felt by Morgan City over the years. The topic of conversation here wanders a bit, and there is a period where his son participates in the interview.  Jerry talks quite a bit about the early seismograph crews on which both he and his father worked. He clarifies the activities of the various personnel on the boats, and explains some of the other technology used to locate oil. He talks about the danger in the oilpatch, the bad weather, and some of the accidents he witnessed. There are some good sections near the end about the emergent environmental movement in the region.

Jerry's father was born in Oklahoma and started working there for Shell on seismograph crews.  He then moved down to southern Louisiana and worked his way up to the main office in New Orleans. Jerry was raised in southern Louisiana.  He pulled cable on gravity boats and started working offshore in 1955 while going to school parttime.  He completed his education after serving in the armed forces and became a teacher and principal in Morgan City.

Item 112: 00112_Curole, Windell_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Galliano, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Born in Cut Off in 1951, Windell Curole is presently director of the South Lafourche Levee District, where he started in 1980. He was trained as a marine biologist. His father was a shrimper and roughneck. Windell's responsibilities (he is also the Emergency Management person for the parish) include making the calls on when to close the flood gate below Golden Meadow in the face of approaching storms - a decision which can get him in trouble with shrimpers and utility boat operators who may get stuck on the outside.

Windell is something of a local historian and culture broker, taking every opportunity to speak out on "Cajunism." He will also make calls to the local radio talk show, hosted by "Truk," when no one else is calling in.  He is also an avid skier, as are many people in the parish. As one of the few local functionaries, Windell was one of our early contacts in south Lafourche, and we try to touch base with him on field visits.

Item 113: 00113_Dagenhardt, Lloyd "Highpockets"_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Lloyd Dagenhardt is the father of Kandy Theriot, who is director of the Chamber of Commerce and one of my early helpers on the project.  When I mentioned to her that many oil workers seemed to have children who either went on to work in the oil fields or were able to go to college, she said that was her case, and suggested I talk to her father.  Lloyd was very willing to be interviewed.  He suffers from emphysema and is confined to a wheelchair, but very alert and with a good memory.  While there, we watched a video of his son directing his middle school band.  Problems with tape skipping, this tape may be hopeless.

Lloyd Dagenhardt is a second generation Texaco worker.  His father moved the family from New Orleans to Houma went he started with the Texas Company in 1936.  His father was injured in an accident with a pile driver and Lloyd had to drop out of college (he was a music major) to work.  At first he tried to make money playing music, but the work wasn't steady and he started with the Texas Company in 1951.  His first job was laying timber for a road.  He joined the military from 1951-53, and was married during that time.  Upon returning, he started as a roustabout at Caillou Island and worked up to pumper by 1957.  Family needs led him to move to clerking at the Texaco Shipyard in 1957.  In 1965 Texaco shut down the shipyard and he transferred to the warehouse in Houma (on Van St.).  He left the company in 1965, working as a plumber in the Houma area.  He continued in this work until 1972, when a back disability forced him to retire.

Item 114: 00114_Daigle, Irving "Sammy"_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Sammy Daigle was referred to us by Professor Tom Becnel, a retired history professor at Nicholls. Sammy's mother and Tom's mother were sisters.  Sammy's house is in a subdivision not far from the old Texaco office and warehouse, now owned by T. Baker Smith and Sons. His wife, Gloria, recently had a bypass operation and was recovering. He learned to fly small planes in the 1940s, got a license in the early 1980s, and went in with a couple of friends to buy a Cessna. He recently sold the plane.

Sammy started with Texaco in 1948 and retired in 1989 after 41 years. His primary job was that of marine supervisor in the boat supply sector - getting materials of all kinds to drilling barges and moving drilling rigs between districts. He supervised as many as 200 inshore boats that were hired and operated out of Houma.

Item 115: 00115_Daniels, Walter "Walt"_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Walt Daniels by Steve Shirley. Dr. Daniels has been practicing medicine in Morgan City since 1961 and is also an active member of the civic community there. He was born and raised in Gueydan, Louisiana where his father, one of the original West Texas rig builders, worked for Pure Oil Company. Dr. Daniels decided to become a physician because he disliked his early experiences working on the farm and in the oilfield and because of the positive influence of the physician in his hometown. He completed medical school and was accepted into the practice of Dr. Brownell, Morgan City's mayor and one of its two town doctors. He remained in Morgan City throughout his career and is now semi-retired.

Item 116: 00116_Danos, Allen_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Larose, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Allen Danos, "semi"-retired now from Danos and Curole, still comes in to his office in the modest shop on the bayou-side along Hwy 1 in Larose, D&C's main operation is on the other side of the bayou, up near the Intracoastal Waterway. Hank, Allen's brother, pretty much runs the multi-faceted business from there. Ronald Callais suggested I talk to him; when I called, Mr. Danos politely asked for references. He called Ted Falgout, then called me back, saying "Ted says I should give you some time." I drove up for the interview; the office had a family-like feel, and Al was extremely friendly, sending me out with a CD recording of a brief story NPR had done recently on the Danos family. They interviewed his mother, and when he started to answer her, she hushed him up and talked for herself.

Danos and Curole Marine Contractors evolved out of an association between Allen's father and an uncle, Civiac Curole.  The uncle was a shrimper and oysterman who converted some luggers for oil work. Allen's father was a shrimper, but worked for the Coast Guard during the war, looking for German subs. Together, they bought a tug, pushing fuel to Gulf operations in East, Black, and Quarantine bays, working 7 and 7. Then they bought a crewboat in bad shape, but the boat came with a job - supplying Gulf's Bully Camp operation near Cut Off. At the time, Vic Jones, head of the Gulf operation, was looking for a new labor contractor; boat captains had been providing their own labor, so it was natural that vessel owners moved into the labor contracting business. They date the start of the present operation to 1947.

By age 14, Allen was working summers in shipyards. After college, he and brother Hank bought out the Curole interest in the company and expanded into lift boats and marine construction. Allen has been a 2-term president of Offshore Marine Services Association, and now takes an active interest in Nicholls State University, serving on its foundation board. He is working now to recruit for a chair in entrepreneurship, with the Bollingers.

Item 117: 00117_Dardar, Michael and Daisy_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): Diane Austin; Jessica Piekielek. Boothville, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Michael Dardar is the tribal historian for the United Houma Nation. He grew up on South Pass in the southernmost end of Plaquemines Parish and then moved with his family to The Village, a trailer park in Venice, when the parish government relocated the families from South Pass there. His family moved to Boothville, within the levee, when his father bought land and Michael and his wife put their trailer on it. Several years later his parents moved onto the property with them; his mother still lives in a trailer on the front of the property.

Michael Dardar was born and raised in southern Louisiana. In the late 1930s, his father worked on a dynamite crew for a company that was exploring for oil in the wetlands of coastal Louisiana. His father went into the service during World War II, and when he returned home he went to work on a drilling rig, moving his family from place to place as the rig moved. When Michael's father began working on offshore rigs, the family no longer had to move from place to place. When Michael was 3 years old, his family moved from Golden Meadow to South Pass, on the southernmost end of Plaquemines Parish. His family later moved to Venice and then to Boothville. Michael joined the army out of high school but returned to Plaquemines Parish when his father became ill and he had to take over his father's business. He has worked throughout the offshore industry for an oil field service company, a supply company, a construction company, and a crew boat business.

Item 118: 00118_Dardar, Thomas Sr, Thomas Jr, Noreen and_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): Ari Anand; Nicole Crosby. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had seen or met Thomas Dardar a few times in various contexts before this interview-when he danced at the Native American Liturgical Celebration in Dulac, at the United Houma Nation Tribal Council meeting at the Robichaux residence in Raceland, and again at the Robichaux residence at the Houma community strategizing meeting, where he suggested we interview his father.  We decided that Nicole and I would both do the interview, and both arrived there on Thursday evening.  The house was busy, with Noreen cooking up a big meal, and Thomas and Noreen's kids and grandkids present.  About half an hour to an hour later, Thomas Sr. and Beverly arrived, and we commenced the interview.  Much of the interview was informal conversation, and the atmosphere was very lively.

Thomas Dardar, Jr. was born in 1956 as the oldest of 11 children.  He completed the 7th grade and began work at a supermarket and in a service station.  He then got into the oilfield as a roustabout, oiler, and tugboat operator.  He has also held jobs blasting and painting and advanced to foreman.

Item 119: 00119_Dardar, Whitney_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): Diane Austin; T. McGuire. Golden Meadow, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Whitney Dardar is the father of Brenda Dardar Robichaux, principal chief of the United Houma Nation, and husband of Delores Dardar. He has lived in Golden Meadow all his life and is a trawler and oysterman. He worked as a crewboat and tugboat captain for several years as a young man. I first met Whitney when working on the baseline study for the MMS in 1996 and have talked with him on several occasions. He agreed to be interviewed for this project to talk about the community, the fishermen, and the early arrival of oil and gas. Whitney talked about the improvements in the equipment they used in trawling and fishing and also the establishment of seasons. He also talked about how he made a living. We started out talking about the low prices for shrimp this year and how the imported shrimp were negatively affecting the local trawlers. The price of fuel and ice continues to rise, but the price they are paid for the shrimp falls so the fishermen are losing money. When we finished the interview, Whitney showed us some of his oysters. He talked about raising oysters as being like raising a garden. You tend and tend them and make them grow. "I like to see things grow."

Whitney began trawling when he was 16 years old. His dad made his living fishing, trawling, and trapping, and Whitney did the same, though he only trapped for a short time. When he was about 25 years old and working on oyster boats, Whitney decided to try operating crew boats.  He worked in the oil and gas industry for about 10 years and trawled on his days off.  Then he returned to shrimping fulltime and continues to operate his trawler.

Item 120: 00120_Darsey, Elton_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Historian Tom Becnel suggested we talk with Elton Darsey, a still-practicing lawyer with an office near the courthouse in Houma. During the interview, he frequently calls out to Ms. Bee in the outer office to help with facts and dates.  The interview contains some interesting discussion of both the Intracoastal Waterway and the Houma Ship/Navigation Canal, the first taking its route through the city at the behest of powerful property owners, the second built to attract oil business. Both, Elton suggests, have been unfortunate for Houma.

In his 90s at the time of the interview, Elton Darsey was born in Houma, went through high school and got a job working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans. While at that job, he attended night school at Loyola University for 7 years, got a law degree, and came back to Houma in 1935 to start practicing law. As a French speaker, he was able to represent local oystermen in their case against  the Texas company in the 1930's, then won an important case against the highway department by researching French civil law about the batture, lands along the bayous and rivers. He and his wife, now deceased, have traveled extensively throughout the world. He walks into the office every day.

Item 121: 00121_Daspit, Walt_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Mandeville, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Walt at the divers' reunion on March 10, 2002. He spent quite a bit of time talking to me about the diving business and showed me the diving hat he had developed. He agreed to participate in the study and gave me his card to call him. When I called, he was happy to arrange a meeting and also agreed to contact other divers because he said he thought they would remember more if they were in a group and could remind each other of events and dates. He arranged for us to go talk with Al Warriner. Walt participated a bit in the interview with Al (see DA038). In addition, he and I talked during lunch prior to that meeting with Al and talked in the car to and from the meeting. We also went back to his house after the meeting to talk some more. The first notes were jotted down during lunch or from memory later that evening; the second set was taken as Walt showed me pictures at his house that evening. I returned for a photo interview in the summer of 2002 and then also interviewed Walt in a joint interview with Rusty Guidry on July 16, 2002. The notes from that third interview are recorded under Rusty Guidry.

Walt Daspit was born and raised in Lafayette, LA. He left home at age 17 to join the Merchant Marine. While a seaman he saw an advertisement for a diving school, and this led to an eventual career change. He began diving in 1954 while still serving in the Merchant Marine, and he closed his seaman's book in 1956. He worked for Al Warriner and then Dick Evans Divers. He remained with Dick Evans after the company was purchased by McDermott and continued diving there until he was hit with a severe case of the bends as a result of a faulty gauge.

Item 124: 00124_De Gravelle, Charles_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz, D. DiTucci; and D. DiTucci. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. Charles de Gravelle was born in Thibodaux, LA. His father was a doctor and graduated from Tulane University. In 1930 he began attending Louisiana State University, where he received his undergraduate and law degrees. While at the university he met his wife Virginia. He went to work for Stanolin Oil and Gas (later Pan American, then Amoco) in 1937 and was stationed at Lake Charles. In 1940 the company moved him to Lafayette to open an office; he worked in Anse La Butte buying leases. He continued to work land deals and was the first person to hire women landmen. At some point, he also got into the abstract business. He took early retirement in 1971; however several days later he was given a job and Cameron and continued working until about 2000. During his first interview he discusses the corruption surrounding oil and gas leases, the influx of oil people into Lafayette, and making lease deals in Anse La Butte. The follow-up interview mostly involves discussion of politics in the area and the ways in which people related to the oil and gas industry helped to build up the state's Republican Party.

Item 125: 00125_De Felice, Raymond_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Lockport, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Raymond DeFelice, or Rainbo as he likes to be called, and his wife at the Exxon retirees luncheon.  We scheduled the interview for the afternoon so that he could be out with his cattle in the morning.  Since retiring from the oilfield in 1983, he has kept himself busy with real estate and cattle ranching.  He talks a lot about what kinds of jobs and characteristics got a man a raise as well as all of the different schedules he worked. Viviane had a big box of pictures and showed me some great shots of what "everyday life was like with the oilfield in your backyard."  Viviane was honest about how difficult it was to raise her kids by herself basically but knew that her husband couldn't make as much money working anywhere else at that time.

Rainbo was born in 1932 and began roughnecking during his summers off from high school. After returning from the Korean war in 1955 he began working for Offshore Drilling Company. He got a job with Exxon in 1956 as a roughneck. He worked himself up to workover superintendent by 1977.  He took early retirement in 1986.

Item 126: 00126_De Hart, Esmiel "Dee"_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Anand. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Lucy and Esmiel "Dee" DeHart were referred to me by Audrey and Maudrey Bergeron as having a room available in their Bed and Breakfast, which it turns out is two of the three rooms of their home. Mr. Dee had spent many years in the oilpatch, and both he and Ms Lucy seemed interested in the project, suggesting many other people with whom I could speak.

Mr. Esmiel DeHart was born in September 1931.  He first started working the oilpatch in 1952 with Texaco, where he became a boat captain three months after starting.  In 1957 he moved to Cenac Towing, and then he went to McDermott in 1962 where he drove a bus.  In 1965 he moved to become a boat captain again at Halliburton.  In 1983 he had back surgery and got leave for a year.  He continued to work at Halliburton until his retirement in 1990, during his five back surgeries and cancer.  Mr. Dee was also a Deputy Sheriff from 1955 to 1972.

Item 127: 00127_Delcambre, Clifton_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. Delcambre, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Clifton Delcambre was referred to my by Jimmy Hernandez. I met Clifton at his house. His friends call him "Slick."  We had a good discussion about his history of the oilpatch, and after the interview, we had a look at his boats and the nets he uses for shrimping.

Clifton Delcambre started work as a roustabout for a contractor in 1951. He got a job with Shell in 1953. His first job was on Weeks Island working on both steam and diesel rigs. He eventually moved to production, working his way through gauger to a lead operator. He's pretty modest about his career with Shell but had plenty to share.

Item 129: 00129_Denet, Edward Richard_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Piekielek. Boothville, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Edward Denet at the Boothville Senior Center; the coordinator of the center introduced him to me after I explained the project to her.  She had talked with Mr. Denet just the other day about his work, and remembered that he used to run boats for the oil companies.  Edward Denet agreed to do an interview right away, and we met in a quiet room at the center. Edward Denet was a well dressed man (as he attested to during his interview).  He was a great story teller and would lean in every once and awhile like he was about to tell me a good secret.  He was enthusiastic to tell me about his own success working on boats, as well as the subsequent success of his son, who has followed in his footsteps and now owns his own company, Denet Towing, in Boothville.

Edward R. Denet was born in Boothville in 1919.  He spent his working life on boats, first as a shrimper and then working boats serving the oil industry.  He worked for Shell Oil for 40 years, first working as a deckhand and then a captain on a boat owned by Herby Collette.  Edward Denet then bought his own wooden hulled boat and continued to work for Shell Oil.  His son followed in his footsteps and owns and operates Denet Towing in Boothville.

Item 130: 00130_Des Jacques, Jesse_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Interviewer(s): Steven Wiltz
Item 131: 00131_Deshotels, Ronald_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): D. DiTucci. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Ronald Deshotels was born in Kaplan, Louisiana in 1934. His father was the first person to organize a Credit Union in the United States in the early 1950s. Ronald graduated from Louisiana State University in Geology and Economics. When he finished school there were too many geologists so he became a mud logger. He worked for Universal, Baylard, and then Oil Base. He was laid off from Oil Base in 1986. He is now a consultant to the oil industry. In his interview, he discusses the economic, cultural, and technological impacts of the oil industry in the region.

Item 132: 00132_Dias, Lee_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): D. DiTucci. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. Lee Dias was born in Paincourtville, Louisiana. His father worked as a truck driver and later operated a general merchandise store. He started his career in the oil industry working as a roustabout for Danos and Curole in 1967 or 1968. He worked for several other companies, gaining experience as he worked his way up to driller, before he went to work for Baker Oil in 1976. At Baker he worked in the tool division and went into management in 1982, where he stayed for 17 years.

Item 133: 00133_Dickie, George_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Z. Toups. Thibodaux, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Dr. George Dickie is the father of a co-worker of mine.  By chance, during a conversation with her, she mentioned that her parents were originally from Ohio, but moved here when her father was working as a geologist for an oil company.  I contacted Dr. Dickie after his daughter, Georgia Elfert, said that her father was willing to share his story.  Dr. Dickie has a master's degree in Geology and at 28-years-old went back to school to become a dentist.

I interviewed Dr. Dickie in his home and was fascinated with the story of how he decided to change careers due to a "downturn in the oil industry" and the fear that he may loose his job due to cut backs.  He worked for The California Company (now Chevron) in the summer while in graduate school, working on his masters in Geology.  He also worked for the same company for 6 years following his graduation.  This is when he was introduced to South Louisiana where he eventually settled to raise his family and spend his entire career in dentistry.  He is now retired, living in Thibodaux.

Dr. Dickie was very friendly, interesting, and humorous in his account.  He explained that when he became a dentist he was "still in the drilling business, but not near so many dry holes".

Item 134: 00134_Dilsaver, Ed and Tess_MMS-History (2001,2005)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier; R. Higgins; D Austin; B.Plumb. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Ed Dilsaver is a member of the Old Salts Club in Morgan City (Mobil retirees club). I met him at the club's weekly morning breakfast. I asked all of them for their names, but Ed was the only one to come up to me after the breakfast and ask if he could be interviewed right away because he didn't like to put things off. He also suggested several other men to call right away, namely Burt Ross and Santo Russo. When I called to confirm the interview he asked if I wanted to talk with his wife, Tess, who worked for Kerr McGee in 1947. I said yes and it was determined that Tess would be present for the interview. Both Ed and Tess were extremely helpful and descriptive in their answers to my questions. The second interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry.

Tess began working in the front office for Kerr McGee in 1947 when she was 19 years old. She was confused about the lingo so they decided to take her out to an offshore rig - she describes the day with much detail. Tess remained at Kerr McGee for 9 years. She describes her time at Kerr McGee as fun and "wild."

Ed was born in North Carolina in 1925 and moved to Florida as a child.  He served in the Navy during WWII and then returned home and earned a business degree from Florida State University.  He compares the drilling department to a "war program" because they seemingly had unlimited resources, money and personnel. He worked for Shell the first 10 or 11 years of his oil career. Because of his education and experience in the Navy, his starting position was as an "oil buyer" in 1955. In the mid 60's he went to work with his brother on his boat, which was contracting out to Mobil at the time. In 1967 he went to work for Mobil as the marine foreman. After retiring in 1982, he went to work in Houston for the Trans-Co Energy Company, which he describes as the best company in the world. The company offered him a lot of money and listened to his ideas and suggestions. His bosses even supported his quest to patent an Emergency Boarding Net he invented while working there.

Item 135: 00135_Dilsaver, John and Catherine_MMS-History (2002,2003)

Interviewer(s): Diane Austin; Emily Bernier. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

John is the brother of Ed Dilsaver.  When I interviewed Ed back in July, he had talked a lot about his brother and suggested that I contact John for an interview.

John Dilsaver was born in North Carolina in 1920.  He moved to Louisiana in 1938 to work on a shrimp boat.  In 1951, he built his own crew boat and started a business called Marine Construction Company.  Because of severe health issues, John sold his business in 1958, worked a bit for Houston Drilling Company, and then spent the rest of his working years as a consultant until his retirement in 1971.

Item 136: 00136_Dion, Howard_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): Emily Bernier; Ari Anand. Bourg, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I found Mr. Howard Dion through sheer determination. I received the name of his brother Nile from Ms. Corine Paulk. She knows them from United Houma Nation as well as from the community center down in Dulac. Once I reached Nile Dion, he informed me that he was not the one to be talking to and that I could talk to his brother, Clyde. I tried to reach Clyde several times with no luck. Nile called me back and informed me that his brother Howard had recently retired from Unocal. Howard was very willing to answer any questions Ari or I could throw at him. He made us lunch and insisted that we eat. Howard is a Houma Indian and has been actively involved with the Dulac Community Center as well as in fighting for land rights near his home in Bourg.

Howard Dion is from southern Louisiana and left school to work for American Machine Foundation in 1963.  He then went to work as a mechanic at Delta Iron Works.  In 1967, he was hired at Unocal, the first Native American to work for the company. He remained with Unocal for 31 years, working on rigs, in gas fields, and as a construction foreman putting up facilities for new wells.

Item 137: 00137_Domingue, A.G._MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Born in 1915, A. G. Domingue was raised in Carencro in a farming family. He began working as a roustabout for Superior Oil Company the summer before his senior year of high school in 1934. Although he received a scholarship to go to college, he decided to continue working in the oil industry. In 1941 he was drafted into the military and he served in the Pacific Theater during World War Two. When he returned in 1945, he began work in production in the Bosco Field; he started out on a workover rig, worked in the warehouse for a few years, and then worked on gas lifting the wells until 1976. He retired as a compressor operator. Upon retiring he worked from time to time as contract labor when the company needed him.

Item 138: 00138_Domingue, Eddie_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Eddie Domingue was born in 1927 on the outskirts of present day Lafayette. He did not finish high school, because he tried to enlist in the Merchant Marines, but then decided not to do that and got training in marine and radio electronics. After finishing his training, he got a job with Keystone Exploration in about 1942 on a seismic crew and doing electronic work; although they moved him around a lot, he stayed with them because it provided him with a deferment from military service during World War II. He left the company after the war, but was called back to do hot shot work for them twice in the early 1950s; he was in demand because he had a radio license and shooters offshore needed that. When not working for Keystone after the war, his main job was running a service company that took care of jukeboxes and pinball machines. He describes how they would use dynamite and the rules they were supposed to follow. He also explains that his ability to talk to local landowners, and his knowledge of dynamite and electronics made him valuable to the company.

Item 139: 00139_Dominique, Doughty_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Doughty Dominique learned that we were collecting oral histories from the librarians at the Terrebonne Parish Library. He worked in the industry for 48 years and volunteered to tell his story. In addition, his father had worked in the industry, beginning in Texas, so his interview discusses both his and his father's experiences.

Doughty was raised in Raceland, Louisiana. His family moved there when he was about six years old when his father bought an old sugarcane farm. His father was born in 1893 and went to work for Gulf Oil Company in the mid-1920s. He worked as a driller in the oilfield, first in east Texas and then in south Louisiana. At times before he had a family, he lived in a boarding house with members of his rig crew. Doughty entered the oilfield for Gold Medal Well Service in 1951, after returning from the Korean War. He was then able to get a job with Gulf Oil in 1952 where he started off in production and then moved to the drilling department. He went to work for Grant Oil Tool Company in 1957 when Gulf sold its drilling rigs. He worked for several years for Grant Oil and for Noble Drilling and then took a job with Kerr McGee and worked his way up to production supervisor. After 14 years with Kerr-McGee, Doughty left and went to work for McMoRan Oil and Gas Company in New Orleans.

Item 140: 00140_Doss, Arles "AJ" Sr_MMS-History (2003,2005)

Interviewer(s): James Sell; Lauren Penney; Colleen O'Donnell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

AJ Doss was discovered by CJ Christ, who was doing personal interviews of anyone who had seen any U-boat activity in the Gulf of Mexico.  AJ had gone with his drilling crew to look at a ship (the David McElvey, torpedoed May 27, 1942) that had been torpedoed near his rig and was photographed on deck with his crew.  In the course of his interview about that incident, CJ also found that AJ was a toolpusher and arranged for me to interview him.  AJ was 82 at the time of the interview, in a wheelchair as he recovered from an automobile accident.  The interview with AJ also includes his wife, Madge, CJ, and for a short time, his son, Arles Jr. and his wife.  All these people are hard of hearing and CJ, especially, was not aware of the ease with which a tape recorder could "hear" sidebar conversations, so at times the tapes may be hard to follow because of background noise.  After our June 28 talk, AJ called, saying he was not sure I quite understood what he meant by directional drilling, so he invited me back to view some rough sketches and discuss it further; so I returned for a short discussion on July 11. Mr. Doss was identified to be reinterviewed because of his military service during World War II. He arrived at the interview accompanied by a friend, Ms. Moore, who often drives him to appointments. She remained in the room throughout the interview. The third interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry.

Arles ("AJ") Doss was a second generation Texaco oil worker.  His father worked 42 years for Texaco, mostly in Caddo Parish, LA, and he and his brother worked 34 and 32 years respectively.  In fact, Doss Point on Caddo Lake is named after his father.  His son, Arles Jr., also worked 15 years as a Chevron toolpusher.  AJ started out as a roughneck for Texaco in 1942, beginning at Golden Meadow and moving to Dog Lake, Lake Pelto, and Garden Island with the barge Ellzey.  From 1944-47 he served in the military.  When he returned from the service, he went back to roughnecking at Caillou Island.  In 1948 he was promoted to driller on a workover rig, then later moved to the barge, Hosey Campbell.  The Campbell was a steam barge and was remembered affectionately.  In 1955, AJ was promoted to tool pusher and worked on the early offshore rigs at South Pass Block 37.  He worked on the first generation "barge and tender" rigs and also developed an expertise in directional drilling.  He retired in 1975, but continued as consultant for Sea Drill, Gulf Oil, and Quintana Petroleum.

Item 142: 00142_Doucet, Manson_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Charles Tisdale recommended I talk with Manson Doucet. I met Manson at his house on Julia Street. We had a nice conversation on his back porch.  He provides a great overview of his job, the kind of problems they would typically run into, and the cooperation necessary to fix these problems. Manson was also on city council for several decades, and we talk a lot about the growth in New Iberia, the kind of things the town did to keep the oil industry there, and the impact of the rapid growth of the population in the region. There are brief discussions about the induction of African-Americans into the workforce.

Manson Doucet began his career in 1942 and spent most of it as a foreman in the Laughlin Brothers yard in New Iberia. At the height of operation, Laughlin Brothers had 200 drilling rigs under contract to a variety of oil companies. Manson's job was to supply these rigs with equipment according to their needs. The toolpusher would call in to the yard, tell Manson what the problem was, and then Manson would put together a pack of materials and have them shipped out to the rig.

Item 143: 00143_Downey, Marlan_MMS-History(1999) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston/ History International

Item 144: 00144_Dugas, Harold_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

This was a great and enjoyable interview. Harold Dugas was referred to my by Jimmy Hernandez. I met Harold at his house in New Iberia. We got along really well, and we ended up driving out to see his land camp after the interview. He's got a couple photographs from Cameroon in his scrapbook. We covered the typical topics, and he was able to deal with all the questions quite well. There are particularly vivid descriptions of growing up on the farm and keeping up with homework during the harvest, first day on the rig, great injury story, good description of moving offshore, cleaning the valves into the marsh, problems with new technology, the machine that ties the knots.

Harold grew up in a farming family in Cajun country during the Depression.  He served in WWII and returned to the states to attend college under the GI Bill. Harold worked for Shell most of his life, and thanks to his education, he was able to advance up the job ladder. Like many of his peers, he began at the bottom of this ladder, but with his education, he advanced rapidly through the ranks. The latter part of his career consisted of engineering and construction jobs abroad for Shell.

Item 145: 00145_Duncan, Flora_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Piekielek. Boothville, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had met Flora Duncan the day before the interview, when the coordinator at Boothville Senior Center introduced me to her.  We talked briefly and she agreed to do the interview.  Although she seemed initially a little hesitant at our first meeting, Flora Duncan was more than happy to talk during the interview.  Flora Duncan seemed much younger than many of the other folks at the Senior Center.  She did not seem to find her position as one of the first women roustabouts in Plaquemines Parish for Gulf Oil Pipeline as especially remarkable.

Flora Duncan was born in 1937 in Boothville, where she graduated from high school and has lived her whole life.  She worked a variety of service jobs, until in 1976 she began work as a roustabout for Gulf Oil Pipeline Company. She was the first woman to work in the oil fields for Gulf in Plaquemines Parish.  She remained with the company, which merged with Chevron, until 1993, when knee problems forced her to retire.

Item 146: 00146_Dunn, Pat_MMS-History (1996) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. Pratt; B. Beauboeuf. Columbus, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Patt Dunn graduated from Ohio State with a Masters in Civil engineering and began working for Shell in 1961.  He headed Shell's offshore Design group in 1969. He designed offshore structures for mainly the Gulf of Mexico for 31 years.

Item 147: 00147_Duplantis, Clarence_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Clarence Duplantis was recommended to me by Jerry Cunningham, one of the teacher-researchers in Morgan City. Jerry grew up next door to the Duplantis family, and they've been friends for a lifetime. His experience in the oilfield is not extensive - he spent most of his career in the grocery business - but he did dabble in fabrication for a bit in the 40's and 50's. Because of this, much of the interview is focused more on community issues in general, and less upon the oilfield specifically.  We spend a bit of time talking about the Jimmy Stewart movie filmed in Morgan City, and then discuss the rest of his career in the grocery business. He did send his son into the oil industry, and he also describes some of the impacts of the oil boom on Morgan City - there's a story about how people had to live in big pieces of pipe back in the early days because there was nowhere to sleep.

Clarence was born in Vermillion Parish but relocated to the Morgan City area as a boy. His father was employed by the contractor building the highway and then took a job with the Texas Company. After high school, Clarence opened a little coffee shop downtown, and then he opened a grocery store. In the 40's, he moved to the shipyards operated by Chicago Bridge and Iron and built drydocks. He worked in the shipyards and for a contractor building tanks for Magnolia and then for McDermott, but he left fabrication because of concerns about the working conditions. His health forced a decision to leave.

Item 148: 00148_Duplantis, Elmer_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Elmer Duplantis was born and raised in Chauvin, Louisiana. His father worked for Texaco for nearly 30 years. He received a scholarship to Northwestern State College, but after a year volunteered for the military service where he worked mainly in Europe during the time period after World War Two. He got out of the service in 1948 and got a job with Texaco. In 1949, wanting to better his position in life, he sought and acquired a roustabout position with Superior Oil Company; later he was promoted to roughneck, derrick man, relief driller, and driller. In the early '60s, Superior stopped their offshore drilling operations and he was sent to production as a roustabout and later as a production foreman. By 1976 he had been moved to Lafayette and a year later had a permanent position as a superintendent. Two years later he began working overseas on troubled jobs. After working in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Europe, and seeing Superior bought out by Mobil in 1982, he asked to take a retirement package in 1986. Since being retired he has gotten into real estate. During the interview he discusses what it was like after Mobil bought out Superior, issues related to differing hydrostatic pressures in different regions of the world, changes within the industry and "drilling by the book," his nine years in the production department, and Mister Charlie.

Item 149: 00149_Duplantis, Drusella and Irvin_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Piekielek. Dulac, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Irvin and Drusella Duplantis at the Grand Caillou senior lunch held at the gym near the library in Grand Caillou.  They were both eager to talk during lunch and agreed to meet at their house the following day to do an interview.  They have a home on Grand Caillou Road, a few houses north of the Combon Bridge.  In the front yard they have two porch swings and at least once I saw them on their porch swing in the evening, as I drove past on my way to Houma.

Irvin Duplantis was born in Grand Caillou in 1924.  Drusella Duplantis was born in Chauvin in 1926.  Irvin and Drusella Duplantis were married in 1944 and have lived in Dulac since that time.  Irvin Duplantis worked a variety of jobs, including boat skipper, for various companies, including Tideland Exploration, Wheless Drilling Company, McDermott and Louisiana Land and Exploration (LL&E).  Irvin Duplantis is nicknamed "Bobine," which means "top" in French, because of his high energy level.

Item 150: 00150_Dupont, Edward_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): R. Higgins. Bayou Vista, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Edward was recommended to me by Ray Boykin, who is Ed's neighbor. Though the two of them did not know each other well back in the early days of offshore oil, they socialize now on occasion. Ray told me that Ed helped start the first fab yard in Morgan City and made the initial call to contact Ed. I called Ed the next day and his wife told me to come on over. They live in an old two-story home in Bayou Vista. The walls are covered with family photos and woodcarvings that Ed does. They welcomed me in and excused their messy home, which looked rather clean to me. (Though she participated for a few minutes near the middle of the interview, Ed's wife purposely left us alone for most of it. She left for the casino after talking briefly several minutes into the interview.) Ed made coffee, while I told him more about the nature of the project. Ed and I sat side-by-side at the kitchen bar on stools and started the interview.

Edward Dupont was born in Riceville, Louisiana in 1922, and grew up in Rayne, Louisiana.  During high school he worked with his dad building tanks and rice carts for farmers.  After graduation he went to trade school for a few weeks to learn how to weld, then in 1941 moved to Morgan City to work for Chicago Bridge and Iron Company building a big dry dock with his brothers.  After serving in the armed forces, he returned to his home town and then to Morgan City again where he joined his two oldest brothers at a company they started, E.W. and A.P. Dupont Incorporate, as a foreman, but also did welding, burning, and crane operation.  He also held jobs at Pure Oil Company, where he welded up pressure lines off of a wooden platform offshore; as an inspector; and at a company in Alaska.  He retired in 1990.

Item 151: 00151_Dupre, Dennis D._MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Dennis Dupre lives with his wife at Terrebonne House Nursing Home in Houma, LA. The Terrebonne House's manager, Gail Wink, was wonderful in trying to get the stories of the people who live there. She went through the files and found out that Dennis worked in oil for years and then introduced me. Dennis and his wife were sitting watching TV coverage of the September 11th attacks. Dennis is in a wheelchair due to arthritis but says that he and his wife still work out 3 times a week. Dennis was extremely congenial during the interview and continued to add in bits and pieces of information as he remembered them. He remarked several times that it was amazing that he hadn't thought of his oil career since retiring back in 1973. Dennis said that he would be willing to talk with me again if I had any more questions. He also promised to think more about his time in the oilfield to see if he could remember anything new.

Dennis Dupre was born in 1911 to a farmer. His family lost everything during the Depression and moved to New Orleans.  Dennis began working in the city at age 14 and eventually returned to the country to work at a sugarhouse for $1 a day. In 1935, he began working for Texaco in the oil industry building steel derricks because he could make more money. He stayed in construction until 1960 and retired from Texaco in 1973 at age 62.

Box 3
Item 152: 00152_Dupre, Raymond_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Point-Aux-Chenes, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I got Mr. Raymond Dupre's name from Clyde Hahn in Patterson. Raymond agreed to talk about his work in the oil industry, but both he and his wife made sure I knew that they were not going to say anything negative about Exxon.  Raymond has an extremely thick bayou accent that is difficult to understand at times. He was jovial and welcoming, and after the interview began his wife, Anna Mae, warmed up and began making comments as well.

Mr. Dupre was born in 1928 in Terrebonne Parish; he's lived in the same vicinity his whole life as well. Raymond began work in the sugar refinery where his father was employed and then was hired in 1952 by Humble Oil to work as a janitor on one of the company's quarterboats. After a couple of years he went to work on wildcat rig. When the rig was shut down in 1966, he moved to production. He began as a roustabout and worked his way up to pumper and then mechanic. He retired in 1986 when the company offered packages to many of its employees.

Item 153: 00153_Durocher, Freddie_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Chackbay, LA

Affiliation:  University of Arizona

I met Freddie Durocher at the Halliburton retirees' breakfast in January.  He was one of the youngest members of the club.  At the breakfast, he talked a lot about how much better the marine department was than the land department.  He said you had a better life if you were in the marine department.

Freddie was born and raised in southern Louisiana.  He was in the military for a few years and began working for Halliburton when he got out in 1960.  He was a driver for 4 years until moving up to cementer.  When he retired in 1991, the company had 18 boats and 4 barges.  Freddie retired as a supervisor and still believes that working for the marine department was the best job in the world.

Item 154: 00154_Dyerson, Clyde_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): R. Higgins. New Orleans, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Several people had mentioned Clyde Dyerson's name during interviewers, including Howard Thibodaux and Garver Watkins. They told me that Clyde had worked as an engineer for McDermott from the late 1950s to the early 1990s. Howard told me that Clyde would be a good person to interview. Clyde and his wife live in a very nice, two-story home in a gated community in Metairie. When I came over, Clyde and his grandson were hanging out in the living room with the boy's hamster. Clyde was friendly and welcoming. He and I talked casually for a few minutes in the living room and then went into the kitchen, where we conducted the interview. At one point, his grandson came in and put his hamster in the cage, which was right next to us. The strange clicking noise that appears occasionally on the miniCD is the sound of the hamster drinking from the metal tube in its cage.

Clyde grew up in Kansas City during the Depression. He earned a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Kansas in the early 1950s. His first job was with Magnolia Oil in Lake Charles in 1954. He left Mobil in 1962 and began working for McDermott. He stayed with McDermott until his retirement in 1992.

Item 155: 00155_Edmonds, Jim_MMS-ShipChannel (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Jim Edmonds has held the office of chairman of the Port of Houston Authority since 2000. His is a native of New Mexico and moved to Houston in 1966. He worked in various political offices, including the office of former Mayor Louie Welch, and worked in the private sector before coming to the Port of Houston. He has extensive knowledge about the history of the Port of Houston particular the roll of the early Houston pioneers and the oil industry in developing the port. His greatest accomplishment is developing Bayport Container and Cruise Ship Terminal.

Item 156: 00156_Edwards, C.E. "Chuck"_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mr. C. E. "Chuck" Edwards served in the Pacific during World War II and received his degree in geological engineering in 1949 from the University of Tulsa.  He went to work for Standard Oil of Texas (SoTex)  in Midland, TX and worked on seismic crews in West Texas through 1956.  He became a supervisor in Houston and helped start the company's Seismic Integration Group.  He was also involved in the geophysical research arm of SoCal.  He was assistant chief geophysicist at SoTex until 1962 and then assistant chief geophysicist for SoCal.  In 1964, he became chief geophysicist for Chevron West in Denver.  In 1969 he went back to SoTex as chief geophysicist.  In 1970, when SoTex was shut down by Chevron, he became chief geophysicist for the parent company, a position he stayed in for fifteen years until he retired in 1985 after the merger with Gulf Oil.  Mr. Edwards now works as a consultant.

Item 157: 00157_Elliot, Russell_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Russel Elliot was referred to us by Tom Becnel. When I called him, Russell cautioned me that he had only worked on pipelines for Texaco, and I told him it would be great to get his perspective of the industry. When I arrived at his house, Russell was waiting for me with 6 8 ½ x 14 inch ledger pages of notes about his work. His interview is an excellent overview of Texaco's pipelines in southern Louisiana.

Russel began his career in Houston in 1947 working for The Texas Pipeline Company. He started as an electrical engineer and worked in several states building pipeline stations. He was transferred to Lafayette, Louisiana in 1952 to take charge of the electrical system at the Erath station. In that position, he was responsible for maintaining that system and the installation of the New Iberia system. In 1980 he became the Louisiana District Manager and was in charge of the design and construction of the Houma to LOOP 24-inch line and pump station. He retired in 1985.

Item 158: 00158_Ellzey, E.J. Jr._MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Venice, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

On Bud Latham's suggestion, I looked up Mr. E.J. Ellzey by dropping into the Ellzey Marine Hardware Store in Venice. His son-in-law, Ray, who now owns the operation with his wife, said the 80-year old usually comes into the store in the morning, and that he might talk to me. So I came back the next morning - no Ray, no E.J. I called EJ, and set up an appointment for the next morning. As it turned out, EJ had been visiting his wife in Belle Chasse, where she's undergoing treatment for cancer.

EJ was born 1922 in Jackson, Mississippi, where his father was a lawyer/judge and farmer. The family moved to Plaquemines Parish in 1933, settling on the other side of the river a few miles above Pointe a la Hache. There his father started to grow rice - running a pipe over the levee into the river to draw irrigation water. EJ had 2 sisters and 2 brothers, one of whom apparently died young. The family soon bought up some land in Venice and established a grocery store and post office. They ran a mail boat down to Port Eads, delivering groceries along the way. The father also owned a hotel in Venice. One of EJ's early ventures was road building in Venice using barges and barges of shell. He has 6 kids, one of whom is on the 25th floor of Chevron - a "troubleshooter" with degrees in engineering and business administration.

Item 159: 00159_Eshete, Daryl and Liz_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Daryl Eshete through Ari Anand back in July of 2001. Ari met him at the library where he works and was turned on to the struggles with unionizing the oil field through Daryl. Daryl is from Houma and his family is an old oyster family. Daryl and his wife are highly educated and extremely liberal and have found it difficult to be in Houma but know that their presence is needed. Daryl is active in a local Socialist organization and is active in the political arena in Houma and the surrounding area.  I interviewed Daryl and his wife, Liz, on a Saturday afternoon. It was interesting to get a "young" person's perspective on the crash of the 80's.

Daryl was born in Houma in 1976.  His father is from a prominent, old oyster family.  In the late 60's, his father worked as a trucker for a wireline company.  Daryl's father got hurt in the early 80's and was disabled for the rest of his life. His family went from living to excess to being extremely poor, having to sell their house. His wife had a different story. Her father was involved in the gas business and during the crash he still had a good job. They moved up, as it were, due to the economy and everyone else losing their shirts. They bought a huge house because the prices were so low.  Daryl works at the Terrebonne Parish Library.

Item 160: 00160_Estevens, Bill_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz and D. DiTucci. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

One of three boys, Mr. Bill Estevens was born in New Orleans in 1948. His father was a salesman from Avondale, Louisiana and his mother was from Thibodaux, Louisiana. He spent his childhood and youth moving around with his family in Florida and later southern Louisiana; he graduated from Thibodaux Central Catholic High School in 1966. He spent a year up at Michigan State, but didn't like it, so came back to LSU for a year. In the face of war, assassinations, and no money, he left school and went to work for Hycatector, a mud logging company. After that he worked for year for Magcobar as a drilling fluid sales representative; after finding himself unsuited for the life of a salesman, he went to work for Hycalog. After he left Hycalog in about 1973, he got a job with Nitrogen Oil Well Service Company (Nowsco). In 1974-75, he decided he had enough of that work and enrolled at the University of New Orleans (UNO), where he spent two years in the Communications Department and worked on and edited the school newspaper. After he left school, he went to work for IMCO (part of Halliburton) as a mud logger. He was laid off from IMCO in 1980 and got a job with Exlog (Exploration Logging Company); a year later he received an associates degree in petroleum engineering technology at Nicholls State. During the interview he provides detailed descriptions of the mud loggers jobs and how they evolved over time with increasing technology.

Item 161: 00161_Evans, Orde_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Orde Evans was born in 1922 in Basil, Louisiana. After WWII, he moved to Lafayette in 1947, to work in rig construction. In 1979, he started his own consulting and production company called Oracle, and later expanded his business to Houston and then international markets. He was part of the Energy Committee in Washington, D.C., where they investigated different types of energy. Eventually Evans brought geo-thermal energy to southern Louisiana. An entrepreneur, he also invented many products. He also discusses the changes that the oil industry brought to Louisiana.

Item 162: 00162_Evans, Sam L._MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Sam Evans was a geophysicist/seismologist first with GSI in the 1950s, then with several other companies.  He worked on early seismic crews in the Gulf of Mexico.

Item 163: 00163_Fackler, Dale_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Dale Fackler by Maryann Galletti, Val Rudolph, and Mitch Cancionne. I first contacted Dale in September 2002, shortly after Hurricane Lili had struck Lafayette, and he was busy cleaning up from the hurricane. We agreed that I would get back in touch with him on my next trip to the Gulf. He was very happy to get together at that time, and spent several hours with me sharing his experiences and perspectives. He had a collection of photographs and newspaper articles organized in an album, and he willingly offered for me to copy whatever I wanted from his collection. I returned in early December  to review his materials and conduct a photo interview.

Dale grew up in Ohio. He moved to California two years after finishing high school, where he learned to SCUBA dive. He joined the service and was married. He and his wife returned to Ohio, but they soon made their way back to California where Dale enrolled in the Coastal School of Diving. He traveled to Morgan City with plans to work long enough to earn the money needed to get out of Louisiana. He worked for Ocean Systems, a diving company that had been formed by Union Carbide, until that company was sold to Oceaneering. He worked for Oceaneering until 1983 when he formed his own company, Wet Solutions, which he still operates out of Lafayette.

Item 164: 00164_Falgout, Ted_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Galliano, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Ted Falgout, executive director of Port Fourchon, was one of our first contacts in south Louisiana, when we began the baseline study in 1997. We have tried to maintain contact with him and his assistant, Davey Breaux, during subsequent trips. The interview took place at his office.  Much of the interview focused on the history of the port, from the formative efforts of Senator Rappelet to the countercycle expansion in the 1980's, when oil companies made strategic decisions to consolidate their operations at the port.

After graduating in fisheries biology from what was then the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Ted Falgout got a job with LSU as the first Marine Advisory Agent in the state.  This was a new program being tested by the Sea Grant Program in cooperation with the cooperative Extension Service.  Working with fisheries in Lafourche, Terrebonne and St. Mary's Parishes, Ted got to know the port commissioners for Port Fourchon, who convinced him to serve as the port's executive director.  He has presided over the expansion of the port into a primary staging area for deepwater oil and gas operations.  He and his brother Errol run an alligator farm above the Intracoastal Waterway in Larose.

Item 165: 00165_Fanguy, Floyd J._MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Anand. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Floyd Fanguy was referred to me by Andrew Gardner after a Petroleum Club meeting in Morgan City.  The Fanguys live in central Houma.  We did the interview at the kitchen dining table, where Mrs. Fanguy washed dishes for a while, and then joined in, intermittently, bringing albums of old pictures.  After the interview, the Fanguys asked me where I was staying, and linked me up with a network of folks who rent their rooms out to tourists-mainly French tourists-as part of an effort to revitalize the Cajuns' French heritage.

Mr. Floyd was born in Montegut in 1926.  His father started working for Shell during WWII.  Floyd left high school to join the Air Force and then returned after the war to finish high school and then trade school.  He joined the Shell drilling department in Buras, LA, in 1948.  He began as a roustabout and helped drill Shell's first well at East Bay in 1951.  He then became a welder.  In the early 1960s when Shell got rid of its rigs, Floyd was transferred to production, where the pay was better.  In 1971 he became gangpusher on Shell 65A platform.  He retired in 1989.

Item 166: 00166_Fanguy, Phillip_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Gip Talbot gave me Philip's name and contact information.  When I called him, it seemed like he was really busy.  He agreed to see me, and we met in his office at Duplantis Trucking out on the old blimp base.  Phillip gives a lot of great information concerning the specifics of starting a business. He talks about getting loans, finding money, workers and jobs as well as what kinds of things his company had to do in order to survive as long as they have. Before he began with the company they purchased a mobile crane. Today, renting cranes has proven to be the money maker while the trucking side of things has faltered. Phillip talks about unionizing and what Duplantis offered its employees.

Philip Fanguy got into the trucking business when he married the daughter of Elwin Duplantis, the founder of Duplantis Trucking, in 1957.  Elwin started the company in 1936 with a dump truck and a shovel.  He got into the oilfield trucking business by buying trucks from the New Orleans Department of Sanitation.  Philip and both his brother-in-laws worked for Duplantis, and Philip now runs the company.

Item 167: 00167_Farmer, Warren R. "Dick"_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): R. Carriker. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. Warren "Dick" Farmer was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana. His father was a freight train conductor with the railroad industry. He graduated high school in 1945 and joined the Marine Corps. He studied physical education at Southwestern Louisiana Institute (SLI) on the GI Bill until 1949, but never finished his degree. During that time he worked for Frank Mosing Casing Crews as part of casing crew on a rig and joined the Air Force Reserves. He served in the Air Force as a flight engineer during the Korean War and when he returned he went to work for Hughes Rental Tool Company. He worked for almost five years as a salesman in Lake Charles and New Iberia, before becoming a district manager in Houma. Next he became the southeast manager in Laurel, Mississippi, and then eastern regional manager in Jackson, Mississippi. When he was made central regional manger, he moved to Dallas, Texas. Later on he did work in Denver, Colorado, and London, England. When he returned back to Houston, he was a vice president in the company. In 1990, after 37 years, he retired and moved back to Lafayette. He provides detailed descriptions of how wells are drilled, particularly the function of drilling muds.

Item 168: 00168_Felterman, F.C. "Butch"_MMS-History (2000,2002)

Interviewer(s): Rylan Higgins; A. Gardner. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

We were referred to Butch Felterman by Jackie Paice. In the first interview, which was conducted as a pilot for the study, he talked about boats and his company. Andrew decided it would be a good idea to revisit him and talk a little bit more about his personal history, his company's history, and the history of the community of Patterson. Butch is pretty quiet, and the interview didn't go very long, but there are interesting things in here nonetheless.  Interesting points of the interview include his descriptions of historical Patterson. Also, it is of note that he didn't become involved in the oil industry until well into the 1960s - later than Conrad Industries and some of the other boat companies in the region.

Butch was born in a logging camp on the shores of West Lake Verret. His family moved back to Patterson shortly after his birth, and he eventually graduated from high school there. During the summers of high school, he spent a fair bit of time working on the shrimpboats, and boats became the love of his life. He went to LSU for two years, but he eventually returned to Patterson, bought a shrimpboat, and became one of the youngest captains in the region. He slowly began to accumulate more boats. In the mid-1960s, he had a boat built specifically for service in the oil industry, and from that point forward, his business really took off. He had a variety of boats built and under lease to a wide variety of companies over the years. He sold his company in 1997, and at the time of sale, he had 26 boats in service.

Item 169: 00169_Ferris, R.L._MMS-History (1998) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Lakeaway, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mr. R. L. Ferris graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1941 and started working for Shell shortly thereafter.  He had several assignments in the mid-continent and Tulsa areas before becoming division production geologist for the Oklahoma Division in 1948.  He became Senior Exploitation manager and spent time overseas from 1955-1956.  He returned to the U.S. and served as an exploitation engineer for New Orleans, Midland, and Houston.  Later he was division exploitation manager for the Houston Area.    In 1964 he became head of Production Development in the Hague, returning to the U.S. in 1966 as manager of economics for E&P.  In 1972 he was appointed VP of the Western E&P region.  He served in that capacity until his retirement in 1980.

Item 170: 00170_Fields, Aubrey_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Aubrey Fields was recommended to me by Santo Rousso. I met him at his house in Morgan City. He was a friendly man, but for some reason this interview never really got off the ground. There are a few tidbits in here that cover new ground, but most of his answers were brief.  He talks briefly about the Magnolia company union, about the quality of labor he supervised, and the first Kerr-McGee rigs out on the gulf. He also tells the story of his injury on one of the boats.

Aubrey was born in Morgan City in 1925. After returning from the war in 1946, he got on with Magnolia. He worked on one of the early quarterboats in the galley, worked his way through a pumping and roustabout job, and eventually made his way into production. He retired from Mobil in 1984.

Item 171: 00171_Fitzgerald, Clyde_MMS-ShipChannel (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Galveston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Clyde Fitzgerald is a native of Houston. His father and two uncles worked as longshoremen on the Houston Ship Channel. He started working as a longshoremen in 1959. He worked his way through the ranks and became president of the International Longshoremen's Assocation (ILA), South Atlantic Gulf Coast District, which represents longshoremen union members from Browsnville, Texas, to North Carolina.

Item 172: 00172_Florstedt, Jim_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Jim Florstedt was born in 1944 and his father was in the State Department; the family moved frequently, never staying in a location for more than four years. He received a bachelor's degree from Eastern New Mexico University in geology and zoology in 1967. After graduating Texas Tech in 1969 with a master's degree, he went to work for Humble Oil Company in New Orleans. After spending four years in New Orleans, he quit Humble and moved to Denver where he worked for Tenneco Oil Company. In 1977 he asked for a transfer to Lafayette and has been there ever since. In 1989 Chevron bought out Tenneco; he retired from Chevron in April of 1999. He describes changes in technology and communications over the years and the impacts of regular layoffs in the 1980s and 1990s. Because of poor audio quality, verbatim transcription is not possible on the last 30 minutes of the interview; 10 minutes have been "transcribed" as best as possible.

Item 174: 00174_Folse, L.J._MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

LJ Folse was recommended by Diana Edmonson as the banker with the most extensive experience in the area.  She contacted him and got his approval for an interview.  I met him at his office and we talked for about three hours the first time; in fact I ran out of tape and had to take notes for the last hour.  I later met with him on an informal basis on March 31, when we talked for another four hours.  He is very interested in the study, feels it is important, but also is aware it is an immense amount of work.

LJ Folse is a long term banker in Houma.  He grew up in Thibodaux and considers himself to be "Cajunized" even though he is of German ancestry.  After serving in the Navy in Korea, he completed a degree in personnel management at LSU, and began working for Patterson Industries in 1956.  He started work at the Bank of Terrebonne in 1957, and rose up to Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer.  In 1986 he was the organizing chairman of the First National Banker's Bank.  In 1988, he joined the Premier Bank Group as chief operations officer and stayed with them after their 1995 buyout by Bank One.  In 1998, he worked with a group of local investors to create Coastal Commerce Bank to serve the local community.  At present, he is Chief Executive Officer of Coastal Commerce.

Item 175: 00175_Forrest, Mike_MMS-History (1999) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mike Forrest got his B.S. in geological engineering from St. Louis University and joined Shell Oil in 1955.  He moved through the company and became Senior Geophysicist for the New Orleans E&P area.  It was here that he documented the bright spot phenomenon that changed the way Shell and the industry searched for hydrocarbons. He continued working for various branches of the company with the highlights being from 1965-1975.  During that time he discovered bright spots and was heavily involved in preparing for various Gulf of Mexico lease sales.  In 1978 he became Division Exploration Manager for the Frontier Division, Western E&P, and in 1979, Pacific Frontier Division.  He became General Manager  for Shell Offshore in 1984.  Finally, in 1987 he was elected president of Pecten International.  He served in that position until his retirement in 1992.

Item 176: 00176_Foster, Joe B._MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. Priest; J. Pratt. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Joe Foster worked for Tenneco for 31 years, last serving as chairman of Tenneco Oil Company and executive vice president and director of Tenneco, Inc.  He was born in Arp, TX and received petroleum engineering and business degrees from Texas A&M.  He managed Tenneco's extremely successful exploration and production operations in offshore Gulf of Mexico.  Foster is famous in the industry for opposing the decision of the Tenneco board in 1988 to sell the Tenneco oil company to use the proceeds to salvage some of its less-profitable companies.  In 1989, he founded Newfield Exploration Company, which became one of the top produces of oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico, largely by applying 3-D seismic technology.  He retired from active management in 2000, but remains a highly respected and influential figure in the industry.  He lives in Houston.

Item 177: 00177_Fournet, Robert_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): D. DiTucci. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Robert Fournet graduated in 1952 from Southwestern Louisiana Institute with a degree in geology; during his college years he did some roustabouting and roughneck work. Upon graduating he worked for Superior Oil Company as a roughneck, but was soon called into service with the Navy for a year. When he returned he went to work for Hycalog for two-thirds of a year and then for Eastman Oil Well Survey Company, where he stayed for 10 years. After leaving Eastman, he took a job with Directional Engineers, Inc., where he developed and operated a surveying division for eight years. His wife and he formed the Bob Fournet Company and bought the division he had been operating at Directional Engineers; they ran the company for 25 years, until they sold it in 1996 to a Canadian company. Mr. Fournet stayed on with the company for two more years as a consultant before retiring in 1998. He talks at length about the early offshore industry, particularly about specific companies. He then discusses his own company.

Item 178: 00178_Francis, Antoine R. "Tee"_MMS-History (2003,2005)

Interviewer(s): Scott Kennedy; Joanna Stone; Betsy Plumb. Dulac, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Mr. Antoine モTeeヤ Francis by his sister Corine Paulk. He and his wife told me that he had had a stroke the previous year that made it difficult for him to remember the details of his work and to completely understand my questions. Mary helped us with parts of the conversation, and it seemed to me that he could figure out my questions better if they were asked in French. It appeared to trouble him that he could not remember well enough to give me more information, but we had a pleasant conversation despite some of the communication difficulties.

The second interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry. Tee's sister, Corinne Paulk set up this interview and brought Tee to the church for the interview. This interview focuses mainly on his childhood and the almost five years he spent in the Army during WWII.  During the interview he was wearing a badge designed for Native WWII veterans.

Antoine Francis is Houma Indian and was born and raised in Dulac, Louisiana. Throughout his life he worked as both a tugboat captain and as a fisherman, often following seasonal work. As a tugboat captain he transported barges carrying oil and equipment both in and out of the Gulf of Mexico. He worked for Golper Brothers for ten and a half years without missing a single day, and retired from Western Company at the age of 63. He now lives with his wife in Dulac.

Item 179: 00179_Frazell, W.D._MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): D. DiTucci; S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

W.D. Frazell was born in 1913 in Resell, Texas, a small town near Waco. He received a BS degree at Southern Methodist University and a Master's degree in Geology at University of Texas at Austin in 1935. He worked for United Gas Line Company before going into the Navy during WWII. He moved to Southern LA in 1955, where he was responsible for drilling many oil wells. He also discusses the oil industry's impact on Lafayette.

Item 180: 00180_Frederick, Larry_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. Larry Fredrick was born in 1938 in Abbeville, Louisiana. His father drove truck and later worked for about 40 years for a farm supply company, Victor Supply Company. At the age of 16, he lost one of his legs. After graduating from Mount Carmel High School in 1957, he studied mechanics at a trade school for two years. After that, he sold parts and worked at a service station. In 1964, he went to work for Young Towing, a crew boat company. After work there went sour, he returned to working at a service station. In 1967 he was hired as a crew boat captain by Cajun Marine (later Acadian Marine, then Lafayette Crew Boats). After the company sold out in 1988, he retired for about a year, before going to work for the City of Abbeville's water treatment facility. He quit as a supervisor in 1996. He describes his relationship with his boss and the people with whom he came into contact. He says he would do it all over again in the blink of an eye and that he is satisfied with his life.

Item 181: 00181_Fromenthal, Logan_MMS-History (2004) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. Christy. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Logan Fromenthal was from Morgan City.  He went to the University of South Louisiana in Lafayette and went to work for Shell Oil as a laborer in 1964 at the age of 19.  He worked West Delta Block 30 and West Delta Blocks 105 and 133 and was promoted to gauger.  Mr. Fromenthal transferred to the Domestic Raw Material Supply (Shell's transportation group) and worked there for 30 years.  He worked another two years in production and when he retired was responsible for all of the crude oil storage facilities in Louisiana.  He cleaned up several spills in southwest Louisiana.  He retired from Shell Oil in 1996 and continues to do sales work in the oil field.

Item 182: 00182_Fryou, Lester_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): R. Higgins. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Garver Watkins told me that Lester Fryou had worked at McDermott most of his life and was one of the people hired on in the 1950s. He also told me that Lester would likely be interested in participating in the project. Lester and his wife live in a small home in Morgan City. When I showed up, Lester was the only one home, but his wife showed up part way through the interview. Lester offered me a Coke, and we sat at the kitchen table and started the interview. During the interview, Lester referenced a few of the old pictures that he had, so after the interview, we went into one of the bedrooms and took a look. An entire wall is devoted to various framed pictures of platforms, cranes, and workers, and there are also a few framed certificates indicating some of the awards that Lester has received from McDermott over the years.

Lester was born in 1932 and moved to Bayou Chene as a young child.  He went to work for McDermott in 1951 at the age of 18.  He began as a general laborer on a dredge barge and transferred to fabrication in 1956 when the company opened its fabrication yard in Amelia. He worked as a crane operator until the 1980's when he was promoted to rigger leaderman, foreman and finally superintendent.

Item 183: 00183_Fullerton, Bill_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Bill Fullerton at the divers' reunion on March 10, 2002. Bill was a tender for George "Dog" Taylor, and the three of us spent some time talking about oilfield diving during the 1960s and 1970s and especially efforts to increase safety. Bill agreed that I could call him for an interview and was happy to set up a time to meet. We met at his house in New Iberia. Bill has lived in New Iberia since 1974 and is considering moving back to New Orleans, where he began his diving career.  During his interview he talks about the Bourbon House in the French Quarter, a major diving hangout and important feature  within divers' networks. He also talks about the importance of hurricanes in providing work for divers and his experiences working offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bill's father worked for Gulf Oil Co. After his parents broke up, he was raised by his grandparents in northern Louisiana. He moved to New Orleans in 1960 to take a position at the Times Picayune. When that fell through, he took a job teaching school. He soon met some divers at the Bourbon House in New Orleans. His friends got him a job as a tender in 1962. He then went to diving school in Oakland, CA, did a little abalone diving there, and returned six months later to New Orleans to get into the diving industry full time. He retired from diving in 1980.

Item 184: 00184_Galerne, Andre_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Scottsdale, AZ

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to André Galerne by Jim Doré, the president of the Association for Diving Contractors. André is a former president of ADC and has been on the board of the organization for much of the past 25 years. Jim called André for me from his office in New Iberia, and André was very friendly and agreed to talk with me. André lived in New York for almost 40 years and had moved to Scottsdale in the past few years. When I learned he was in Arizona, I suggested that I could come visit with him some time. André was very amenable to the idea but told me it would be better to wait until the end of November because he was going to Liverpool to speak at the annual meeting of the Historical Diving Society. I waited until December and called to set up an appointment. André remembered our conversation and said he was happy for me to come by. He gave me specific directions to his very large house in Scottsdale. A very old French fountain with a metalwork sign, "les fontaines" let me know I was at the right house.  André is an amiable character with a fascinating history. This interview cannot do justice to his life and experiences; we focused mostly on the origins and function of the ADC and his perceptions of the Gulf of Mexico.

André is 75 years old and arrived in the United States from France, via Canada in 1962. He worked with Jacques Cousteau on Calypso and then found he was more interested in working underwater and started his first diving company in 1952. He started the International Underwater Contractors in New York in 1962. He did not get into offshore work until around 1970 when things got serious in the Gulf of Mexico. He became involved with ADC in 1976 and president around 1980. ADC was formed by a group of five diving companies who were operating in the Gulf and decided to fight unionization. Their goal was to establish standards so that the government would not start imposing regulations on the diving companies. Andre's specialty was in mixing gas for deep diving.  He worked as a consultant for NASA on the Gemini and Apollo space programs. André's company was unionized because it was from New York, and he did not do too many jobs in the Gulf because the divers received such low pay and worked under dangerous conditions. André argued that one of the main reasons he joined ADC was because there were so many accidents in the Gulf that it was affecting everyone's reputation and insurance rates.

Item 185: 00185_Galletti, Mary Ann_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Mary Ann Galletti at the president's reception of the Association for Diving Contractors meeting in New Orleans. Mary Ann's husband, John Galletti, was a co-owner of J&J Marine Services, one of the few Texas diving companies that was able to get jobs in Louisiana in the early days. John was one of the founding members of the ADC. The ADC named an award after John after his death from cancer in 1977. Mary Ann and I talked with a couple of divers and company owners at the reception and then went to dinner later at the motel restaurant. We talked for several hours and arranged that I would interview her on my next trip through Houston. I drove to Louisiana for the July field session so that I could stop at several places on the way back. I called Mary Ann, and she was happy to arrange an interview. We agreed that I would meet her at the office of S&J Diving where she is now employed. We talked a bit at the office while Mary Ann finished up work, and then we went to her apartment. I spent the next two days talking with Mary Ann and going through several large boxes of files that she has from the days of J&J. Though John was the company's owner, Mary Ann ran the office, scheduled the divers, and kept things going. After John's death, she kept the company going for several years until finally selling it to CalDive.  I taped our first two conversations, but Mary Ann was not comfortable with the tape and asked that we talk without it. The latter part of this discussion is recorded only in my notes.

Mary Ann was born in 1938 in Galveston, Texas. She began working at age 10 at a neighborhood store owned by John's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Galletti. John was gone for many years; he was 11 years older than she was and had left Galveston to enter the SeaBees. John returned to Galveston and worked at a couple of jobs before beginning work as a commercial diver. He and Mary Ann were married in February 1956 when she was 18. They moved to Pasadena, Texas in August. Mary Ann had their first of five children in 1957. From the beginning, she worked with John, first helping with billings and repairing gear and later, as the company grew, managing the office.

Item 186: 00186_Galvan, Lionel_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. Lionel Galvan was born and raised in Texas. He went to Texas A&M for about a year and then, not wanting to be drafted into the Army (this was after the Korean Conflict), volunteered for the Marine Corps, where he served as a mechanic/crew chief for four years. After serving, he got his Airframe and Powerplant license from Spartan School of Aeronautics and, in 1961, got a job with PHI, Incorporated in Lafayette. He started out as a mechanic, but worked his way up to crew chief, and is currently a pilot mechanic. He provides a detailed description of some of the work he has done serving the oilfield as a helicopter pilot.

Item 187: 00187_Galvin, Ray_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

A native of Cisco, TX, Ray Galvin graduated in 1953 from Texas A&M University and joined Gulf Oil Corporation.  In the 1950s and 1960s, he served in various natural gas production engineering assignments with Gulf, eventually in 1975 rising to district engineer in New Orleans.  In 1979, he became Gulf's vice president of production, U.S. operations, and vice president of the company's South and East offshore division in 1981.  After the Gulf/Chevron merger in 1985, he became regional vice president of exploration and production for Chevron's domestic oil and gas operations.  He retired in 1996 as president of Chevron U.S.A. Production Company (a position he was elected to in 1992).  A highly visible leader in the industry, Galvin was chairman of the Natural Gas Council and the Natural Gas Supply Association in the mid-1990s.

Item 188: 00188_Garacci, Ben_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Originally from Franklin, Ben Garacci first forayed in the oilfield as a roughneck with Humble Oil in 1948 and worked out of Grand Isle. Wanting to be home at night, he left the industry for a bit, but after he found he made much less money, went back into the industry by taking a job with Rowan Drilling Company. After two years and feeling that he was being passed up for promotions, he took a job with a smaller drilling company; when they looked like they were going to go under, he rehired with Rowan and stayed with them about six years. At that time he hired on with Movable Offshore (later Teledyne Movable Offshore). He started out as a driller and then became a toolpusher, where he spent some time overseas in Nigeria. In 1970 he was promoted to superintendent and later went to Singapore where he acted as project engineer on the construction of a number of rigs. When he returned to the area, he was promoted to assistant operations manager, where he stayed until he retired in 1992, after 30 years with Movable. After retiring, he worked as a private consultant helping to move rigs.

Item 189: 00189_Gardner, Charles "Pete"_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. Franklin, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Pete Gardner and his wife were recommended to me by Clyde Hahn. Clyde suggested Pete would be good to talk to about his career with drilling contractors. I met Pete at his house in Franklin. His wife was there, and both participated in the interview. Clyde was right about Pete - he had a lot to say, and he didn't mince words. He spends a lot of time talking about the negative impact of college graduates on the oilfield, and there's an interesting story about the declining welfare of his brother's drilling business. There are good descriptions of the early fields in the region, and what it was like for Pete and his wife to move around like nomads.

Pete was born in Texas in 1916. In 1934, his brother got him a job outside of Lafayette at the Boscoe field, and Pete went on to drill some of the first holes in a variety of fields in the area. He moved between various contractors before and after the war. He eventually became a drilling superintendent for a drilling contracting company owned by his brother. That company went broke, and he got out of the industry by opening a filling station in Franklin.

Item 190: 00190_Gaudet, Lloyd_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Anand. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Lloyd Gaudet was referred to me by Fr. Freddie Decal of St. Gregory's.  When I called, I spoke only to Mrs. Gaudet, who set up the interview.  The Gaudets live very close to the center of town.  I knocked on the front door and waited a while before going round to the side door, where I was let in after knocking twice.  Mrs. Gaudet watched TV in the living room, while Mr. Lloyd and I went to the dining table in the kitchen. Mr. Lloyd was not very loquacious, and I had a hard time getting him to talk.

Lloyd was born in 1923 in Lafourche Parish.  He was drafted into the Army and served in Europe during WWII.  He returned home to work as a deckhand on a boat for Texaco.  He was laid off and went to work as a cook on a patrol boat, a job he held for some 30 years with Louisiana Land and Exploration.

Item 191: 00191_Gautreaux, Murphy and Arthur "Tuts" and Doucet._MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Larose, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Arthur "Tuts" Gautreaux had been identified by Windell Curole as the head of the Texaco retiree's group in the Lafourche area. I met with him briefly in July to explain the project; he was busy at the time, but agreed to locate other retirees for interviews. Several calls to "Tuts" in September ultimately produced not an interview with oldtimers, but a session with his son, Murphy, and one of Murphy's friends, Keith Doucet (both in their mid 50s).  During the interview, in Tuts' kitchen, Tuts himself had little to say; he worked 32 years for Texaco, primarily as a safety engineer, and now keeps busy as a sales representative for a company dealing in safety equipment. Our initial discussion centered on the enhanced security at that facility following the September 11 events.

Item 192: 00192_Geer, Ron_MMS-History (1997) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. Pratt; B. Beauboeuf. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mr. Ron Geer was born in West Palm Beach, FL in 1926 and received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1951.  That year he began his 35-year career with Shell Oil and became a principal contributor to Shell's overall pioneering offshore technology efforts in developing deep sea floating drilling vessels and subsea wells.  In the 1960s, Geer was Shell Oil's manager of marine technology and also helped found the Offshore Technology Conference.  In 1984, he received the OTC's "Distinguished Achievement Award for Individuals" for his contributions to deepwater oil and gas production technology.  He also was a principal engineering contributor to Shell Oil's ice-resistant platforms in Alaska, Project Cognac, a milestone in fixed platform technology, and the deepwater drilling program conducted by the  Discoverer Seven Seas.  Mr. Geer retired in 1984.

Item 193: 00193_Geist, Lloyd_MMS-History (2003,2005)

Interviewer(s): James Sell; Lauren Penney; Colleen O'Donnell. Gray, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I (Jim) had known that Lloyd Geist was the pioneer aviator in Houma, who set up the first flying service after his military service in WWII.  CJ Christ set up the interview as a way of recording Lloyd's experiences in both WWII (he was a combat fighter pilot) and the oil field.  The interview with Mr. Geist then represents a view of aviation pioneering in the area.  Also present on this interview were CJ Christ, Lloyd's wife Marilyn, and Charles Bush, a friend, who was there and interested.  Also present for part of this interview was Lloyd Geist Jr., who is a pilot who flies for a local lawyer, and perhaps someday would be a good interview on his own.  He promised to try to find his father's old air photos of the area and send copies. Mr. Geist  was identified to be reinterviewed because of his additional military service during World War II. He brought a notebook that listed information on his life during the war and his flight log. The second interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry.

Lloyd Geist started his real interest in aviation from the age of nine, when in 1930 a pair of barnstormers landed in a field near his house.  In return for his keeping the other children off the fabric wings, he was given a free ride.  He continued his interest in aviation through high school.  When he graduated in 1938, he worked as a roustabout for Texaco for a short time.  That same year he joined the US Army Air Corps, but became a mechanic when he found that only college graduates could have pilot training.  World War II changed that and in 1942 he was trained as a pilot.  After serving as an instructor in the US, in 1944 he was placed in a special fighter squadron formed of all pilot instructors to fight in Europe.  Arriving in England in April 1944, his squadron was assigned to P-47 "Thunderbolts" and assigned to escort and ground support missions.  He flew cover over the D-Day invasion, but did little because, he noted, only one German fighter was even seen near the invasion beaches, and he kept his distance.  He did shoot down a German fighter, but mostly flew ground cover for the ground troops.  In November 1944, he and the other two surviving pilots of his squadron returned to the USA, and by winter of 1945, he was released from the service.

In 1946, Mr. Geist opened up a flying school in Houma, giving lessons that could be paid on the GI Bill.  In 1948 he began flying for Texaco.  In 1950, he started Geist Seaplane Service and opened up a base on the Intracoastal Canal.    Most of his work involved "hotshot" flying, transport of personnel, or pipeline inspection for the oil companies.  In 1969, he sold his company to Billy Wurzlow and moved to Colorado.  By 1978 he was back in Houma, flying for oil service companies until he retired in 1992.

Item 194: 00194_George, AL_MMS-History (2002.2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Al George was born in 1928 in Alexandria, Louisiana. His father was a railroad man but lost his job during the Great Depression. As a result, his father resorted to farming to feed his family. After the Depression, he was given his railroad job back. He graduated high school in Winnfield in about 1944 and went to LSU on a football scholarship. At LSU he was in ROTC, studied mechanical engineering, and got married; he graduated with his degree in about 1948. Upon leaving school he had several job offers, but decided to take a position with Humble Oil and Refining even though he knew almost nothing about the oil industry. After three months of working as a roustabout and then roughneck, he was brought into the Crowley office as a junior engineer. Over the next eight years he made moves to New Orleans and Bayou Sale, and then accepted a job offer from Lamb Rental Tools in Lafayette in 1956. After 10 years he decided to venture out on his own and opened a business (Al George, Inc. or AGI Industries) that relied on his hydraulic expertise and problem-solving capabilities. As they developed new products, they also developed new companies such as Sling Shot Incorporated and Sidewinder Pumps. During the interview he talks about early offshore operations, living in the Humble camp at Bayou Sale, the rental tool business, running casing and efforts to make this safer and more efficient, and other tool developments. The first interview ended prematurely and plans were made for a follow-up interview.

In his second interview, he discusses what Lafayette was like when he arrived in 1956, how it has changed, why the oil and gas industry came to Lafayette, things that have aided the development of offshore oil and gas, and the reputation of the oil industry in the United States.

Item 195: 00195_George, Beverly Cowart_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Metairie, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Beverly George at the Desk and Derrick Club meeting in New Orleans in March (see also DA036). She was one of the early members of Desk and Derrick and shared that she had been Doc Laborde's executive secretary. When I asked her if she would be willing to do an individual interview, she agreed and told me to contact her the next time I was in New Orleans. I called her in July and arranged to meet her at her house. We spent several hours talking about her history, went to dinner, and came back and talked some more. Parts of the interview were recorded, but parts she felt were too personal and shared with me just to give me a better idea of life in the days when she was working in the industry. She shared information about her own life and about working with Doc and ODECO in its formative years.

Beverly is from New Orleans. She started working as the secretary for a lawyer and then worked at Lever Brothers. She had an automobile accident and was out of work for about a year and was let go by Lever Brothers. She got a job working for the production manager of Southern Natural Gas in 1953. In that capacity she typed letters, kept regulatory records and permits, and did other secretarial work. She was the only female in an office with about six men. She joined Desk and Derrick during that period. In 1957, she went to work for Doc Laborde, the president of Ocean Drilling and Exploration Company (ODECO). There were about 13 people working in the office when she began; she stayed there until she was asked to retire in 1983. At that time there were over a thousand employees. Though she was one of the few females working for ODECO, she earned the respect of the men. She was given considerable responsibility and was the only woman involved in some of the company's confidential business dealings.

Item 197: 00197_Gibbens, Jimmy_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. Metairie, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Jimmy Gibbens by Jerry Shea in New Iberia. Between the time Jerry recommended an interview with Jimmy and the day of the actual interview, I bumped into quite a few Texaco hands who knew Jimmy, and not a single one of them had a bad word to say. Jimmy used to work for Jerry's grandfather back in the 30's, and their families have been friends ever since. Jimmy and his wife have a nice house in Metairie, a few blocks from the lake. He is by far the most senior oilman I interviewed over the summer, and this is a fine interview on several fronts. There are quite a few valuable sections in this interview, as well as some clear chronologies of oilfield activity.

Jimmy was born in Hopeville, LA.  He comes from an agricultural family and got into the oilfield in 1934 after a storm damaged a lot of Texaco installations. The company hired people to make repairs, and Jimmy worked his way up from roustabout to vice president before retiring in 1980. He knows the equipment of the field, the history of Texaco's exploits in the region, and many of the men who made it all happen.  Most of the men I talked to had fond memories of Jimmy arriving in one of the Mallard planes and talking with the men on the rigs and platforms.

Item 198: 00198_Giblin, Jimmy_MMS-ShipChannel (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Jim Giblin, a native of Virginia, lives in Friendswood, TX. He spent more than 40 years in the maritime industry. He joined the Merchant Marine in 1942 and served on tankers and Liberty Ships during the war delivering oil and supplies to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and the Pacific. His ship, the Stephen F. Austin, was torpedoed off the coast of North Africa in '43, After the war, he took a job with Ogden Marine on tankers out of the Port of Houston. He made his way to captain and eventually became the company's port captain, overseeing the daily tanker operations. After his first retirement, EXXON hired him to be a pollution and safety inspector for their tank handling operations.

Item 199: 00199_Gilmore, Selwyn "Sebby"_MMS-History (2003,2005)

Interviewer(s): James Sell; Lauren Penney; Betsy Plumb. Bourg, LA and Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Selwyn Gilmore was first referred to me by Ed Henry, who knew him from their veterans' organization.  Ed had contacted him and gained his prior approval for an interview in Winter 2003.  He was also recommended by Lloyd Dagenhardt, who considered him a very good friend, whose friendship developed at first by radio contact alone.  I was able to finally obtain an interview just before I left Houma in July.  Mr. Gilmore is in excellent physical and mental shape.  When I mentioned I was from Tucson, he told me he was stationed at Davis-Monthan Airbase just before shipping out with his B-29 squadron to the Pacific.  The first interview itself has a number of references to WWII, and it is clear that there was an intermixing of oil work and war in that period of his life. Mr. Gilmore was identified to be reinterviewed because of his additional military service during World War II. The second interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry.

Selwyn Gilmore is a long-term Texas Pipeline hand.  After finishing high school in 1941 in Berwick, he went to work for the Army Corps of Engineers, building levees.  After war broke out, he continued to work for the Corps for almost a year.  Although a person working for the Corps was "frozen" in his job for the duration of the war, Gilmore started work with Texas Pipeline January 1943.  He was drafted in August 1943 and trained as an aircraft gunner before shipping out to Guam with his B-29 squadron.  After discharge in 1946, he resumed working for Texas Pipeline.  As the pipeline system developed in the 1950s, he moved around with it, working in Berwick, Petersburg, and Paradis, before settling into the Houma/Cocodrie area.  His work ranged from pipeline inspection to tour engineer, relief supervisor, and technical assistant. He retired in 1985 as one of the highest seniority personnel in the company.  His son works for the same company, now owned by Shell.

Item 201: 00201_Giroir, Jake_MMS-History (2001,2005)

Interviewer(s):  D. Austin; Andrew Gardner, Colleen O'Donnell. Morgan City,LA

Affiliation:  University of Arizona

A couple of different people pointed me in Jake Giroir's direction. Jimmy Hebert in New Iberia suggested I catch up with him, as did Lou Trosclair. Jake also participated in our last project in the region, so he was familiar with the team.  He eats breakfast every morning at Manny's, and I bumped into him there. We made an appointment to meet for an interview at his house.  Jake met me at the door, explaining that his wife was sick, so we could meet out back on the covered patio. We started talking, and continued until the tape ran out. I returned later for a follow-up interview based upon a set of photographs he shared with me.  We talked for quite a while about the tasks and duties involved in his various positions, and he told a couple of great stories about the incompetence of some of the company engineers with no real experience. Near the end of the tape, Jake starts to talk about some of the changes to the community and environment in the Morgan City area.  The third interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry.

Jake started work in the 1930's in the area around Morgan City, working for Shell. The company hired him and a bunch of friends to help lead the survey crews around the swamps in the area. His knowledge of the swamps was drawn from hunting and trapping there, and he was a success as a Shell employee. Then he started drilling the Gibson field as part of a crew there, and eventually moved to roughnecking at the West Lake Verret field. He worked a couple of other places, including White Castle and Galveston Bay. Then war was declared, and he joined the Navy.  When he got back, he started in production at Weeks Island.  He moved up quickly through the ranks.

There's a variety of valuable information in this interview, all magnified by Jake's penchant for detailed and witty storytelling. Note that the follow-up interview contains more than just a description of the photographs - we went on to talk about some of the questions we missed in that first interview.

Item 202: 00202_Gisclair, Maxie_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation:  University of Arizona

I met Maxie Giscliar at the Shell retiree's dinner in New Iberia, Louisiana. I was finally able to set up a time for an interview. The Gisclairs live in a nice house in one of the satellite subdivisions in New Iberia. Maxie had a stroke in 1995, and as a result, he has trouble with numbers. His wife sat in for the interview, participated, and helped Maxie through some of the questions.  The Gisclairs talk about the impact of moving around for the oilfield work, and what it was like raising a family under such conditions. There's an interesting section about the Shell training program for engineers. Once that program ended, the engineers were inexperienced, and that was one of the reasons Maxie retired - he was scared. We talk about steam rigs for a while. They talk about what the oilfield meant to Cajun people. There's a great story midway through the tape about pollution, the drinking water, and a pond catching on fire. There's a nice discussion of the conditions from which they came at the end of the interview.

Both Maxie and his wife come from the greater Abbeville area. Maxie went into the service after high school, and when he returned home, he spent two years in college and then started working for a seismograph crew. Through the help of his brother, he was able to get on with Shell. He worked on drilling rigs for a while and then made the jump to production. He stuck with production for much of his career, but shifted to workover rigs at the end.  He retired from Shell at age 62.

Item 204: 00204_Goodroe, Richard_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation:  University of Arizona

Richard Goodroe lives across the street from Burleigh and Molly Ruiz. I had stopped by to visit with the Ruiz family, and Richard stopped in to bring them some fruit from his trees. We got to talking and decided that he would be a good person to interview. He worked for BJ Casing Co. for many years but had experience in many aspects of the oil industry. We set up the interview for the next week.  Mr. Goodroe speaks fondly of some oil field memories but also speaks to the extreme amount of stress that everyone was under the entire time they worked.

Richard Goodroe came from an oil family as his father, Cecil Goodroe, was a big man for Texaco. He grew up in the Bayou region, graduating from high school in Golden Meadow and then moving to Houma after that. His grandfather owned the "Houma Times" when it was still downtown. He worked for Noble Drilling for awhile in 1954 until he went to LSU and then was drafted.  When he returned, his father was working in the Houma District, and company policy required Richard to work elsewhere.  In 1961, he got a job with Kerr McGee as a dispatcher.  The company moved him to Cameron where he worked for 9 months straight with no time off.  He couldn't take that anymore, so he went to work as a roustabout offshore for a couple of months. In 1963, he got a job with B.J. Casing. He worked there for 16 years and then quit because of a disagreement with a boss. He went to work for the competition, Western, as a field foreman offshore.  He retired early in 1999 because of health problems.

Item 205: 00205_Graebner, Robert "Bob" J._MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Dallas, TX

Affiliation:  University of Houston/History International

Robert Graebner spent nearly all of his career at GSI, where he provided a crucial interface between research and operations.  He received a bachelor's degree in engineering physics from the Colorado School of Mines in 1948 and joined GSI the next year.  He became a geophysicist of international stature at GSI.  He held a series of management positions at GSI, including Senior Vice President, President and Chairman of the Board, and Vice President of Petroleum Exploration of Texas Instruments. When GSI was purchased by Halliburton Physical Services in 1988, Mr. Graebner was named Chief Geophysicist with the new organization.  He retired in 1993 after 45 years of service and currently does consulting and is Senior Research Fellow for The Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin. He is recognized as one of the individuals most responsible for the development of 3-D seismic technology in the gas and oil industry.

Item 207: 00207_Gray, Karen_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Thibodaux, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Karen Gray and her mother, Moye Boudreaux, at the Le Fete de Ecolgie festival hosted by the Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program and Estuary Foundation in September 2001. The two women had walked under the tent to rest out of the sun and happened to see our booth. They started talking about their experiences in the oil and gas industry. I asked them if they would be willing to participate in the study, and they said they would. I met with Moye several times (see DA014 and DA023) but had been unable to coordinate schedules with Karen. During this visit Karen was able to meet me during her lunch break at work. Her discussion focused on the problems facing the first wave of women who worked offshore.

Karen is third generation oilfield. Her grandfather moved his family to Plaquemines Parish from Texas in the early days of the oil industry in Louisiana. Her mother, Moye Boudreaux, and father both worked for oil companies. Karen grew up in Houma and started college majoring in geology, but she did not finish her degree at that time. She left college to take a job with the phone company. Then in the late 1970's, oil companies were forced to allow women and minorities equal access to offshore jobs. Karen applied and was hired by Exxon in January 1981. She worked offshore for two and a half years until she injured her ankles and was moved onshore into a secretarial position at half the salary. She remained with Exxon for 19 ½ years, during which time she finished her bachelor's degree and then took a package during the company's merger with Mobil. She used the money to return to graduate school and got her job with the Department of Natural Resources after finishing her degree.

Item 208: 00208_Green, B.T._MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. Metairie, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met B.T. Green in his home in Metairie. He was recommended to my by Jimmy Gibbens, who lives nearby and also worked for Texaco. B.T. was a very knowledgeable participant, and because of his position with Texaco, we covered a lot of ground in this interview that was beyond the purview of many of the other study participants. This interview includes a description of Texaco's early geological procedures, a description of the program Texaco maintained through which personnel destined for corporate jobs went through a training program that involved work on the rigs and platforms, a description of some of the cooperative efforts in which Texaco joined forces with other oil companies, good discussions of the environment and regulation, and of the impact of the oil industry upon the people and communities of southern Louisiana.

B. T. was born in New Orleans in 1920.  His father was president of a company that baled and sold cotton, and he went to a preparatory high school and then on to LSU.  He started as a geologist for Texaco in 1942 and quickly advanced up the corporate ladder. His last formal position with Texaco was assistant division manager, but even in retirement he continues to help out in a variety of ways.

Item 209: 00209_Gremillion, Ed_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Born in 1930 in Port Arthur, Texas, Ed Gremillion was raised in Sunset, Louisiana. His father worked for Humble Pipeline and his mother was a cook. He went to Southwestern Louisiana Institute to study commercial art and then entered the Navy; after his two-year trip was over the Korean Conflict erupted and he was forced to stay in until 1954. In 1956, he went to work as a sales representative for Wilson Supply Company in New Iberia. In 1959 he was recruited by Lamb Rental Tools to open and run a rental tool yard in Marksville. The yard, however, never was built and Gremillion stayed in Lafayette working for Lamb as a sales person. During the interview, to which his wife contributes heavily, he describes flying planes to and entertaining customers, particularly noting his legendary cooking skills.

Item 210: 00210_Grice, Billye_MMS-History (2004)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Billye Grice at the Morgan City Archives in the summer of 2003 when I was there reviewing the archives of the Morgan City Daily Review and the vertical files on the offshore oil and gas industry. Her husband, Jesse, created a business doing oilfield photography in Morgan City during the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s, and she has donated his collection to the archives. She and I began talking about her life, and I asked her if she would be willing to participate in an interview for the history project. She agreed and I promised to come visit her on my next trip to Louisiana.

Billye Grice moved to Morgan City in 1954 with her husband, Jesse. At the time, Jesse was an engineer working for Phillips Petroleum Company and was being transferred to Morgan City. During her early years in Morgan City, Billye was responsible for managing the household. She and Jesse expected to stay in Morgan City only a few years until they were transferred elsewhere. Jesse had studied photography and worked in a studio at Louisiana Tech when he was in college, and he began taking photographs of industry-related equipment and events as a hobby. He began including photographs in his company reports. Word got around, and Jesse began receiving requests for his photography. When he realized he was making more money selling photographs than in his regular job, he left Phillips and started his own business. At that time, Billye was raising children and doing community work. She soon found herself helping with various aspects of the business, from the bookkeeping to working at the retail store. The business suffered tremendously during the downturn of the 1980s. When Jesse passed away, Billye sold the business. She stayed in Morgan City and became involved in other community activities.

Item 211: 00211_Griffin, Abraham_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Golden Meadow, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

After several failed attempts to see Harrison Cheramie, Sr., proprietor of the Port Fourchon Marina/Motel, I drove down there one Saturday. He was there, tending the bait shop he operates at the marina. He asked me who I had been talking to and who else was on my list and scoffed at most of the names (either they didn't know anything, or that they had crossed him over past Port Commission business). He gave me some names but told me to start with his uncles, Abraham Griffin and his younger brother, Jarvis. These guys, he said, actually worked their way up in the fields. So I called Abraham, 79 years old. He told me to meet him at his boat; I met him there, and we went back to his house, about a block away. He had just returned from buying a gallon of paint. His wife was on the boat; Abraham told her to stir the can awhile, or just quit and come home. It was a hot afternoon, too hot to work on the boat - a Lafitte skiff he was preparing for the opening of the skimmer shrimp season in August.

Abraham Griffin quit school at 12 to work on a shrimp boat; he "retired" in 1985 from a career that intertwined contract drilling and shrimping. After that, he only shrimped. While drilling, he worked for a number of contractors; he preferred the old steam rigs to the power ones - they were cleaner. He, like others, was involved in the 1938 shrimp strike that Glen Pitre recreated on film [Norbert Bouziga's wife, 10 years old at the time of the strike, was one of the actors/extras in Pitre's film. She was paid one penny for her work and still has the penny.

Item 212: 00212_Grow, Ira and Cecile_MMS-History (2000,2003)

Interviewer(S): Rylan Higgins; D. Austin. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

While sitting around the breakfast table with a group of the men that meet at Manny's each morning, one of the gang gave me Ira Grow's name and told me to call him. When I did, he was eager to participate. We chatted for a few minutes and Ira told me to come by after dinner the same day. Cecile, Ira's wife, met me in the driveway with a big welcome to her home. Ira and Cecile were both very friendly and talkative. Cecile would lightly smack Ira on the arm each time she made a point that contradicted Ira or when she remember something he could not. Diane returned for a follow up interview in 2003.

Ira started his career in the oil industry in 1950, as an engineer on a supply boat. He eventually made his way up to captain. He left for military service, returned in 1952 and was with Kerr-McGee for 34 years when he retired in 1988. He was injured in 1987. Shortly after retirement, the insurance agent who was handling his injury case asked him how he was doing.

Box 4
Item 213: 00213_Grubbs, C.E "Whitey"_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Baton Rouge, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to C.E. "Whitey" Grubbs by Jim Doré of Global Industries. Whitey had recently retired, and Jim said he was a wealth of information and was considered the father of underwater welding. I met Whitey's son at the 2002 Underwater Intervention in New Orleans when he was there to receive an award for his father because his father had been ill. I told him about the study and that I would like to talk to his father but was concerned because of his illness. He told me to call him at home. After a few rounds of phone tag at various motels and places I was staying, I finally reached Whitey at his home near Baton Rouge. He agreed to a meeting. We met at the Holiday Inn in Baton Rouge. Whitey arrived with a heavy briefcase filled with two large photo albums that he had prepared for our meeting. He talked me through the various projects and achievements of his career. Much of the information is quite technical and requires at least a basic understanding of welding and working under pressure.  I met Whitey again in September for a follow-up and photo interview.

Whitey began his career in 1939 with Chicago Bridge and Iron, worked his way up through that company, moved to CBI Ltd., retired and formed his own company, D&W Underwater Welding Services, and then went to work for Global Divers and Contractors, Inc. He became manager of technical services where he was responsible for supervising underwater repair.  In 1989, he and a group of divers/welders qualified wet welding procedures at 325 feet.  At age 81, he retired from Global as the director of underwater welding research. He is considered to be the father of underwater welding.

Item 214: 00214_Guidry, Anna Belle "Rusty" Daspit, Walt_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Bush, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Rusty Guidry has been a friend of Walt Daspit since they were in school together in Lafayette in the middle 1940s. When I was at Walt's house on July 10, he suggested I should try to get in touch with some of the rig builders and their wives because there are few of them left. Many of them came in from Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas and built the rigs in the swamps, marshes and lakes. When things moved offshore they built the rigs there as well until the jack-up rigs eliminated the need for them. Walt called Rusty and arranged for us to meet her at Carmine's restaurant in Bush. She was at the restaurant when we arrived, and we joined her in a back room. We were the only ones in the room so we were able to talk. She did not mind the tape recorder, so we did the interview before and during lunch. Walt was quiet for much of the interview but commented here and there. Rusty was married four times; her second husband was a rig builder and third one a diver. She met them in bars and has the language and toughness of a woman who bragged that she could take care of herself among the men.  Rusty is candid about living among the rig builders, which she describes as "never dull." What comes through as she relates the stories is the persistent cycle of work, alcohol, and fighting that defined the existence of many rig builders, divers, and other oilfield workers.

Rusty was born and raised in Lafayette. She was born in 1930, and the oilfield she and Walt Daspit knew during their childhood was the one at Lonesome Butte. At that time, Lafayette was a railroad town. Rusty married her first husband at age 16 and was divorced a few years afterward. She met her second husband, "Pie," in 1950 when he came to Lafayette as a rig builder. The rig builders were a rough group, and most of them had served time in the penitentiary. There were six men to a crew, and five of the six in Pie's crew had been in prison. Pie served time in Huntsville, Texas for breaking a man's neck during a fight. Being strong, fighting and drinking were defining characteristics of the rig builders.  After she divorced Pie, Rusty married an oilfield diver.  That marriage eventually ended because of drinking.

Item 215: 00215_Guidry, John Allen_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Larose, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Diane Austin passed me John Guidry's name. He was just retiring at the time of the interview (March 2002). He hadn't gotten used to not working and knew it was going to take some time.

John Guidry was born in 1947 and raised in Larose. He initially wanted to be a fisherman, but found out that it was difficult to make ends meet. In 1965, he trained as a diesel mechanic and applied at several different oilfield contractors. In 1970, he was hired on by Texaco in a field clerical position, and he spent most of his career at Bay de Chene before retiring in 2002.

Item 216: 00216_Guidry, Richard "Dick"_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Galliano, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Dick Guidry was referred to us by many people. Tom and I first interviewed Dick in 1996 when we were spent one month in southern Louisiana working on the baseline study of three Gulf Coast communities. Dick did not remember that visit, but he was happy to arrange to meet for this study. I met him at 8am at his house in Galliano. His wife was present for the first part of the interview, but she left after about an hour to go to her bridge game.

Dick was born in 1930 in south Lafourche. His family was in the grocery business and people congregated around the store, so he grew up exposed to information about what was happening in the area. He got into the oil and gas business when he graduated from high school. He became the youngest state legislator when he was elected to the position in 1951 and became involved with numerous endeavors throughout his career.

Item 217: 00217_Guzzetta, Vince_MMS-History (2004) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. Christy. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Vince Guzzetta was born in Berwick, Louisiana in 1936, a small town across the Atchafalaya Bay from Morgan City. After three years at Louisiana State University, he and his father, Vincent Sr., started a seafood business in Berwick called Deep South Seafoods. He was hired to pick shrimp.  The company also received packaged, processed, and froze imported Mexican shrimp and put them in Deep South's freezers to send all over the United States. In the mid-1960's, when the oil companies moved to Morgan City in large numbers, Guzzetta and his father converted their seafood business into an oil field service company and renamed it Guzzetta Offshore.  In general, they took seismic crews out and carried mud and pipe and other supplies to offshore rigs. They worked in Bahrain and the Middle East, South Africa, Nicaragua, Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, and other sites in the Gulf of Mexico. The company dealt with Geophysical, Pennzoil, Texaco, Conoco, and others.  A Guzzetta and GSI crew were seized in Somalia, causing Mr. Guzzetta to deal with the State Department, Rome and the Somalian government.  The Guzzettas also owned Guzzetta Oil (distributorship for Conoco) and owned seven gas stations in Morgan City area.  They phased out of both Guzzetta offshore and oil in 1990.

Item 218: 00218_Hahn, Clyde_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): Andrew Gardner. Franklin, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Clyde Hahn was recommended by Roy Parr. Roy warned me (Andrew) that Clyde could talk up a storm and wouldn't mince words, and he was right! Emily and I met Clyde at his house in Franklin. His grandkids were down for the week, so we made ourselves at home in the den, and we had a long, interesting, and lively conversation. As one can tell from listening to the tape, Clyde moves fast in conversation, and although the topic of discussion jumped around quite a bit, his ability to tell a lively story is unparalleled. There are some vivid descriptions here of his recollections of the early oilfields he saw as a child. Clyde was sensitive to the environment and pollution from the beginning, and talks about the different attitudes about this subject on the rig. He also talks quite a bit about the changing character of the labor pool from which employees were drawn. We talked briefly about unionization as well.

Clyde Hahn, born in 1927, has been around the oilfield his whole life. His grandfather worked in the oilfields in Illinois, and his father passed through Illinois, Kentucky, and Arkansas on his way to Texas. They were there for the big boom, and Clyde started working on the rigs early. He worked for Standard Oil for a while, squeezed in a little college, and eventually got on with Humble Oil, which would later become Exxon. His choice to work for Exxon instead of Magnolia had to do with a layoff period that Magnolia went through around World War II - he didn't trust them.  He worked in drilling until 1965 and then in production until he retired in 1986.

Item 219: 00219_Hammonds, Charles L._MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Nearly everyone I talked to at the airport said I need to see Charlie, including Earl Hicks, the Houma-Terrebonne Airport manager.  Charlie Hammonds has been in aviation in Houma all his life.  Born in Jennings, LA, where his father died in an oil field accident when he was three, Charlie grew up in the oil fields.  He began washing airplanes at the Houma airport when he was 12 and was a licensed pilot and flight instructor by the time he was 18.  In 1960, he started his own business, Hammonds Air Service, while also earning more pilot certificates (instruments, multi-engine land and sea rating, airline transport, and aviation management degree).  Another aviator noted that Charlie probably has more flying time in float planes than any other pilot in the United States. He also gave me a copy of his paper on the history of the airport.

Charles Hammonds has been operating his own business at the Houma airport since 1960.  He specialized in fixed wing aircraft, especially float planes, and before 1983 operated a commuter airline along the Gulf Coast.  His primary service area was to the inshore oil fields, which were well suited to float plane service, especially before helicopters were strong enough to carry heavy loads.  The float plane/commuter business peaked in the 70's, and was hit very hard in the bust of the mid-80's.  His current business is a fraction of what it was then, mostly pilot training and recreational charters.  The offshore rigs today are serviced by helicopters, not float planes.  We talked about this boom/bust sequence and the history of the Houma Airport.

Item 220: 00220_Harris, Michael "Mickie"_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Grand Isle, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mickie Harris was on Jean Landry's list of contacts. After several messages left on his answering machine, he called me at the motel and we set up an appointment. As it turned out, he had been up in Jefferson Parish court.  Much of the interview dealt with local and state politicians, including the incorporation of Grand Isle so that it could get water and gas service.

Mickie Harris, now 76, was a jazz player from New Orleans who went to several colleges supported by musical scholarships and the GI Bill. After meeting his first wife, he ended up on Grand Isle in 1956 and became the first mayor, serving from 1959 to 1968.  He operated a contracting business including construction of clamshell roads.

Item 221: 00221_Harrison, Henry_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz and D. DiTucci. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. Henry Harrison was born in Arkansas in 1928. In 1936, because of the Depression, his father was forced to abandon his work on his family's plantation and in favor of work in the oilfield. His father was a driller and tool pusher, and the family moved around a lot while he was growing up. He graduated from a high school in Florida in 1946 and went to work as a roughneck. After a year he decided he wanted to be an engineer and enrolled at the University of Florida. Over the next 10 years he continued his study, with a four year break wherein he served in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict; he graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in engineering in 1957. He got an engineering position with the California Company in Venice and stayed there six years before taking a job as a district engineer with Signal Oil and Gas Company in Lafayette. In 1965 he became the district manager for Signal. He remained with the company when it was sold to Burma Oil and Gas (and was vice president of overseas operations for a time), but was fired in 1978 after it was sold to Aminoil. The following year he opened up a small rental tool company with his ex-boss; they sold the company in 1983 after it went bankrupt. After that he began consulting, something he continued until recently, and moved to east Texas. He describes the secrecy and competitiveness surrounding the lease bidding process and hiring employees with experience.

Item 222: 00222_Hartgen, Carol_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Reston, VA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Ms. Carol Hartgen received her bachelor's degree from Georgetown University in foreign service and a master's degree from NYU in economics.  After graduate school she went to work for the U.S. Census Bureau for two years  and then in 1969 took a position as an economist in the BLM working on the OCS program.  She worked variously in economic analysis and environmental evaluation for the BLM and as head of the leasing branch.  Toward the end of her career, she also worked in international activities.  Ms. Hartgen retired in 2000.

Item 223: 00223_Hasenpflug, Harry_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Sugarland, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mr. Harry Hasenfplug grew up in St. Louis and studied geophysics at St. Louis University, graduating in 1954.  He joined Shell Oil out of college and worked in various technical positions in research (seismic processing) and operations (geophysical crews) for the company until he retired in 1989.

Item 224: 00224_Hebert, Betty Roth_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Thibodaux, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Betty Roth Hebert by Kerry St. Pé of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program. Betty is a lifelong resident of Thibodaux and had expressed interest in sharing her history and observations about the area.  I called Betty for an interview, and she was very willing to participate in the study. We met at her house, which is located in the old section of Thibodaux and is next door to the house in which she grew up. Betty collects antiques and occasionally shows her home to visitors as a museum.

Betty Roth Hebert was born in Thibodaux and has lived there all her life except for a few years during World War II when she moved to Shreveport while her husband was overseas. Betty finished college at Southern Louisiana Institute with a major in home economics and minor in chemistry. She married one month after graduation and worked at the Layton Plantation while her husband was in the war. Betty's husband was an instructor pilot during the war and then took a job as a bank teller when he returned to Thibodaux. He retired as bank president. Betty and her husband had three children. Betty worked as a substitute teacher and has been active in community affairs throughout her life.

Item 225: 00225_Hebert, Earl_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Earl Hebert by Steve Shirley. Earl worked in the offshore oil and gas industry for more than 30 years and also held several civic positions such as Justice of the Peace, Port Commission and Hospital Board. We met at his office at Diamond Services in Amelia where he is still working as an office manager. Although he was uncertain that he would have much to offer, he provided important information and insights about the industry and its effects on the communities of Morgan City, Berwick, and Amelia.

Earl was born in Berwick in 1932 and has lived there all his life. He went to work for Diamond Services in 1969. The company was started in 1962 by Wallace Carline. Earl was the office manager and responsible for a wide range of tasks including personnel and purchasing a building. He was with the company when it went public in the early 1970s and again when Mr. Carline took it back seven years later to operate privately.

Item 226: 00226_Hebert, James "Jimmy"_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

James Hebert does the taxes for Susan Lissard, one of the teacher-researchers from the last project. He's a retired Shell employee, and vice-president of their local retirees club.  Points of interest here, including the history of the term "roustabout", some detailed explanations of the process of drilling for oil, the process by which royalties are distributed, the way that separators work, and so on.

James Hebert worked in the oilfield since the 1950s, and has a detailed knowledge of many different parts of the oilfield. He worked his entire career at Weeks Island, so he has a pretty good knowledge of the historical operations there. Most of his experience is in production or other related portions of the industry. Furthermore, he spent several decades managing the secret Shell fallout shelter on the island.

Item 227: 00227_Henderson, Dolores_MMS-History (2001,2003)

Interviewer(s): Rylan Higgins; Diane Austin. Morgan City,LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

During June and early July, when I interviewed McDermott retirees, I would asked them about Black workers who were at McDermott during the early history of the company. Several of the people I interviewed told me that Caleb Henderson would have been a great person with whom to talk, but that Caleb had passed away. I mentioned Caleb to a friend, and she told me that Dolores Henderson, Caleb's wife, could tell me lots about him. Dolores is pleasant, easy to talk to and dons a nearly permanent smile. We sat at the dinner room table, and she brought out a couple old photo albums full of pictures of her husband at work and playing with their children. She offered me a soda, and then I asked her to talk about her husband. She was not sure how to start, but once started, she had plenty to say. Her discussion focused mostly on Caleb and his work and less on their family life. The interview lasted about 45 minutes, and, as I left, she invited me to come back anytime I wanted. In March 2003, Diane contacted Dolores again. Dolores remembered her conversation with Rylan fondly and agreed to be interviewed again, this time focusing on her life rather than Caleb's.

Caleb Henderson joined McDermott after serving in the Navy during WWII and working briefly for the shell plant in Morgan City. He took advantage of the GI Bill to study refrigeration and radio, and he turned down a college scholarship so he could go to work and begin building his own home. Upon recommendation of a friend, he was hired at McDermott and remained there until he retired.  He developed a new technique for loading platforms and was eventually promoted to supervisor, the only black in that position at McDermott in the 1960s.

Dolores was born in Morgan City and lived in the community all her life. She and Caleb raised two sons and one daughter, all of which they sent to college. Dolores credits her mother for her attitudes toward education; her mother wanted her children to have more education than she did. Her mother left school after the third grade and worked as a domestic all her life. After graduating from high school, Dolores went to Baton Rouge to live with her blind uncle and attend college. She fell in love with literature and became involved in oration, so she studied to become a librarian. She married Caleb during this time. When she finished school, few schools were hiring black librarians, so she became a teacher-librarian. She took a job in Slidell and stayed there during the week, returning home on weekends. She got a job in Houma for one year, took a year off to have her daughter, took a job as a librarian in Thibodaux for six years, and then got a job at Hattie Watts High School in Patterson, where she stayed until she retired. Dolores began storytelling after the schools were integrated and the high school was turned into an elementary school. She organized a library and reading program in her home and remains very active in community service. She has been recognized with numerous awards and received The Angel Award in 1996.

Item 228: 00228_Henry Jr., Ed_MMS-History (2002,2005)

Interviewer(s): James Sell; Diane Austin. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Merian Henry at Southdown Museum, where she volunteers.  She recommended that I talk to her husband, Ed, as a person who spent his career working for Texaco.  Ed has a strong interest in Cajun and family history, and is active in the local veterans group.  He also recommended a number of other people to interview. Diane returned for a second interview in 2005. The interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry.

Ed Henry grew up in Montegut, in the area near the original Henry grant from the Spanish in the eighteenth century.  His father was originally a trapper who went to work for the Texas Company in the 1930s as a boat captain.  After serving in the U.S. Army in Burma during World War II, Ed began working for the Texas Company production department in 1946.  He worked in production his entire career, mostly in the Bay Ste. Elaine field, retiring in 1980.

Item 229: 00229_Henry, Merian and Ed_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Piekielek. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jim Sell had interviewed Ed Henry on an earlier trip to Houma and suggested that I get in touch with Merian to see if she might be willing to do an interview as well.  I called the Henrys and after clarifying that I wanted to talk with Merian, she agreed to do an interview.  They have a home in Summerfield, on the west side of Houma, in a quiet neighborhood.  Although I had explained to Merian and Ed both that I was interested in Merian's perspective, Ed stayed for the interview and contributed as well. Merian prefaced her interview by saying that she didn't really know much about the oil field, because Ed rarely talked about work while he was home.  She said that only recently has she learned more about Ed's job and experiences since he has begun telling stories to his grandchildren.

Merian Henry was born in New Orleans, then moved to Houma as a child.  She married Ed Henry who worked for Texaco. Merian received her bachelor's degree in 1958, as part of the first class to receive a four year degree from Nicholls State University. She taught seventh and eighth grade for 30 years, first at the Dulac Indian School, then at Bourg Elementary, and finally in Houma.

Item 230: 00230_Hernandez, Cliff_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Cliff Hernandez was referred to me by Jimmy Hebert. I met him at his house just outside of New Iberia. His wife Emily was there as well, and after the interview we ate lunch. They are a great couple, and Cliff is a great storyteller. He worked for Shell most of his life, and he has a brother up in White Castle who did much the same.  There are some great quotes here about a guy advancing by pimping out his wife to the bosses, a good discussion of the environment and the oil patch, and a description of the work going on in East Bay.

Cliff was born in White Castle, Louisiana. His father ran the ferry across the Mississippi, but Cliff got in to the oil industry the first chance he got. He started working in 1947. He worked as a driller for various contractors, including Harris Drilling, and then finally got on with Shell in 1963. He did a short stint in production, but returned to drilling for the rest of his career. His work for Shell also carried him to Cameroon and Brazil.

Item 231: 00231_Hingle Jr., Paul_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Port Sulphur, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Burt Turlich's neighbor, Paul Hingle, came over to borrow a ladder from Burt during an interview for the history project (see TM030).  Paul mentioned that he had worked for Phillips for 20 years, and agreed to be interviewed the next day.  The interview, and subsequent talk after the tape ended, contains very frank observation of working for a company undergoing the downsizing process - Paul is rather bitter about it. He also discusses community and politics in Port Sulphur, and some of the changes occurring after the schools were integrated.

Paul Hingle, Jr. was born and raised in Plaquemines Parish and is now 50 years old. His father owned a ballroom and a little hotel right down the road from where Paul now lives. After high school, Paul started working for the parish, then became a commercial fisherman, doing that for about nine years. He then worked in the oil field for Phillips until he got laid off in June of 2002, for reasons that he still can't understand. He was looking forward to retiring with the company at age 55. For Phillips, he was a boat captain and field operator, working 7 and 7 shifts. Subsequent to getting laid off, he took a 7 and 7 job with a contract company operating a gas tank battery. He got married after high school, divorced, remarried, and is now a single parent.

Item 232: 00232_Hirsch, Robert_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Navasota, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mr. Robert Hirsch went to Texas College of Mines at Texas Western (later University of Texas at El Paso), and briefly worked for Magnolia in 1953.  He went back to school and graduated with degrees in physics and geology.  He worked for Mobil on seismic crews and geophysical research in his early career.  Later, he worked in various capacities throughout Mobil including exploration manager in 1972.  He left Mobil in 1976 to join Superior.  In 1980, he left Superior to form Conquest Exploration Company where he stayed until 1990.

Item 233: 00233_Hobbs, Fannie_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Bayou Vista, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Fannie Hobbs at the Morgan City Archives when I was reviewing back issues of the Morgan City Review. As I talked with Fannie about the offshore history study, she informed me that she had worked for several oilfield companies. I asked her if she would be willing to be interviewed, and she consented. I met her at her home for the interview.

Fannie Hobbs was originally from Texas, but she moved to Morgan City, Louisiana in 1963 when her husband, Barney, got a new job as Port Steward for a catering company. At the time, Fannie and Barney had four children and another one on the way. Barney was responsible for providing crews for seven rigs but soon his responsibilities grew and he was in charge of 53 rigs, a situation that Fannie is certain contributed to his massive heart attack in the late 1960s. Because of her husband's disability, Fannie had to go to work to support the family. She worked for Avondale Shipyards, Diamond M Drilling Company, Cactus International, and several other companies. She joined the Desk and Derrick Club in 1970 and served as the chapter president in 1980-1981.

Item 234: 00234_Holdridge, Herbert_MMS-ShipChannel (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Herb Holdridge grew up in Galveston, Texas, where his father worked at Todd's Shipyard. Herb joined the Navy V-12 program at University of Texas during World War II and majored in chemical engineering. He started at Amoco in Texas City in 1949 and worked in R&D for 10 years before moving into personnel. He retired from the refinery business in the 1980s.

Item 235: 00235_Holland, D. Scott_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

David Scott Holland, Sr. was a geologist for Pennzoil Oil.  Mr. Holland was born in 1931 in Arkansas.  He attended school in Abilene, TX.  He joined the Air Force and served in the Korean War.  He graduated from the University of Texas in 1957 with a degree in geology.  He worked for the Ohio Company/Marathon for ten years before he joined Pennzoil in 1967.  In 1968, he headed up a major study for Pennzoil of offshore prospects in the Gulf of Mexico.  He worked for POGO as head of exploration and then in 1977 became exploration vice president for Pennzoil.  In 1984, he was made president of Pennzoil E&P.  He retired in 1990.

Item 236: 00236_Howard, Bob_MMS-History (2000) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Bob Howard graduated from Rice in 1959 with a degree in Mechanical engineering.  He began working for Shell that same year.  In 1963 he became a facilities engineer in New Orleans for the Delta Division.  He continued working for that position until 1971 when he became off shore production division manager.  In 1973 he worked in the pinnacle reef play in Michigan. He then was made GM of mid continent in 1975.  In 1985 Shell made him VP of New Orleans area, and in 1991 he was made VP of domestic E&P.  He retired in 1995 He had a strong impact in the Michigan play and C02 project in West Texas.

Item 237: 00237_Hughson, B.B_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. New Orleans, LA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mr. B.B. Hughson graduated from UC-Berkeley and joined Shell Oil in 1942 as an assistant seismologist.  He worked as a seismologist and geophysicist in Shell's New Orleans area, running the marine geophysics group in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  He worked in various Louisiana divisions, but mostly in the marine group, until he retired in 1985.

Item 238: 00238_Huttman, Steve_MMS-ShipChannel (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Galveston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Steve Huttman spent 22 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, serving various capacities in maritime security and rescue. He moved to Houston in 1998 and began at G&H Towing as a mate on a harbor tug. He is currently the Port Captain for G&H Towing, a harbor tug business that operations a feet of 28 harbor tugs from Corpus Christi to Freeport and the Houston/Galvston Ship Channel. The fleet performs ship assist, particularly for the pilots bringing in large oil tankers and container ships.

Item 239: 00239_Hynson, Tom_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Schriever, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Tom Hynson by Willie Brown. Tom and Willie dove together for many years; Tom told me that Willie was one of the best divers in the business. Tom, too, had a long and successful diving career. When I called, he was happy to set up an interview, and we ended up spending an entire morning talking about his work and then looking at photos. We selected some of the photos to scan and did a photo interview after the regular interview was concluded.

Tom was born in Marshall, Texas in 1935. He moved to Louisiana in 1956 to work as a rigger for McDermott. His cousin was a rig builder, and Tom worked with him for a short while. However, he discovered he did not like high places and that divers made more money, so he went to California in 1957 to go to diving school. He returned to Louisiana and began his diving career working for Don Inman and Brown & Root out of Buras. He also did freelance diving and stayed in the business until 1986 when he became a deckhand and spent his next ten years working on boats.

Item 240: 00240_Jackson, H.L._MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met H.L. Jackson at the Exxon retirees luncheon with Andrew Gardner. After our talk he was one of the first ones to come up and ask to be interviewed. He said he'd been involved in the oil field for a long time and had a lot of stories to tell.  He and his wife Shirley both talk a lot about what it was like to live in the camps for so long in such a little town. Their descriptions of community and their teenage daughters' lives are vivid and full of details.

H.L. was born in Texas in 1923.  His father had worked for Humble in the early 1900's. After his military career (he was in Okinawa in 1945) he worked for contract companies until he could find a stable job. In 1947 he began working for Humble on a drilling rig offshore. In 1955 he was transferred to Grand Isle. H.L. and his wife Shirley raised 2 daughters down there.  H.L. Jackson retired in 1983.

Item 241: 00241_Jackson, Pierre_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. Berwick, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Pierre Jackson is an African-American male in his early 60's. He was recommended to me by his former boss at Texaco, Bill Williams. In the years prior to the possibility of Blacks working in the oil fields, Pierre was a shoe-shiner at a local barber shop. He was well known by many around town, and when the time came for Texaco to start hiring Blacks, they brought him in.  He wasn't willing to directly address the difficulties of being Black in the oil field.  He knew most of the fellows he worked with from his days at the barber shop, and he notes that he didn't go out there to start trouble - he went out there to work. He also was injured on the job, and although some of his friends tried to talk him into suing the company, he didn't.  He provides a description of the conditions of this work in the early 1960's for various contractors and yards in the Morgan City area, and loading mud offshore. We talk a little bit about what it was like managing roustabouts as a black man, and we also talk about the quality of labor that worked at the plant in the later years. He also describes the difficulty of being a family man with an oil field schedule.

Pierre Jackson was born in 1934 and raised in the greater Morgan City area.  He worked at a barbershop and in a variety of capacities related to the oilfield prior to his employment with Texaco in 1967.  Once employed with Texaco, he worked at the Bateman Lake plant and then moved to company's new cyrogenic plant in 1973.  He was promoted several times and was a member of the local union.  He was one of the first African-Americans to work in the oilfield.

Item 242: 00242_Jacques, Jesse des_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. Jesse des Jacques was born in 1934 in south Louisiana. His father was a truck driver. He joined the Navy in 1954 and when he got out in 1959, he went to work for Halliburton. He started out as a cook and then took a job as a marine service operator (MSO). He worked for Halliburton for 26 years before taking an early retirement in 1986. In all his working years, he never had a land job.

Item 243: 00243_Jefferson, David_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to David Jefferson by Rose and Chuck Joseph. David was one of the first blacks hired to work offshore, and he had a very successful career with Texaco. After several attempts to coordinate our schedules, we arranged for an interview on January 7. David's wife was sick in bed with the flu at the time, and during the interview he commented that he, too, had the flu. He was nevertheless very animated throughout the interview and had lots of information to share.

David finished high school and went to work for Martin Chemical because his wife's father worked there. He was laid off after one and a half years, drew unemployment for six weeks, and then got on with Allied Van Lines in Lafayette. He drove for about a year and then joined a friend who was working for Bienville Furniture out of New Iberia. He stayed with that job about six years and was then able to get a job with Texaco in 1967. He was hired as a land roustabout and was the only black person on his crew. He learned that he would have to work on rigs to advance within the company and then requested a transfer to a rig. A month and a half later he was working on rigs, and within five years he had advanced first to derrickman and then to relief driller. Soon he advanced to driller, and in 1980 he went offshore as a drilling supervisor. He returned to work on land in the early 1990s when he was sent to West Texas to supervise a crew there. He retired in 1999 as a drilling supervisor for the offshore district.

Item 244: 00244_Jett, Jimmy_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): R. Higgins. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jimmy Jett was born in Morgan City, Louisiana in 1924; he attended grammar school there and before high school, his parents moved to Greenville, Mississippi.  After graduation, he enlisted in the Navy, and was on a submarine in Pearl Harbor.  He completed two semesters at the University of Kansas while in the Navy and then was discharged in 1946.  He moved back to Morgan City and got a job at a gas station.  Jobs were hard to find, but his persistence (and personal connections) paid off within a year and he got a job at Mobile.  He worked at Mobile from 1946 till his retirement in 1985, working his way up from being a dishwasher, holding jobs as a boat operator, boat engineer, barge captain, crane operator, construction foreman, production supervisor, and marine supervisor.

Item 245: 00245_Johnston, Clyde_MMS-History (2004) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. Christy. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Clyde Johnston was born in Norplet, Arkansas and his father worked for Texaco for 48 years.  The Texas Company transferred Mr. Johnston's father to New Iberia, Louisiana.  Mr. Johnston grew up in that area and got a degree in business administration from Southern Louisiana Institute in Lafayette (now ULL).  He worked for Bethlehem Supply Company in Morgan City and south Louisiana many years .  He began as a clerk for Bethlehem and then worked as a field salesman.  He later became assistant manager in Leeville, Louisiana and then regional manager.  He also worked for Ralow Oil Field Supply.  Mr. Johnston retired and then went back to work for Red Adams at Oil and Gas Rentals in Amelia, Louisiana.

Item 246: 00246_Joseph, Rose and Warren "Chuck"_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): Lois Boutte; Diane Austin. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Rose and Warren "Chuck" Joseph had participated in the 1998-1999 study of the impacts of the offshore oil and gas industry on individuals and families in New Iberia and Morgan City. I called Rose in July to tell her about the history study, and she had me call Chuck at his job at the funeral home. He was interested in participating in the study, and we arranged for me to stop by his house to talk more. I spent an evening with Rose and Chuck as they discussed the industry and its impacts on their family and on the black community in New Iberia. They suggested several other people who should be included in the study, and we agreed that I would return later for a formal interview. I contacted the Josephs in September, but between the hurricane and their niece's campaign for district judge, they were too busy for an interview. I contacted them again in November, and we set up the interview. Though Chuck is officially retired, he works part time at the funeral home and also prepares rolled turkeys. When I arrived at their house, he was working to finish an order for a couple who were coming by that evening. Rose and I sat in the living room and he joined us later in the evening. Ellen Placide, one of the teacher researchers working on the project, joined us shortly after we began.

Rose and Chuck are from New Iberia. They knew each other in high school and married when Rose returned to New Iberia after finishing teacher's college. She worked for the school district for 31 years. When he first started out, Chuck went to the barber's college, and he opened up a shop in New Iberia. In 1965, he began trying to get a job in the oilfield and, in 1971, when Texaco started hiring blacks, he was offered a job. For the next 15 years, he worked for Texaco and continued to work at the barbershop in his time off. He started with Texaco at the lowest level and worked his way up to gas lift operator. During the cutbacks of the late 1980s, he was bumped back several times and then forced to take early retirement.

Item 247: 00247_Kaigler, Kenneth_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz; David DiTucci. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Born in 1929 in Weslaco, Texas, Mr. Kenneth Kaigler went into the military service after he graduated high school in 1946. He then went to Texas A&M University, where he graduated with a degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering in 1952. During the last two years of college, he roughnecked for Humble Oil and Refining. Upon graduating he went to work in Venezuela as a drilling engineer for Venezuelan Atlantic Refining Company (Varco). He moved to Lafayette in 1957 to work for British American Oil Producing Company, where he worked as a drilling and production engineer until 1964. Over the next five years he was a offshore drilling engineer for ODECO in New Orleans. Not liking living in New Orleans, he came back to Lafayette to work for Signal Oil and Gas Company. In 1973, he became a manager for C and K Petroleum. In 1978 he took a job with Tenneco Oil and worked off Rhode Island and in Trinidad. After that he was transferred to Marlin Drilling Company where he worked as a rig manager in Brazil. In 1987 he formed his own consulting business that deals with oilfield-related insurance claims and litigation. During the interview he discusses the explosion of offshore drilling during the mid 1960s due to increased demand for oil and gas, as well as technological advances that made deeper water drilling possible.

Item 248: 00248_Kennedy, Altha Lee_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Altha Lee Kennedy is a life-long resident of Lafayette and is the sister of J. C. Chargois. She was born in 1915 and began working for Sun Oil in 1942 as a stenographer. She worked for them, making her way up to personal secretary, until she retired in 1970, when Sun Oil merged with Sunray DX. Throughout the interview she stresses that Sun Oil was family oriented when she worked for them, but is no longer like that. She describes how oil business moved into Lafayette during the 1930s and the town, particularly the location of different things, during that time period. She provides a vivid description of the floods that inundated the area in the late 1920s.

Item 249: 00249_King, Craig_MMS-ShipChannel (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Craig King was born and raised on the Texas City Ship Channel, where his father worked as a welder at a refinery. He graduated from the Texas A&M Merchant Marine Academy in Galveston in 2000 and went to work in the industry. He has traveled to most of the ports in the US and worked on a dredge boat in the Chesapeake Bay before coming back to Houston to work for G&H Towing Company. In 2003, he was assigned to work as a First Mate on the Harbor Tug "Shannon," one of only 2 tugs working on the Houston Ship Channel that are equipped with new "Z-Drive" technology for assisting large tankers and LNG ships into port.

Item 250: 00250_King, Earl Jr._MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Earl King, Jr. during the family study in 1999. He was very open and willing to talk about the alliances that were being formed at the time and how they were affecting the trucking business. When I called Earl about participating in this study, he was pleased and said he would be glad to help. I arrived to find him in his office, and we sat near the receptionist's area to talk.

Earl has been the owner of King Trucking and in the oilfield business for 33 years. He got started in 1967 and considers himself a newcomer, but he knew the guys who got the oilfield trucking industry started.

Item 251: 00251_Kleinpeter, Huey_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz; David DiTucci. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Huey Kleinpeter was born in 1924 and grew up down on the bayou, six miles out of Plaquemine. His father rambled out West in the oilfields a bit, before serving during World War One, and then making a career as a river pilot. Starting in high school, he worked summers on boats (e.g., towing timber in the Atchafalaya swamp) to buy school clothing. His two older brothers dropped out of school early to go work on the river, but he stayed in school and graduated in 1942. After graduating, he registered to go to Louisiana State University (LSU) to become a civil engineer, but received his draft notice. While waiting to be officially drafted, he worked as a timekeeper in Kansas City Bridge Company's Plaquemine yard. He ended up serving in the Navy on the USS Detroit in the Pacific. He went back to working on the boats with his father when he returned in 1946, but after finding out he could not get his pilot's license because of his eyesight, he decided to change trades. He went to work again for Kansas City Bridge Company, where he had various jobs including assistant payroll master and ironworker; during that time he also worked on the Big Inch Pipeline. After six or so years with them, he was laid off, and in 1956 he went to work for an independent producer, Temple [Hall Grove?], as a gauger in the Choctaw Field. He also worked as a roustabout for a time, but then decided to quit and returned to construction work as a welder. After leaving construction work, he went to work for a company (that was later bought out by Midland Enterprises) for about 11 years as a shipyard captain and port captain. At the age of 55, he went to work for BSF in general maintenance and retired from them 11 years later in 1990. The first half of the interview consists of them looking through pictures mostly from offshore construction work he did during the 1950s and 1960s. Throughout the interview he describes the various jobs he has had related and not related to the oil industry.

Item 252: 00252_Kleinpeter, Lee_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Lee Kleinpeter's daughter-in-law was one of the researchers in the family impact study we did in New Iberia in 1999, and Lee was interviewed during that study. He was very willing to be interviewed again. I met him at his office at Cajun Wireline Services in New Iberia.  He then asked to do a videotape interview of his company and the wireline equipment.  His nephews played a major role in the interview.

Lee began in the wireline business in 1947 when he went to work for Otis Pressure Control in New Iberia. He worked for them from 1947-1952 until he had had enough of working offshore and started working for Shell at Weeks Island. He was convinced to go back to Otis again and then resigned again and went into business with Perry Decuir to begin Klein Deco Wireline Company. That company grew to have over 160 people working for it but was sold in 1976 to Schlumberger. Several years later, Lee began Cajun Wireline Service.

Item 254: 00254_Knox, Gloria_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

In 1906, Gloria Knox was born in north Louisiana (Coushatta) to a family of teachers; her father sold Singer sewing machines and her mother was a teacher. When she graduated from Shreveport High School at the age of 16 she went to business school. After which she was hired as the first women for The Texas Company. She met and married her husband in the company; her husband was their wildcat drilling superintendent. While her husband was moved around, she worked in the office for a variety of companies, including MacMillan, Federal Petroleum Company; all the time she studied gas cards, which led her into doing land title work. They settled in Lafayette when her son was nine years old in 1935. Around that time she was the landman for American Republics. She was one of the committee members who urged Mister Heymann to build the Oil Center. During her interview she discusses the development and impact of the Oil Center, the way that the Heymanns and the oil industry have made Lafayette what it is today, and female landmen.

Item 255: 00255_La Borde, Alden J. "Doc"_MMS-History (2005)

Interviewer(s):  Diane Austin; Betsy Plumb. New Orleans, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Alden "Doc" Laborde is the founder of ODECO. He also served in WWII, so he was interviewed for the study of the connections between WWII and the offshore oil and gas industry. I contacted Doc at his office, and he agreed to be interviewed. Betsy Plumb of the National D-Day Museum and I met him at his office for the interview.

Alden "Doc" Laborde was born near Alexandria, Louisiana, the son of a school principal. Like others in his town, when he finished high school he enrolled at LSU where he joined the ROTC. He entered Annapolis in 1934, graduated and served as an ensign from 1938 to 1940. He then returned home and remained in the reserves until WWII began. At that time he was called back to the Navy and remained there until the war ended in 1945. Upon his return, Alden got a job working on a seismic crew and then took a job working for Sid Richardson Oil Company on a barge in the marsh. He used the opportunity to learn about drilling and then in 1948 was hired by Kerr McGee as director of marine operations. During his four years with Kerr McGee, he became convinced that offshore drilling should be done from a movable unit. When he could not convince others at the company, he quit and went in search of partners. With backing from Murphy Oil Company, he founded Ocean Drilling and Exploration Company (ODECO) and built the first movable offshore rig, named the Mr. Charlie. He remained with the company until Murphy merged its drilling and exploration companies and sold its rigs to Diamond Offshore.

Item 256: 00256_La Borde, John P._MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. New Orleans, LA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

John Laborde, brother of Alden "Doc" Laborde, founder of ODECO, was the long-time president and CEO of Tidewater, Inc., the undisputed worldwide leader of the workboat business.  Born and raised in Marksville, LA, LaBorde served in the Army Infantry in the South Pacific during World War II.  He returned to LSU after the war and worked as a Lawyer for Richardson and Bass until 1956, when he agreed to become president of Tidewater, a company his brother was organizing.  He was president of the company until retiring in 1994.  At 78, he remains on the board and is still active in the business.

Item 257: 00257_Lambson, Alfred_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Alfred Lambson was born in Lawtell, Louisiana, in 1917. His father was born in Massachusetts and raised in Chicago; his father moved to the area in about 1910 when he got a 40-acre piece of property in a lottery; his father later worked for the Federal Land Bank. After a year at Western Illinois University, he came back to Opelousas in 1936 to be a secretary for his father in order to make money to get married. Through this work he made contacts with land men and, attracted by the work and money, went to work for an independent land broker, Mr. R. L. Whitlow, in 1937 and moved to Lafayette. After Whitlow died in 1940, he went into the brokerage business for himself, where his French language abilities gave him an advantage. During World War Two he entered the service and served three and a half years stateside. While waiting to be discharged, he roughnecked for a month or two on a drilling rig in south Texas. When he came back to Lafayette in 1946, he went to work for another broker and after nine months had made quite a lot of money. He really wanted to drill wells as an independent operator, so made a deal with a consulting firm, Bates and Cornell, that would allow him to learn from them in return for doing their land work free of charge. After doing that, he partnered with his brother-in-law (Sam Bennett), a petroleum engineer, and for 26 years they promoted, drilled, and operated a number of land wells. When the partnership broke up, he continued along in the same line of business by himself.

Item 258: 00258_Lampton, James M._MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Cold Spring, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Jim Lampton graduated from LSU with a degree in geology and joined Shell in 1951.  He had worked part time while in school in a lab, and Shell hired him as a paleontologist.  After the 1962 federal sale, Lampton moved to research.  Later in his career he spent time in Michigan, South and Central America and Indonesia.  He finally retired in 1981 after 30 years of service.

Item 259: 00259_Landry, Jean Sylvia_MMS-History (2005)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Thibodaux, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jean Landry works for the Nature Conservancy and is an active member of many southern Louisiana organizations and civic boards. She was recommended to us as an excellent point of contact for Grand Isle and helped us identify and arrange interviews with people from the island. However, she had never herself been interviewed. I called her and explained that I was interested in interviewing her and she agreed. We met at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux.

Sylvia Jean Baugh Landry was born in Arkadia, Florida. Her father was a drilling roustabout until 1963 when he went into business for himself running B & J Wireline. From age 2 to 15, Jean and her family moved from place to place in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. She moved to Grand Isle, Louisiana in 1962 and remained there to this day. When her father started his company, her mother went to work for him as a bookkeeper and Jean helped in the office. Jean graduated from high school and realized she wanted more education, so she enrolled at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux where she studied secretarial services. She met her husband when he was home on leave getting ready to go to Korea. They married when he returned. Jean's husband worked first as a drilling roustabout and then got a job with Continental Oil Company; he worked a 7 and 7 schedule for 15 years. The couple had and raised four children. They also started a diesel rental business and developed a trailer park, both of which Jean managed when her husband was offshore. In 1980 Jean went to work for an optometrist,  then for the Grand Isle Tourist Commission, and finally as manager for the Nature Conservancy.

Item 260: 00260_Landry, Patrick "Pat"_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Grand Isle, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Pat Landry was "volunteered" to our project by his wife, Jean, whom I had met briefly on an earlier project while she was working in the Chamber of Commerce office in Cut Off. She is now running the Nature Conservancy operation on Grand Isle and has provided us with a list of local contacts. The Landrys operate a bed and breakfast on the island, in the compound where Pat grew up.

Pat Landry is 64 years old; his grandchildren are the 7th generation of Landrys on Grand Isle. His father and grandfather were oystermen; his great grandfather was a farmer. After graduating from high school, Pat went to work for the Texas A & M Foundation's research project on the island and adjacent Grand Terre, studying the effects of oil activities on oysters and the coastal environment. "Project 9" generally absolved the oil companies of blame for oyster mortalities, and in the process, discovered "Dermo," a viral fungus affecting oysters. The researchers wanted Landry to pursue a degree in marine biology, but he opted to go into the oil business. He retired in 1996 as Conoco's Grand Isle base manager.

Item 262: 00262_Lastrapes, William Dudley_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): D. DiTucci. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

William "Dud" Lastrapes was born in New Orleans, but moved to Opelousas, Louisiana when he was about three weeks old. After graduating from high school there in 1946, he went to Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now ULL) where he completed his degree in 1950. He worked in radio broadcasting for a few months before joining the Air Force in early 1951. When he returned, he went back into radio for six months, before joining Channel 10 (KOFY) TV. In 1970, he left the station and went into banking and later insurance. In 1972 and '78 he was elected to the school board. From 1980 to '92 he served as mayor to Lafayette. From 1990-92 he sat on the MMS board as an appointee of President Bush's. In 1992, he was elected to a two-year term as State Chairman of the Republican Party. Since that time he has done health and life insurance in Lafayette. During his interview, he discusses in-depth the local Republican Party and some of the things he dealt with during the economic down and upturns the community experienced while he was mayor. He particularly describes the local utility system.

Item 263: 00263_Latham, Bud_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Madisonville, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Bud Latham, owner of Bud's Boat Rentals in Venice until a couple of years ago, had been contacted earlier by Diane Austin. I interviewed Bud at his home in Madisonville, on the North Shore. He has a large pond in the front yard, which he stocks with catfish.

Originally from Mississippi, Bud Latham started as a roustabout in Cameron, then went over to Venice in 1953 as a roustabout with a contractor.  A job opened up with Chevron, and Bud took it.  Working for an oil company was thought to be the best job, but he found himself working twice as hard, with a cut in salary, so he quit and went back with the contractor. He bought a 32 foot shrimp lugger and put it to work for McDermott, which had a contract to lay a 30" pipeline from Southwest Pass to Larose. At one time, Bud's Boat Rentals had 32 boats, from 105' crewboats down to 26-27 foot utility boats, and the company was well known throughout the Gulf. He went through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1984 but recovered. He sold out to Mr. Gary Circovich, a local, because of frustration with the Coast Guard, the huge costs of insurance - companies requiring $5 million on a boat - and an increase in frivolous injury claims.

Item 264: 00264_Laws, Verdie_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Patterson, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Verdie Laws by Steve Shirley. Verdie moved to Morgan City in 1958 when her husband took a job at Cameron Iron Works. She raised two children and went back to work in 1978 after she and her husband were divorced.  She worked at Oceaneering for nine and a half years and was laid off in 1987 when the oil and gas industry hit a low. She then had several jobs both in and out of the oil and gas industry but preferred working in the industry. She continued working full time until 1999, ending her career working for a boat construction company.

Item 265: 00265_LeBlanc, Herman_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Cocodrie, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I received Herman LeBlanc's name from Diane Austin.  She had received his name from Jerome Zeringue.  Herman was said to be related to the Lapyrouse family of Cocodrie who opened a general store back in the 30's and 40's.  We decided to meet at the general store as I had never been there before.

Herman worked on boats all his life.  In 1955, he began working on crew boats full time.  He made captain in two years and was working with his father from then on.  He and his father started up a boat business running crews and supplies to the rigs.  All of the initial jobs were inshore jobs; in 1960, he began running boats offshore, mainly for Exxon.

Item 266: 00266_LeBlanc, Joseph_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Joseph LeBlanc was born in 1939 and raised in Abbeville, Louisiana; his father was a salesman and died when he was 13 years old. After graduating from high school in 1957, he went to college at Northeastern where he studied pharmacy, then transferred to USL and studied chemistry. He tired of school after two years and enlisted in the Army. In 1962 he went to work for Cardinal Wireline Company in New Iberia; over the next nine years he worked his way up from helper to senior operator. At the request of Union Oil of California (Unocal), he went to work for them in 1970. He retired in 1997. He provides details of his first job offshore, accidents, the relationship between offshore operations and the MMS, and he reflects on working in the industry, his choice to retire, and the impact offshore work has on workers' families.

Box 5
Item 267: 00267_Le Boeuf, Harry and Gladys_MMS-History (2003,2004)

Interviewer(s): Diane Austin; Jamie Christy. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona, University of Houston/History International

I (Diane) was referred to Harry LeBoeuf by John Ryan. Harry goes to the exercise club where John's wife works out, and he and John sit, drink coffee, and talk. I called Harry on New Year's Eve, the day he got out of the hospital after having stents in his arteries cleared. He was in the shower when I called, and his wife, Gladys, told me to call him back in a half hour. He was happy to meet with me, and we scheduled the interview for the 2nd and said he would be feeling fine. When I arrived at his house, he told me he did not know if he would have much to say but he was willing to tell me what he knew. Of course, that turned out to be quite a bit. I invited Gladys to join us, and she listened through most of the interview and then participated when we started talking about the effects of the industry on the community. Jamie Christy returned to reinterview Harry in July 2004.

Harry was born in Houma-Montegut, Louisiana.  His father was a fisherman and a trapper.  Harry graduated high school in Houma then went into amphibious operations in the Navy in 1944.  He participated in landings at Okinawa and Iwo Jima.  After World War II, Harry came back to Montegut and began working for Texaco, which he continued throughout his entire career, beginning in February 1948 and retiring in September 1987. He began as a roustabout, advanced to gauger/pumper onshore, and then moved offshore where there were more challenges and more money. In 1962, he was Texaco's first pumper offshore, and a couple of years later he became the company's first production foreman, a job he retained until about 1974. In that year, he moved into Texaco's offshore district office in Morgan City as production supervisor in charge of all Texaco offshore production. After retirement, Harry contracted for Texaco until 1992. Harry's wife, Gladys, worked as a schoolteacher throughout her career, moving from her hometown in Montegut to Morgan City in 1975. Gladys began teaching during WWII when teacher shortages were acute, and she continued in that profession until her retirement.

Item 268: 00268_Lee, Arthur_MMS-History (2002,2005)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin; B. Plumb; R. Higgins; L. Penny. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Arthur Lee by Earl King, Jr. Earl owns and operates King Trucking in Morgan City and told me that Mr. Lee had worked for Mr. Patterson of Patterson Trucking, one of the earliest oilfield trucking companies in the area.  Though it took several months to coordinate our schedules, Mr. Lee was happy to be interviewed and asked me to meet him at Saadi's Haberdashery, where he is currently employed. The second interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry.

Arthur Lee was born in Abbeville on a rice farm, but his father moved the family to Texas when he was only two years old. His mother died when he was 16, and two years later, when his father remarried, Arthur moved to Lafayette to be near his older brother. There he began working and enrolled in Southwestern University. He finished college in January 1943 and spent three years in the Pacific during WWII. When he returned, he worked for a furniture company until being recruited to Houma to work for Mr. Patterson in his trucking company. Although the elder Mr. Patterson died in 1952, Arthur stayed with Patterson Trucking until he retired in 1986. During that time, the Pattersons also operated a mud and chemical company, a pipeyard, and a rental tool company. Four years after retiring, Arthur began working part time for Saadi's Haberdashery and is still employed there.

Item 270: 00270_Le Fort, Pershing and Ophelia_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Larose, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Cullen Curole, an attorney with the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program's Foundation, had been organizing a focus group of Texaco retirees. Cullen himself had once been a Texaco employee, before he crashed a boat into the Texaco dock in Leeville. Pershing Lefort agreed to participate, but wanted to be interviewed at his home in Larose. His wife Ophelia participated in much of the interview.  The interview covered Pershing's jobs with Texaco, some observations on the company's financial troubles in the 1980s, and the retirement process. There are also observations on the coming of the industry to Golden Meadow. Pershing's father had to move house and family up to Galliano after a well blew out in the late 1930s.

Born in Golden Meadow in 1924, Pershing J. Lefort was a lifelong Texas Company man, working in production at several of the company's fields run the Harvey and Houma districts. He served in the Army in the Pacific during World War II, took advantage of the GI Bill to get a degree from Lafayette, then after additional service in the Air Force and several years working on drilling rigs, got on with Texaco. His last job was to develop an experimental tertiary recovery process using CO2 at the Paradis field. His wife Ophelia is an accomplished artist, painting local scenes on materials such as oyster shells and muskrat-drying boards.

Item 271: 00271_Le Jeune, Houston_MMS-History (2004) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. Christy. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Houston LeJeune was interviewed on the history of Sun Oil.  He went to work for Sun at the age of 18 in 1945 in Opelousas, Louisiana and worked for them for nearly 29 years.  He worked around Sunset, Galveston, Padre Island, Laguna Madre, Bay St. Louis, and many other places in Texas and Louisiana.  Mr. LeJeune came to Morgan City in 1948.  He performed primarily seismic work for the company and relates laying shot and the difficulty of working in the swamps.  He remembers special problems with blasting caps and power lines.  Mr. LeJeune was drafted in 1951 for the Korean War (Air Force).  He remembers a big change in leadership and Sun Oil. He says workers in the early days were measured by "integrity."  He discusses the Great Depression, WWII, and the oil boom and bust.  He was 77 years old at the time of the interview.

Item 272: 00272_Lewis, Hartwell_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Hartwell Lewis was referred to us by Tom Becnel as, simply, a banker.  I interviewed him at his home, where he has an office.  The interview covered a number of topics related to business in Houma and Hartwell's activities as a venture capitalist, lending money to companies that had trouble borrowing from banks. He prides himself on building these companies up to the point where they can approach standard lenders.

Hartwell Lewis came to Houma in 1950, as an accounting machine salesman, traveling a 5-parish area. Born in Abbeville, he spent a summer in high school working for a drilling company as a roustabout. After high school he went into the Navy, and served in Navy intelligence.  He returned to get a business administration degree at Southwestern (ULL).  In 1954, living in Houma, he was offered a job managing an insurance agency, and began a career as a venture capitalist, loaning money to struggling companies. Mr. Lewis is active in the Houma Rotary Club, serves on local boards such as the YMCA, and has been named a Citizen of the Year.

Item 273: 00273_Lirette Sr., Eugis "Shorty"_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Theriot, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Corine Paulk knows Eugis Lirette's wife, Penny, from church.  Penny was born in 1964 while Eugis was born in 1932. They are expecting a child in late November of 2001. Eugis is very hard of hearing, which made the interview a little difficult as I had to yell most of the time and he misunderstood a lot of what I said the first time around. Penny sat in and helped clarify some of the questions she knew he couldn't understand very well. Eugis was willing to answer my questions but did not give extraneous information.

Eugis is from southern Louisiana and graduated from high school in 1950.  He worked for a towing company until he went into the service in 1953.  After leaving the Army in 1955, Eugis Lirette started on a crew boat for Superior Oil.  The next year, his brother got him a job as roustabout on a drilling rig.  He worked his way up from roughneck to tool pusher, sustaining a serious injury to his hand in the process.  He worked for several smaller companies such as Pool, Bateman Drilling Co, and Southern Louisiana Drilling Co. He worked for Pool just over 17 years and retired in 1995.

Item 274: 00274_Lirette, Melvin_MMS-History (2001,2002)

Interviewer(s): Andrew Gardner; Emily Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I got in touch with Melvin Lirette through Burleigh Ruiz. He worked with Melvin's brother Bill for many years. Burleigh called Bill who said that he thought it would be a good idea for him to be present for the interview. Burleigh was going to come along as well but ended up having plans on the day that the first interview was scheduled. I drove up to a modest, yellow house with a boat parked out back to find Melvin sitting on the front porch waiting for me. Melvin is the oldest of my interviewees thus far, and has one of the best memories.  The first CD of the first interview was lost due to battery trouble. The second CD sounds good and still has a lot of good information on it. The second interview also consists of two CD's, both of which are clear but difficult to decipher in some parts. The second interview deals mainly with clarifying information from the first interview.  Melvin swears like a sailor, still doesn't take any crap from anyone, and is one of the kindest people I've met. He can still remember names and block numbers of some of the rigs he worked on and tells stories as if they happened yesterday. Melvin talks extensively about unionizing as well as some of the "bad" times in the oil field during the 50's.

Melvin was born in 1910, began the oil field in 1929 and retired in 1975.  He was 91 years old at the time of the interview.  He began work in the oil field at age 19 in 1929. He began with Abercrombie as a contract worker but then was hired as a regular hand by Texaco, or "The Texas Company," as he knew it most of his life. He worked as a driller for 46 years and retired in 1975. He comes from the generation of people who didn't have any education except for life itself. During the interview he said several times that the best measure of a man was how hard they worked. He retired during the boom era and got a good retirement plan.

Bill Lirette is Melvin's younger brother.  He was born in 1919, began in the oil field in 1949 and retired in 1983. He is only 85 years old and worked for Texaco his whole life as a mud engineer. The first interview does not have a lot of information about Bill on it. The second interview has extensive information about mud engineering, including, but not limited to, the different weights of the mud, the pipes, wires and machines associated with mud engineering and the amount of school/training necessary to be a mud engineer. He is a jovial guy who obviously loves his brother (he calls him Old Man) very much. He tells stories; they almost come off as legends, about Melvin's antics in the industry as well as how respected he was by the men who worked under him as well as the bosses. Bill is a very opinionated man who is not afraid to tell you what he's thinking.

Wayne Lirette is Melvin's son who also retired from the oil industry. He retired in 1998 from Texaco.  He worked as a compressor mechanic for most of his career. The first interview second CD has a lot of Wayne's opinions about unions, blacks and environmental regulations. Wayne was not present for the second interview.

Item 275: 00275_Lirette, Melvin, Wayne and Bill_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): Emily Bernier

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Item 276: 00276_Lirette, Melvin and W.F. "Bill"_MMS-History (2001,2002)

Interviewer(s): A. G. Emily Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I got in touch with Melvin Lirette through Burleigh Ruiz. He worked with Melvin's brother Bill for many years. Burleigh called Bill who said that he thought it would be a good idea for him to be present for the interview. Burleigh was going to come along as well but ended up having plans on the day that the first interview was scheduled. I drove up to a modest, yellow house with a boat parked out back to find Melvin sitting on the front porch waiting for me. Melvin is the oldest of my interviewees thus far, and has one of the best memories.  The first CD of the first interview was lost due to battery trouble. The second CD sounds good and still has a lot of good information on it. The second interview also consists of two CD's, both of which are clear but difficult to decipher in some parts. The second interview deals mainly with clarifying information from the first interview.  Melvin swears like a sailor, still doesn't take any crap from anyone, and is one of the kindest people I've met. He can still remember names and block numbers of some of the rigs he worked on and tells stories as if they happened yesterday. Melvin talks extensively about unionizing as well as some of the "bad" times in the oil field during the 50's.

Melvin was born in 1910, began the oil field in 1929 and retired in 1975.  He was 91 years old at the time of the interview.  He began work in the oil field at age 19 in 1929. He began with Abercrombie as a contract worker but then was hired as a regular hand by Texaco, or "The Texas Company," as he knew it most of his life. He worked as a driller for 46 years and retired in 1975. He comes from the generation of people who didn't have any education except for life itself. During the interview he said several times that the best measure of a man was how hard they worked. He retired during the boom era and got a good retirement plan.

Bill Lirette is Melvin's younger brother.  He was born in 1919, began in the oil field in 1949 and retired in 1983. He is only 85 years old and worked for Texaco his whole life as a mud engineer. The first interview does not have a lot of information about Bill on it. The second interview has extensive information about mud engineering, including, but not limited to, the different weights of the mud, the pipes, wires and machines associated with mud engineering and the amount of school/training necessary to be a mud engineer. He is a jovial guy who obviously loves his brother (he calls him Old Man) very much. He tells stories; they almost come off as legends, about Melvin's antics in the industry as well as how respected he was by the men who worked under him as well as the bosses. Bill is a very opinionated man who is not afraid to tell you what he's thinking.

Wayne Lirette is Melvin's son who also retired from the oil industry. He retired in 1998 from Texaco.  He worked as a compressor mechanic for most of his career. The first interview second CD has a lot of Wayne's opinions about unions, blacks and environmental regulations. Wayne was not present for the second interview.

Item 277: 00277_Little, Gary Don_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Don Little is the father of Christi Triche, who was one of the teachers who started with the study.  We met at Christi's house, and the interview was designed to give her an example of how to do the work.  Don has worked for Halliburton most of his career.

Don Little left college after marriage in 1972.  After working in highway construction for two years, he was able to get a job with Halliburton in Enid, Oklahoma.  At first this was stimulation/fracturing, but by 1975 he was cementing wells.  In 1977, he transferred to the Gulf Coast to cement wells.  In 1981, he was running well service tools for Halliburton in Houma.  In 1986 he went offshore doing cementing.  By 1992, he was an office supervisor, and in 1999 was supervising integrated services, in charge of drilling rigs and workovers.  As company units changed through sales and mergers, he felt it was best to transfer back to the cementing unit, which he saw as the core of Halliburton's business.

Item 278: 00278_Loftin, Lillie_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s) E. Bernier. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I received Lillie Loftin's name from P.J. Trahan while talking about the upcoming Exxon retirees luncheon.  She was in charge of organizing all of the Lafayette members for the event.

Lillie was a secretary in the oil industry for over 30 years.  She began working for Exxon in 1955 in Grand Isle and stayed there for four years.  She was transferred inshore to New Iberia and then on the Lafayette due to a slowdown in the oilfields.  She married her husband in 1961 and quit her job when she got pregnant, taking time off to raise her kids.  She returned to Exxon in 1972 and retired from the oil industry in 1986.

Item 279: 00279_Long, Bob_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Bob Long was recommended to me by Jerry Cunningham, one of the teacher-researchers in Morgan City. Bob is a retired African-American oilfield worker, and he's missing both his legs (unrelated to oil work). He lives in a small but nice house off one of the alleys near downtown.  He quickly described the segregation common in Morgan City in his youth. Bob got started out in the oilpatch a bit earlier than most Blacks in the area, because he was employed by one of the contractors. He is knowledgeable about other Blacks working at the same time, the kind of things they did, and the kind of hurdles they faced offshore. There are stories here about sleeping on the mud barges, rumors of Blacks getting thrown off the rig, and many descriptions of what it was like out there for Black men. His descriptions are vivid and heart-wrenching.

Bob was born in 1934 in the Morgan City area when segregation was common.  At the time, Blacks were not allowed in the Gulf as fishermen, shrimpers, or any other purpose.  In 1954, his father started working as a diesel mechanic on boats serving the oil and gas industry.  In 1961, Bob began working in the oilfield as an electrician doing contract work.  When he was sent offshore for 5 days, there was nowhere for him to stay, because at that time Blacks were not allowed offshore.  He remained in the industry, working for companies such as Service Marine and Cameron Iron Works until his retirement in the mid-70's.

Item 280: 00280_Long, Miner_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Miner Long working for Shell shortly after he graduate with a degree in physics from Oberlin College in 1948.  He took Shell's geology training course and ended up on a seismic crew.  He went back to school and did work at John Hopkins in geology, and after graduating in 1953 he rejoined Shell as an exploration geologist.  He served as in Denver, Tulsa, Pittsburgh, Houston, Lafayette, and New Orleans during his career.  He joined the offshore division in New Orleans in and took part in the 1967 lease sale.  Shell tapped him to be chief geologist for offshore in 1968, and he served in that post ion until 1976.  He became Shell's fist general manager of geology in 1977 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1984.

Item 281: 00281_Looper, Robert "Bob"_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Z. Toups. Golden Meadow, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

A friend of mine, Brent Duet, who owns a shipyard in Golden Meadow, dealing with large boat repair, told me of Mr. Robert Looper and his history with the oil field.  I asked Mr. Duet if he would contact Mr. Looper regarding possibly speaking to me about his experiences during his many years of employment with Chevron.  After being told that he would like to speak with me, I contacted him by phone to introduce myself and explain the purpose and procedure of the interview. He was very friendly and willing to tell his story.  I later called him to set up a definite date and time.  I interviewed him in his home in Golden Meadow where he lives alone with his dog, Fluffy.  He was very friendly and willing to elaborate on detail when requested.  My husband, Philip Toups, accompanied me to the visit to Mr. Looper's home.  You may hear him at times, on the tape, commenting on Mr. Looper's conversation.  Mr. Looper has been retired since 1987.  He has taken an interest in local history and genealogy, although he is not originally from this area.  He has put together several books on local history and families of this bayou/gulf area. Mr. Looper did not have any photographs on hand to share with us.  He reported that he has donated his photos to the local library and will try to send some to me to include with his recorded interview.

Mr. Looper's career with the oil industry began in 1946 when a friend told him that The California Company was looking for engineers to work offshore. His first job was as a first assistant engineer on the first off shore structure in Bay Marchand (Platform A).  Mr. Looper did not actually work on the rig itself, but worked on a converted World War II vessel, called a Landing Ship Tank (LST), which was tied up to the rig and supplied the rig with necessary equipment and supplies. Later he became a chief engineer on the same vessel. Mr. Looper's account describes what the ship looked like and its purpose and significance.  Later he was promoted to assistant to the manager of the marine department in Harvey and again later was moved to Leeville where he remained until his retirement.

Item 282: 00282_Lowry, Rufin T_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Rufin Lowry was born on February 20, 1921 in Jackson, Mississippi. He graduated from University of Mississippi Law School, practiced law for a year, but left in 1947 when he got a job with Pan American Production Company in Lafayette. He mostly handled land issues for the company. In his interview, he discusses the Oil Center in Lafayette, Louisiana Mineral Law, and the impacts of the oil industry on Lafayette.

Item 283: 00283_Lucas, Ed and Juliet_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Ed Lucas was born and raised in Texas. His father worked as a pump station operator for the Texas Pipeline. In 1943, at the age of 18, he was working as a welder in Houston when he went to work for Texas Pipeline in south Louisiana. They moved around the New Orleans area quite a bit, before settling in New Iberia in 1957. During his career with the Texas Pipeline he was essentially a welder, but later got into inspecting and supervising construction maintenance. He retired in 1985, as third in command in south Louisiana. During the interview he describes laying pipe offshore, and discusses safety, education, and natives and oilfield trash.

Juliet Lucas was born and raised in south Louisiana to two prominent families in the area. She met Ed Lucas while going to nursing school in New Orleans; they married in 1948, at which time she was not allowed to continue her studies. During their marriage they had four children. At the age of 46 she went back into nursing. They have a son who currently works as an oil traffic coordinator for the Shell Pipeline (which used to be the Texas Pipeline) and another who is a prominent teacher and counselor in New Iberia.

Item 284: 00284_Macnab, Alistair_MMS-ShipChannel (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Captain Alistair Macnab is from Scotland and begin his maritime career with a Scottish Steamship Company. He spent 29 years in the international shipping/trade business, spending most of his later years working from the USA, including serving as company port captain in New Orleans in the late '60s. With the emergence of containerized cargo, his Scottish shipline left the USA market and relocated to Europe; Macnab married a Yankee and stayed behind. He took a job at the Port of Houston with the Greater Houston Port Bureau and has served as its director for 9 years. He is on the board of directors for the Houston Maritime Museum.

Item 285: 00285_Manzolillo, James_MMS-ShipChannel (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Jim Manzilillo, a native of Pennsylvania and U.S. WWII Merchant Marine Veteran, is the founder of the Houston Maritime Museum. He owned and operated a ship building company for the Mexican Government and for the United Nations. He is a naval architect and world traveler.

Item 286: 00286_Marin, Rufus_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): D. DiTucci and S. Wiltz. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Rufus Marin was born in New Iberia, Louisiana, in 1921. His father worked as a ticket agent for the railroad before owning a grocery store and working as a salesman. His first job in the oil industry was in the Red Fox Machine and Supply Company office, where he worked for about a year; his sister also went to work there and was the assistant to the boss for 44 years. In 1955, he went to work for his cousin at Laperouse Abstract Company, where he learned how to abstract land titles. They worked together for four or five years in Vermillion Parish; for the next 30 years he stayed with the company, working all over south Louisiana. When work slowed down in 1991, he was laid off and went to work on his own. He retired in about 1999, but has continued to do some contract work during the summer. During the interview he provides detailed explanations and descriptions of the abstracting process and the way that land ownership, royalties, and minerals rights work in Louisiana.

Item 287: 00287_Marmande, Bob R.H._MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Theriot, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was put in touch with Mr. R. H. Marmande through Phillip Fanguy and Billy Coyle. They knew him from being a successful business owner and tool inventor in the oil field. He owned 2 tool companies at different times during his oil career.  He was extremely knowledgeable about the history of offshore commissions and mineral rights. He was also very matter of fact about the damage that has been caused to Louisiana's coast line as well as how the state got in the predicament it did. He had some pictures that he took out of the old tools, boats and rigs and we talked about them at the end of the interview.

Mr. Marmande was born and raised across the street from where he now lives. He was in the Navy for 4 years and would work at Texaco when he was at home. He went to college on the G.I. Bill and earned a petroleum engineer's degree. He decided to work in the service industry supporting the ever-growing oil field. The first business he was involved with was Delta Iron Works. He worked for that company for 30 years and then started his own business, Dolphin Construction, in 1980. He retired in 1997 when he sold his business.

Item 288: 00288_Marquardt, Earl_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. Earl Marquardt was born in western Kansas in the late 1920s and was raised in a family of six on a cattle farm. Facing few job opportunities, he went to work in the newly developed Hugoton oil and gas field in Kansas. In the late 1950s or early 1960s he was transferred to Lafayette. He was a district superintendent for General American and was charged with overseeing the whole Gulf Coast. He retired from the company in 1984 when Phillips Petroleum bought out the company. Over the next two years he worked as a district engineer for First Energy in Houston. After leaving that position, he began consulting, a practice he continues today. He describes how the oil and service industries made Lafayette what it is today and how the industry, particularly in terms of loyalty and trust, has changed. He ends the interview by describing his one and only experience with a blowout, noting how he felt helpless when he saw the well on fire. Unfortunately there were audio difficulties during the first portion of the interview and there are no notes describing what was discussed.

Item 289: 00289_Martin, Jimmie_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Galliano, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Jimmie Martin by Ronald Callais, Weber Callais, and Wilbert Collins, all during the same week, after not hearing of him before in the project. I called the office; his secretary located him on a cell phone and she immediately called by back to set up the interview for the next morning. We talked in his office, one filled with a marvelous collection of duck carvings, a large desk with a display case containing carved fishes, and several photographs of a modest shrimp skimmer where he entertains clients and shrimps for fun.

After the interview, we toured the office, where he showed me photos of the type of junk they pick up, and walked me through the storage area where he keeps his inventory of nets used to clean up and certify removals. He invented the "gorilla net," a large-mesh trawl net worked from one of his 3 shrimp trawlers to remove debris. He got the idea from an Irishman he met at a boat show, so the mesh is probably one used in deepwater trawling and seining in northern waters. He has a patent on the net, but admitted to having trouble enforcing it through the courts.

Jimmie Martin has three lines of work - cleaning up and certifying platform removals in waters up to 300 feet, which is the depth to which the Federal Contingency Fund covers [for damage to fishing gear/boats], running 3 utility and 2 crew boats, and building and renting (occasionally selling) portable crew quarters for rigs and platforms, quarters that conform to Coast Guard fire and safety regulations. The "B" of B and J Martin is his father, Beauregard.  His father was born in Galliano, went to work for Texaco, went to the war, and returned home to enter the Coast Guard.  In the mid-50's, he built a shrimp trawler which he later converted to an oil field vessel.  Jimmie stayed in fishing until 1977 when he expanded into his current line of work.

Item 290: 00290_Masters, Roy_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Roy Masters at the Halliburton breakfast in Houma.  He had interesting stories about what it was like to work in the swamps after he had been used to dry land for so long. 

Roy was born in 1932 and began working in the oilfield in 1951.  He is from Texas and worked there for 13 years before being transferred to Houma in 1968.  He worked his way up to supervisor before retiring in1985.  He is now in the used car business.

Item 291: 00291_Matherne, F.J._MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Bourg, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I got F.J. Matherne's name from his niece, Sue Olin. Sue is a friend of Corine Paulk's and active in Indian Education. F.J. has turned out to be my best contact and a friend as well. I was at his house doing the second interview the morning of September 11. He and his wife, Mavis, were extremely helpful, kind and supportive on an extremely difficult day.  Sue Olin had informed me that F.J. was quite a character, and he didn't disappoint! We started off the first interview with F.J. telling me a couple of jokes, the majority being slightly dirty in nature. F.J. is a smallish man with a twinkle in his eye that you catch as soon as you are welcomed into his modest house with a beautifully manicured lawn. The next thing one might notice is the lack of digits on both hands. He is missing the middle finger on his left and part of his pinkie on the right hand. He received the first injury during the first couple of years in the oilfield and was out for 3 months. The injury precipitated his move into production from drilling where he began.  F.J. is a prolific storyteller remembering smells and colors as if the events had happened yesterday instead of 50 years ago. He has some wonderful stories about working with WWII German prisoners on a sugar cane farm where his daddy was an overseer. He and his brothers were all born near the house where he still lives today in Bourg, LA. He loves to travel and work in his yard. He also gardens a lot and is active in his church, which happens to be the same church that Corine attends.

F.J. Matherne began working for the oil field in 1952 as a roughneck for Laughlin Brothers and Southern 6. He began working for Texaco in 1956 starting off as a roughneck. He went into production after his finger got cut off on some air tongs in 1960. He worked his way up to gang pusher. His last 3 years at Texaco he was a barge foreman on a clean up barge.  F.J. retired from Texaco in 1987.

Item 292: 00292_Mattei, Larry_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Larry Mattei was born in 1939 in New Orleans and raised in Houma, LA. Mattei earned a degree in Engineering from Southwestern Louisiana Institute in Lafayette. He discusses employment with Texaco, Magcobar, and Superior Oil who was bought by Mobil in 1985. His work often interfered with family life, but he ultimately enjoyed working with the oil industry.

Item 293: 00293_Mayon, Terry_MMS-History (2004) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s) J. Christy. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Terry Mayon is from Morgan City, Louisiana.  His grandfather went to work for The Texas Company in 1925, and his father went to work for Texaco in 1945 and then for Kerr-McGee.  Mr. Mayon worked for Kerr McGee for 22 years.  He was also an air-traffic controller for many years.  Mr. Mayon specialized in safety at Kerr-McGee and discusses World War II veterans in the oil field, accidents, unions, and women and Blacks in the oil field.

Item 294: 00294_McCord, Jack_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Jack McCord was born in Austin, Texas, and spent part of his youth in Houston. Beginning in 1949 in Houston he worked for Tidewater Oil Company, for Tennessee Gas as a geological draftsman, and for an independent oil operator. He moved to Lafayette in 1962 to go to work for his wife's father, who owned Gulf Coast Rental Tools. However, when his father-in-law died six months later, he got into the lease brokerage business. During the 1980s, in response to demand, he opened up an abstracting section in his company. He remained a landman until he retired in about 2002. Transcribing ceased 48 minutes into the interview due to poor audio.

Item 296: 00296_McCully, Jack_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(S): Emily Bernier; Andrew Gardner. Des Allemands, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jack McCully signed up to be interviewed at the Exxon retirees meeting in Houma that R.J. Cheramie invited Emily Bernier and Andrew Gardner to attend. Andrew gave a short 3 minute talk about the project and then asked for volunteers. Jack is a tall man with a firm handshake and a broad smile. He told us that he had pictures that we might want to look at. Andrew called and set up an appointment for January 18, 2002. When we arrived, Jack was snoozing on the outside swing but jolted awake as soon as he heard the car. He jumped up and gave each of us a quick hug and then we took pictures, all three of us. Jack's lively personality was contagious and we couldn't help but smile and try to keep up with his conversation.

Jack McCully is a transplant from Texas. He worked for Abercrombie in Texas when he was 16. He began working with Humble in Texas and was then transferred to south Louisiana in the mid 1950's.  Included are photos of steam rigs and discussion of drilling problems.

Item 297: 00297_McQuaid, L.D. "Mac"_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Larose, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

L.D. McQuaid was referred to me by Butch Renois (their friendship seems to come through the Masonic Lodge, more than through oil-related jobs).  At one point in the interview, we broke so that he could show me his gun collection - he still does some upland hunting and works in his wood-working shop in back of the house. After the interview, his wife Meredith cooked biscuits and made coffee. A plate on the kitchen wall: "Mac and Skinny."

L.D. "Mac" McQuaid was born on a farm in Illinois and went with his father and mother to hit the East Texas oil boom - in Luling. After serving in the war, he went back to Texas looking for work. Humble Company sent him to Golden Meadow to work on drilling barges. He went to Grand Isle and met friends of the family from Texas, working for Humble. He was offered a job with Humble Offshore, then was transferred to Rockport, TX in 1951 when things slowed down in Louisiana (the Tidelands dispute period). Houston Oilfield Material Company offered him a job in directional drilling and schooled him, and he ended up working all over, even down to Tierra del Fuego. He worked his way up to a supervisor for HOMCO, working on a salary plus commission. Then he got into sales - selling the company's directional and fishing tool job capabilities -- before he retired. He is 83 years old now, living with his wife, of  the Golden Meadow Alario family. He bought several house lots from the Alario family, in what is known as the Alario-Curole Subdivision.

Item 298: 00298_Melancon, Murphy_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Anand. Point-Aux-Chenes, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Murphy Melancon was referred to me by Lucy and "Dee" DeHart and Joyce and Frank Naquin.  I interviewed him at a camp off the main road at Point-Aux-Chenes.  The location was difficult to find, and I arrived about 15 minutes late.  Murphy, his wife Marie, and her sister and brother-in-law had gathered for an evening of cards.  Marie Melancon was very warm and friendly, ushered me in, and introduced me to Murphy.  While the rest played cards and talked at the dining table, Murphy and I conducted the interview on a sofa at the far end of the room.

Murphy Melancon was born in Thibodaux in October 1926.  After two years in the military, when he was posted in Germany, he returned to the U.S., where he did odd jobs and then joined Halliburton in 1946.  Mr. Melancon began working for Texaco in 1952, and worked there for 35 years.  He began as a roustabout at a shipyard, and became a welder.  In 1965, he joined the oilfield as a roustabout, then worked as a pumper.  Around 1980, after stomach surgery, he began working on a gas compressor and remained in that position until he retired.

Item 299: 00299_Mellington, Lyle_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Lyle Mellington was born in 1925 near Sedan, Kansas, the southern part of the state. His father was a pumper in the oilfields and moved the family to Oklahoma when Mellington was about 10 years old. He graduated from high school a few months early because he was drafted into the Navy at the tail end of World War Two (1944); during that time he was trained in international Morse Code and spent time in the Pacific. When he returned to the U.S. he spent a year at a school in Missouri learning American Morse Code and in 1947 got a job with Interstate Pipeline Company (an affiliate of Standard Oil of New Jersey) as a telegraph operator in Oklahoma. In 1949 he was transferred to the Carter Oil Company (also affiliated with Standard Oil of New Jersey) in Kansas; there he worked on a gang and did a myriad of different jobs; later he worked as a foreman supervising drilling operations and workers. Carter merged with Humble Oil Company in 1958 and Mellington was transferred to Lafayette eight years later. After doing relief and drilling work for a few years, he got a permanent position in production in the Avery Island and Weeks Island Fields; he was later promoted to senior field superintendent there. During the 10 years before he retired in 1986, he was the senior field superintendent in the North Crowley Field, as well as in charge of the gas plant in Opelousas.

Item 300: 00300_Merriman, Bob_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Bob Merriman by Tom Angel, who described Bob as the expert on saturation diving. Bob was still working for Global Industries at the time of the interview, and I met him at the company offices at the Port of Iberia. We spent a couple of hours talking in a conference room, and then Bob gave me a tour of the training facilities and chambers.

Bob joined the Navy in 1956 and spent 20 years as a Master Diver in the Navy. He was recruited from the Navy by J Ray McDermott and worked for the company as offshore diving supervisor until 1981. Then he went to work for Santa Fe Offshore Construction and remained in the same job through the company's merger with Global Industries. During his diving career, Bob was involved in the development of saturation diving, the modification of decompression tables, and development of  gas reclamation systems.

Item 301: 00301_Michel, Drew_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I first met Drew Michel at the 2000 meeting of the National Ocean Industries Association in Washington, D.C. I saw Drew again at the Offshore Marine Services Association meeting when I announced we would do the history study and then at Underwater Intervention, an international conference for the commercial diving and underwater operations industry that is organized through a partnership between Marine Technology Society's ROV Committee and the Association of Diving Contractors International, that I attended in March, 2002 in New Orleans. Drew gave me his card and said he would be happy to participate in an interview for the history study.

Drew is originally from Morgan City and got into the diving industry in 1966 after a short stint with NASA. He created a job for himself at Ocean Systems working in electronics. When Halliburton bought Taylor Diving and created a research center in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, Drew went to work for that company. He helped introduce remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) into the oilfield. He began his own company, ROV Technologies, in 1986 and eventually sold it to Global Industries in early 1996. He reacquired the company in early 2002 and is still an active owner.

Item 302: 00302_Michel, Peggy_MMS-History (2005)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Peggy Michel when I arranged a meeting with her husband, Drew, to go over the photos he had contributed to the project. Peggy came in to listen while Drew and I were talking, and I discovered that she had worked in the offshore oil and gas industry as well. I suggested that I should interview her as well, and she began by telling me she did not know very much. However, when I assured her that I was interested in her story, she agreed to an interview and ended up having much to contribute.

Peggy Michel was raised in San Diego. She met her future husband, Drew, while in college. Peggy graduated with a degree in art history in 1965. The couple married and lived in San Diego for several years before deciding to return to the south. They ended up in Drew's hometown of Morgan City where Drew began working for Ocean Systems. Peggy began looking for work and discovered she was overqualified. After changing her resume to downplay her college experience, Peggy got a job as Personnel Manager for Twenty Grand. Much of her time was spent helping applicants who could not read or write. When Drew got a job in New Orleans several months later, the couple moved and Peggy went to work as Personnel Manager for Crestwave Offshore. She left around 1970, had a son, and then she and Drew started PDC Enterprises, a company that manufactured and sold electronics equipment such as dive phones and unscramblers for diving companies. Peggy was responsible for sales and managing the company. She and Drew closed the company after ten years and Peggy returned to college to earn a degree in accounting. She worked in the financial field and for the Foreign Service during the 1980's and early 1990's.

Item 303: 00303_Middleton, Howard_MMS-ShipChannel (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Howard Middleton is from Centerville, Texas. Throughout his career, he served as an educator, public servant, and consultant. He was the first black man to be appointed as Port Commissioner (1976-1994).

Item 304: 00304_Miguez, Ronnie_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(S): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Born in 1942, Ronnie Miguez was raised in Iberia Parish; he spent most of his school years in New Iberia, living with his grandparents, but went to middle school in Weeks Island. His father did a number of jobs, but spent 27 years doing carpentry work for a briquette plant. After graduating high school in 1962, he spent a few months working as a butcher, before getting a job with Peanut Well Service as a derrick hand off Avery Island. After two weeks he thought he could do better than that job and went to work for Weston Auto, but after six months of that he found it was not enough to support his family. Over the next few yeas he worked for Wilson Supply in Houma and Harvey, and for Schlumberger in Broussard. With Schlumberger he worked as a hot shot driver and was appointed liaison to the company grievance committee. After being fired, he spent three years doing work with floor covering. Since 1975 he has done contract drilling and construction work as a crane operator for a variety of companies both in the U.S. and abroad. Currently he operates a crane for Fluid Crane out of New Iberia. He describes how politics eventually led to his termination with Schlumberger. He also discusses safety and accidents offshore, and how some company men continue to use intimidation to get workers to do unsafe things. He talks at length about life on the rig in terms of horsing around, harassment, drugs, and alcohol.

Item 305: 00305_Miller, Charles_MMS-History (2004)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I learned about Charles Miller and his work for McDermott during my interview with his daughter, Lillian (see DA124, DA125). Though Charles had been very ill, he agreed to be interviewed for this study. I met him at his home in Houma, and we sat in the living room with copies of Jaramac, the McDermott company magazine, as we talked.

Charles Miller grew up in Oklahoma, finished high school, and went to welding school. In 1960, after working in Seattle, serving in the military, and returning to faming in Oklahoma, Charles moved to Louisiana. After attending Delgado Trade School where he studied pipeline welding, he got a job with McDermott. At that time, the oilfield in southern Louisiana was really starting to boom. Charles began in the Marine Department, working inshore, in the shop, and on lay and derrick barges. He spent some time working in the swamps at the time the barges would go into the swamps to lay pipeline. As the industry expanded offshore, the platforms, pipelines, and other associated equipment got bigger, and Charles adapted to working in the Gulf. He retired and bought a small farm.

Item 306: 00306_Miller, Jim_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Jim Miller was born in 1937 in Iowa and grew up in Missouri. The two degrees he earned in geology at the University of Missouri were broken up by a summer working for the California Company in Colorado and a stint in the military with service in Korea. In 1963, he got a job with the California Company and moved to Lafayette. Over the next 36 years he moved between Lafayette and New Orleans several times, spending two years working in Angola, before he retired from Chevron in 1999. During his retirement, he continues to work part-time as a consultant for Sydboten and Associates. He describes how Chevron handled new hires and terminations during industry downturns. He also details how his two sons and his wife handled the family's moves between Lafayette and New Orleans. He expresses that he has no regrets for his career in the oil industry, and that Chevron was good for him and his family and that he was good for Chevron.

Item 307: 00307_Miller, Lillian_MMS-History (307)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Lafayette, LA, Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I learned about Lillian Miller from Deborah Schultz and Kerry St. Pé at the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program. When I first contacted Lillian, she was unable to get together for an interview because she was taking care of both her father and her aunt who needed assistance. We exchanged many phone calls and had talked a number of times when we finally were able to arrange a meeting in October 2004. Lillian picked me up at the train station in Lafayette and we spent a day and a half there, talking about her experiences in the oilfield and looking at photos. She and I then traveled together to Houma to interview her father and also continued our interview.

Lillian was recognized by ODECO in 1974 as the first female roustabout to work offshore outside the galley in the Gulf of Mexico. She had begun working offshore in November 1973 as a galley hand for Offshore Foods and Services. Lillian was home from college trying to find a job and make enough money to go back to school. Her father, who had worked at McDermott since 1960 (see DA 126), came home one day and told her the catering company was hiring women. She wanted to show him that she was serious about trying to get a job, so she applied. She applied for the job and ended up going to the personnel office every day for a month until her father convinced a superintendent to give her a chance for at least one hitch. She was sent out on her first job with several other women and was the only one to survive the hitch. She overcame the challenges of working in a male-dominated environment and, due to her interest in drilling and mud engineering, she was encouraged to go back to school. She entered the petroleum technology program at Nicholls, working 7 days offshore and going to school during her 7 days at home. After a few weeks in the class, in 1974, she was hired by ODECO as their first female production roustabout. She graduated in 1977 with an associate's degree in petroleum technology. She advanced to gauger. Her career in the oilfield ended in 1981 when she suffered a serious fall trying to shut in a well.

Item 308: 00308_Miller, Lynda_MMS-History (2006)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Lynda Miller was referred to me by Lillian Miller. Both women were among the earliest female pioneers in the offshore petroleum industry and had met each other on an earlier occasion, drawn to notice one another by the similarities in their names. They are not related. One my June 2006 trip to southern Louisiana, I went to visit Lillian and learned that she had invited Lynda to her house to participate in an interview. Lynda had brought along a trunk full of am outstanding collection of photos and slides. We began with the photos and slides on the evening of June 28 and continued the interview on the morning of June 29. Malisa Mayon of the Morgan City Archives kindly assisted with the scanning of the slides during the following week.

Lynda Miller studied oceanography during college and graduate school and went to work on offshore service vessels in the Gulf of Mexico in the summer of 1972, becoming one of the first women in her position. She and her husband worked in the Gulf throughout the spring, summer, and fall of 1973. Over the next couple of years they moved back and forth between working for the offshore oil and gas industry and working on research vessels. In addition to their work in the Gulf of Mexico, they worked in Greenland and off the coast of Peru.

Item 309: 00309_Mills, Charles_MMS-ShipChannel (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Pearland, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Charles Mills is a native of Galveston, Texas and spent fifty years in the maritime industry. He joined the U.S. Merchant Marine in the late 1930s and sailed for Lykes Brothers Shipping. During this time he joined the National Maritime Union. In WWII he sailed out on the first Liberty Ship build by Brown Shipyard in Houston. He nearly lost his life during a U-boat torpedo attack in the Atlantic in 1943. After the war, Mills became a representative of the Union and lived on the East Coast. He returned to Texas in the early 1960s and continued service with the union. He is now retired, but continues to be active in numerous Merchant Marine organizations.

Item 310: 00310_Mitchell, Roland_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I received Roland Mitchell's name from Amy Whipple and Daryl Eshete at the library back in July. He has been on the contact list since then. I stopped by the main branch library to talk to Daryl and asked about Roland again as I hadn't met any other helicopter pilots. I called Roland and told him about the project and he was eager to help in any way he could. He told me that he had been in the army for over 20 years as a helicopter pilot and then was in the oil and gas industry for over 20 years as well. He mentioned on the phone that he'd flown in Vietnam, and when I interviewed him, his army story turned out to be as interesting as his time in the oil and gas industry. He is a tall man with a shiny bald head and talks very fast at times. His wife sat in for the entire interview and added bits and pieces that she thought were important.  Roland has a cough that he and his wife attribute to Agent Orange from the Vietnam War. He is a jolly fellow who has a sharp memory both of his army days as well as his days flying crews and supplies.

Roland was born in Cameron, Texas in 1936.  He began working for Dow Chemical as a day laborer and, in 1954, went into the Army.  He was a Green Beret and did three separate tours of duty in Vietnam. He worked for Petroleum Helicopters for 22 years as a pilot in the oil and gas industry, beginning in 1976. He retired in 1999, never having "broken" a helicopter or been in an accident.  He attributes his flawless record to his careful approach to flying.  When I asked him how he maintained such a flawless record he said that he was careful, "because the more careful you were the longer you were likely to be around."

Item 311: 00311_Molaison, Richard and Virginia_MMS-History (311)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Richard Molaison is another retired oil worker involved in the Houma-Terrebonne Council on Aging.  He and his wife, Virginia, were involved in the interview.  Virginia, in fact, asked to make a statement about  the good treatment she received from the oil companies in maintaining family contact.

The son of a streetcar/bus driver, Richard Molaison dropped out of high school to serve in the Marines, from 1939-45.  When he returned, he was given his diploma and attended Tulane University for two years.  In 1948 he transferred to Soule School for a business certificate.  He began working in the office for the Swanee Fruit and Shipping Company that year, but in 1949 began work in the chart department of United Gas Pipeline Company, when it was creating a regional pipeline system that eventually extended offshore.  He worked for United at Montpelier and and Kosciusko, Mississippi.  In 1955, he shifted to Union Producing Company, United Gas' sister company, and worked as a lease operator (production) at Lake Quitman, near Houma.  He returned to office work in Houma in 1970 and stayed at the Houma office through the Union/United merger with Pennzoil.  In 1984 he returned to field production, until retirement in 1986.

Item 312: 00312_Montgomery, Roy_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): R. Carriker. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. Roy Montgomery was born in 1920 in Lafayette, Louisiana. His father died when he was four years old. He attended Lafayette High School and then went to the University of Southwestern Louisiana from 1940 until 1941. In 1941, when his brother went into the service, he took his place as a rod man for City Service Oil Company. By 1942 he had been promoted to driller and volunteered for the Army Air Corps to serve in World War Two. When he returned from Europe in 1945, he went to work for Lane-Wells Perforating Company, where he started out cleaning and loading perforating equipment and moved up to helper and truck driver. In 1949, he went to work for Spartan, which was almost immediately bought out by its competitor Halliburton, which fired him. He came back to Lafayette, looking for a job and hoping to get out of the oil industry. After taking care of his invalid mother for awhile, he went to work for Citcon in Lake Charles. He retired in 1985 or 1986.

Item 313: 00313_Moore, Sharon_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Patterson, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I arrived at Perry Flying Service to interview Val Mullen, and Val told me that Sharon Moore, one of the few female helicopter pilots working in the Gulf, happened to be in because no flights were going offshore due to fog. She said that she would trade her interview time so I would get the chance to talk with Sharon. Sharon agreed to be interviewed, and she and I went into Val's office to talk.

Sharon was raised near Dallas, TX, not far from Love Field, and got to know many pilots and stewardesses when she was growing up.  She joined the National Guard after high school and remained there for 13 years.  In 1990, she began flying civilian helicopters where she worked in the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, and the Grand Canyon before taking a job with TexAir Helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico in 1996.

Item 315: 00315_Moville, James_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. James Moville was born in Opelousas, Louisiana in 1943. His father worked for the Department of Agriculture. He went to the University of Lafayette (UL) for three years in pre-veterinary medicine, but after not making it into Texas A&M for veterinary school, he went to work as a laborer roustabout in a Texaco pipe yard near Vermillion Bay in 1965. Two and a half years later he was transferred to a gas plant in Erath, where he worked in a metering station. During that time he worked a swing shift and went back to UL under Texaco's tuition aid plan and received a degree in agricultural business. After he got his degree, he went to work in as a materials coordinator in the New Iberia office, where he stayed for about 10 years. After that he was transferred to the Henry Gas Processing Plant as a materials supervisor. He stayed there until he retired in 1999; since that time he has spent his time working on his cattle farm in Opelousas. During his career, he dealt almost exclusively with natural gas and describes the processing of natural gas and the market for it.

Item 316: 00316_Mullen, Valina "Val"_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Patterson, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Valina Mullen was referred to me by several people. She is an active member of Morgan City's Desk and Derrick Club and has worked for Perry Flying Service for 18 years. I met her went I went out to interview Ken Perry, and she agreed to an interview. We were scheduled to talk at the end of February, but one of the few female pilots working in the Gulf happened to be at the Center that day waiting for the weather to clear and I took that opportunity to interview her (see Sharon Moore). Val and I agreed to reschedule the interview after Mardi Gras. We sat in her office and talked for a couple of hours.

Val got her first job related to the offshore oil and gas industry in 1967 when she was still in high school. She worked for an answering service that had a contract with a company working offshore, and she would take calls from people needing to talk to someone offshore. At that time, the companies only had radios, and she would take the phone call, contact the recipient over the radio, and then alternate holding the radio receiver between the mouthpiece and earpiece so the two people could talk to each other. When she finished high school, Val married and moved to New York for a couple of years. She and her husband moved to Houston and then she moved back to Morgan City. She worked for several companies that provided services to the offshore oil and gas industry and ended up in 1985 at Perry Flying Center, where she was still working at the time of the interview. While working at Perry, Val became involved in the Desk and Derrick Club (see DA 014, DA100).

Item 317: 00317_Mullendore, Doris_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Doris Mullendore was recommended by Steve and Jean Shirley and by Val Mullen. She is one of three founding members of the Morgan City Chapter of the Desk and Derrick Club. She is currently the bookkeeper for the First Baptist Church in Morgan City but worked for several companies associated with the oil and gas industry. When I asked her if she would be willing to be interviewed for the study, she agreed, and we met at her house.

Doris was born in Lafayette, Indiana and moved first to Oregon as a child and then to Amelia, Louisiana in 1946 as a young teenager. She graduated from Morgan City High School and took a job as a bookkeeper for a local Buick agency. When the owner bought a crew boat, she began what was to become a career in the offshore oil and gas industry. She left that company to work for a pipe and supply company, worked for a short time for a hardware store, and then in 1976 got into the diving business with a couple of friends. That company folded in 1986 during the downturn, and Doris worked for a few different companies until she got a job with Morgan City Rental, where she stayed until her retirement. In 1966, Doris helped found the Morgan City Desk and Derrick Club, an organization for women who worked in the offshore oil and gas industry (see Moye Boudreaux (DA014) and Debi Baiamonte (DA033)).

Item 318: 00318_Murphy, Don and Tarleton_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I learned about Oran, Scott, and Don during my first visit with Mary Ann Galletti. All three dove for J&J Diving, and Mary Ann agreed to get them together to talk with me on my next visit to Houston. She had originally arranged to have them over to her house for dinner, but Scott decided he would have the dinner at his house. He is a bachelor and lives in a large two-story house in Houston. When Mary Ann and I arrived, the three guys and Mary, Mary Ann's oldest daughter, were already at the house. They were drinking wine, snacking, and talking about their experiences in the diving business. They continued to chat for quite some time before Don asked me to tell them more about what I was doing so they could decide if they wanted to talk with me. I explained the study, and they agreed to go into the living room and sit around the tape recorder in a group interview. Though there is a lot of banter back and forth among the divers and the interview is less formal than most, the divers were candid in their descriptions of both the attitudes and actions of the divers and provide a sense of the relationships that existed among divers.

Don Murphy got out of the Navy in the late 1960s and went into a civil service job. He became bored in that position and went to diving school in 1973. He worked for several companies across the Gulf of Mexico, including Ocean Systems and J&J Diving, and he is currently employed by Stolt.

Item 319: 00319_Murray, Roy_MMS-ShipChannel (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Captain Roy Murray, Jr. began his maritime career with U.S. Merchant Marine before WWII. He sailed on cargo vessels during the war and became a captain at 25 years old. He came to the Port of Houston in 1947 and worked for Lykes Brothers as their Port Captain. In 1950 he joined the Houston Pilots where he retired more than 30 years later.

Item 321: 00321_Naquin, Donald_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): Emily Bernier; Andrew Gardner. Bourg, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Mr. Donald Naquin from calling Jerry Cunningham (Morgan City) upon first arriving in Louisiana.  His father was a seasoned oil field hand.  This helped him to keep his position even when the company was closing offices and laying off employees.  Mr. Naquin had many pictures of disasters, too many it seemed!  His office had many pictures proudly displayed. He said his wife made him take some of them down because there were just too many of them. He said he made a conscious effort to collect pictures when he was working on the rigs because he thought the oil industry was fascinating. Andrew Gardner went back to talk about the photos (AG040).

Donald Naquin began his oil career as a roughneck in 1955. He was only 19 when he began but figured that he was meant to be in the oil business since his father was as well.  Donald Naquin began working at Wheless Drilling Co. In fact, he took over his dad's position when his dad was getting ready to retire. He went into the office one day to ask where he was going to be going that day, and his assignment was to go to his father's rig and relieve him.  He worked for Wheless Drilling Co. his whole life.  Donald retired form the oil industry in 2001. He took partial retirement at age 62 but stayed on as a consultant and then fully retired at age 65.

Item 322: 00322_Naquin, Frank_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Anand. Thibodaux, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Frank and Joyce Naquin are friends and associates of Lucy and "Dee" DeHart, at whose home I had a bed and breakfast accommodation.  They also have a B&B arrangement in Thibodaux.  I met them at the DeHarts' the day I moved in, and they expressed interest in being interviewed - Frank worked at McDermott Shipyard for many years.  We set up an interview in Thibodaux.  Frank ushered me in and showed me some good pictures of boats made by McDermott.  Joyce fed me a fresh biscuit and some homemade preserves before we did the interview - their granddaughter and a boy visiting from France were eating breakfast in the dining room.  During the interview, Joyce often prompted Frank to tell certain stories.  After the interview, Frank sent a bag of pears for the DeHarts with me.

Francis Naquin was born in Thibodaux in January, 1939, and completed his secondary education at Thibodaux High School.  After working as a carpenter and then at a baby clothes factory, he joined McDermott in Amelia as a shipfitter helper in 1961.  Other than a brief stint with the National Guard during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1961-62, he remained at McDermott, becoming a leader, a shipfitter foreman, a superintendent, and finally a group superintendent in the 1980s.  He retired from McDermott in 1994 to begin a four year stint as a consultant to Wertzle, a company in Annapolis MD.  In 1998, he also worked as a shipfitter consultant to Service Marine Inc. in Amelia.

Item 323: 00323_Naquin, T.R. and Elaine_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to T.R. Naquin by Jerry Cunningham. Jerry had worked for T.R. at Tidex. T.R. at first believed he did not have much to offer because he had worked as an office manager and not on the rigs and platforms. I explained that we were interested in people in all aspects of the industry and that the information about his career was important. He agreed to do the interview but was clearly still hesitant. As we talked, though, he warmed up to the conversation and shared lots of information about his work and also his community. His wife, Elaine, came in after an hour or so. She stood and listened a bit and then T.R. told me that she had worked in the industry as well. She agreed to join us. T.R. finished his story and then Elaine told hers. They concluded the interview talking about living and raising children in Morgan City.

T.R. was born and raised in Morgan City. He finished high school in 1942 and was drafted into the Navy the following year. He spent three years in the Navy, returned to Morgan City for a month but found that many people he knew were gone. He had been granted 90 days to decide whether or not to return to the service, and he decided to do so. He returned to California and worked at a couple of jobs there. He returned to Louisiana in 1950 and worked in a night job for Kerr McGee for six months. He had a wife and young child at the time and left to return to the Bureau of Yards and Docks in California until 1957 when he returned to Louisiana because California had become too crowded. He worked as a clerk for Pure Oil until they sold to Union Oil of California in 1966. He left rather than have to commute to work or move his family. A friend got him a job at Tidex and he remained there for three years. He then went to work for Offshore Logistics, a new transportation company opening in the Gulf. He left them to help a friend start Briley Marine and stayed in the business until 1983 when things in the oilfield turned down. He went to work for his son-in-law at McClary Offshore Construction Company, a company with pipelaying barges throughout the Gulf, but he retired soon afterward.

Elaine grew up in Oregon and went to work for the Civil Service during her junior year in high school. She joined the Navy as soon as she was old enough and was sent to training at Hunter College in New York and then to Corpus Christi to pack parachutes at the base where they were training pilots. She was one of two women doing her job at the base. After the service, she returned to Oregon for six months. She met T.R. when he came into her parents' restaurant where she was working, and she moved to California about six months later. T.R. found her a job in the surplus department, and she worked there until he was transferred to San Diego. They had two children, and Elaine stayed out of work for 8 years.  They moved to Morgan City, and she got a job with National Supply Company in 1959. She remained with them until she was asked to retire in 1982. By the time of her retirement, she had advanced to office manager, the highest position available to a woman.

Item 325: 00325_Noble, Willy "Dub"_MMS-History (2001,2005)

Interviewer(s): Emily Bernier; R. Higgins; D. Austin; B. Plumb. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Dub Noble, as all who know him refer to him, is a gentle but driven man.  Ed Dilsaver referred me to him.  Dub retired in 1963.  He is enjoying retired life and is active on several committees. A self-described rock hound, he is looking forward to a time when he can cut and polish the stones he's collected from his travels all over the United States. Since arriving back in Morgan City in 1982, Dub became actively involved in the Morganza Spillway activities. He talked extensively about what they are planning to do with the Morganza Spillway land and how he is trying to raise money as well as awareness about how unique the land around there is. The second interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry.

Willy "Dub" Noble worked at Humble Oil (Exxon) for 31 years before retiring in 1978. He was born in Plaquemines, LA in 1926 but moved to Morgan City with his family in 1942. Dub has been involved in seismographic operations almost from the beginning. He served on a submarine during the war and wrote an article called, "The mighty mine dodgers: The saga of the sea dog in the Sea of Japan." The experience he gained in the war allowed him to move up to assistant surveyor in a matter of months. He made "party chief" in 1963 and held that position until his retirement.

Item 326: 00326_O'Brien, Jerry_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Conroe, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Jerry O'Brien was a petroleum geologist who spent his whole career with Shell Oil Company.  Joined the company in 1953.  Worked in the marine exploration group during the 1950s.  Transferred to Midland, TX in 1966 and eventually worked in the North Sea and Michigan.  Jerry is retired and living in Conroe, TX.

Box 6
Item 327: 00327_Olin, Loyd_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had heard about Loyd Olin since arriving in Louisiana because Corine Paulk is good friends with his wife, Sue. Sue is part Houma and Loyd is part Choctaw. Several connections have been made to Loyd both through his wife being related to F.J. Matherne (he's her uncle) and Loyd himself being the cousin of Barbara Davis in New Iberia. I had heard both from Barbara and Corine that Loyd was extremely sensitive about his time in the Vietnam War. He apparently suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. When I first called Sue and Loyd it was to inquire about setting up an interview with Loyd. Loyd said he was not the right age (too young) but Sue suggested her uncle F.J. After several interviews I decided that Loyd was the perfect age and I wanted to get his perspective about the oil field. Ms. Corine decided to go with me to their house and visit with Sue while Loyd and I talked. They live in a huge white house that Loyd built.  There were two cars in the drive way one being under a car cover as well as an R.V. Corine told me that Loyd was rebuilding the car and that they used to R.V. to follow powwows around the country.  We were welcomed into their very comfortable home. Loyd and I went back to his office where he was sitting in front of a computer doing work. I knew he was retired and wondered what work he was doing.

Loyd Olin is part Choctaw, born in 1943.  After going to Nicholls State University for two years, he joined the military, serving in Vietnam 1963-64. In 1968, someone he knew helped get him a job with Texaco at the Lake Barre Field.  He preferred to work offshore, he liked the 7 days off.  He was a compressor operator.  In 1971, he was one of the first mechanics to work offshore for Texaco.  He also felt his Choctaw ancestry didn't have that much effect on his oil field work.

Item 328: 00328_Oliver Jr., Christian "Buster"_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Christian "Buster" Olivier was recommended by Hartwell Lewis, a fellow Rotarian.  He is retired, but formerly active in both local business and government.  He is about 90 years old (according to another informant), still alert, active.  His home is within walking distance of the municipal buildings and the Dupont department store, which he managed until 1978. 

Christian Olivier was originally from New Orleans.  He came to Houma in 1928 to work at a sugar mill.  He also joined the Louisiana National Guard in 1928 and was a captain when his unit was activated for WWII service.  He served in the European Theater for 15 months, was wounded and decorated.  After his return to Houma, he worked at the sugar mill until shifting over in 1950 to manage the Dupont department store. He was elected as alderman at large for Houma, serving until 1970.  One of his major efforts was to help manage the transfer of the blimp base to city-parish ownership and set up the Houma Terrebonne Airport as both airport and industrial park.

Item 329: 00329_Ordogne, Marcelle_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Marcelle Ordogne by Steve and Jean Shirley because she is a long-time resident of Morgan City. When I called her and told her about the study, Marcelle said she would be happy to participate. She is very busy, though, and we were having a hard time finding a time to get together. She asked if I could come right over, and I did. We talked for a couple of hours, turning the tape off to discuss personal issues and then back on to continue her story.

Marcelle was born in a small town in east Texas. In 1947, when she was 17 years old, she moved to New Orleans with her sister. She enrolled in business college and began looking for a job. She had applications in at several places, including the telephone company and oil companies. At that time she did not have a telephone, and she remembers getting a fax from Shell Oil Company telling her to report to Mr. Williams for an interview. She got a job with Shell doing clerical work such as pasting up drilling reports and typing. She stayed there for three years until she married and moved with her husband to Morgan City.  Her husband was an only child, and he began working with his parents at the motel and restaurant they had established in Morgan City. The restaurant was open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, and she and her husband worked there for many years.  One of the highlights of her work at the motel was hosting Jimmy Stewart and the entire cast and crew while they were in Morgan City making the movie, Thunder Bay. Marcelle and her husband raised three children, two who still live in the Morgan City area. Marcelle also became involved in civic organizations such as the Entre Nous reading club, the PTA, the Garden Club, and the Morgan City Planning Commission. She was named Citizen of the Year in 1967.

Item 330: 00330_Otteman, Lloyd_MMS-History (2001) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Lloyd Otteman began his career with Shell in 1954 after he graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in civil engineering.  Throughout his career he worked in various capacities including mechanical engineer for the Technical Services Division, Bellaire Research Center, and New Orleans area, marine.  He became manager of Mechanical Engineering Research in 1966 and moved to head office in 1968.  He then served as Chief of Mechanical engineering for the Southwestern Region in 1969, and he became Division Production Manager for the Offshore Division in 1974.  In 1980, he became the General Manager for the Offshore division, eastern operations, and in 1982 he became President for Shell Offshore Inc.  Finally, he became General Manager for Health Safety and the Environment- E&P in 1987.  He retired in 1990.  During his career he worked on the problems of underwater soil movement and laying pipelines in deep water in addition to his service as an administrator for Shell.

Item 331: 00331_Ottinger, Patrick_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): D. DiTucci. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Mr. Patrick Ottinger was born in 1946 in Lake Charles and moved to Lafayette when he was 10 years old. His father was a land man/scout for Stanolind Oil and moved the family to Lafayette when the industry moved from Lake Charles to Lafayette because of Mr. Heymann's Oil Center. Since graduating LSU law school in 1973, he has practiced law in the interest of his clients, exploration and production companies. He also teaches oil and gas law and mineral rights to law students.

Item 332: 00332_Oynes, Chris_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Harahan, LA.

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mr. Chris Oynes is the regional director of the Gulf OCS for the MMS.  He attended Cal State Fullerton and George Washington Law School.  Instead of going into practice he starting working for the Bureau of Land Management in 1975, and got involved with the OCS in 1978. He became branch chief in 1983 and now regional director.

Item 334: 00334_Parr, Roy_MMS-History (2001,2003)

Interviewer(s): Andrew Gardner; Diane Austin. Baldwin, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Roy Parr was referred to Andrew by Adam Welcome. Roy spent his entire career in the oil field and was eager to participate in the study to make sure we got the story straight.  Andrew interviewed him in June 2001, and Diane returned in February 2003 to talk about a set of photos of old steam rigs that Cecil Broussard (DA079p) had donated to the project.

Roy Parr was born in 1931 on a plantation in southern Louisiana where his grandfather worked as a blacksmith.  His father spent most of his life working in the oilfield, and Roy followed in his footsteps.  He started work in 1952 for Humble Oil Company and worked his way up through the company.  He retired as a production superintendent in 1983.

Item 335: 00335_Patout, Rene Louis and Violet_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): C. Cummings. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

This was very much a "couples" interview.  Mr. Rene Patout and his wife, Violet, are a wonderful source for exploring the oil industry and its effects on the family.  The couple raised seven children, several of whom have been, or are currently employed in the industry.  The fact that the Patouts were neighbors of mine put the interview on a personal level.

Mr. Patout is a native of New Iberia, Louisiana.  His family owned the Frederick Hotel located on Main Street.  Mr. Patout was born in 1927 and is one of eight children.  After graduating from St. Peters College in 1946, Mr. Patout joined the Navy.  At one point during World War II, Mr. Patout and four of his brothers were serving in different branches of the military.  In 1948 Mr. Patout was attending USL (now ULL) as an agriculture-engineering student.  He was also assisting his mother in running the Hotel.  While on duty at the hotel he met Leland Millstead, a drilling superintendent for Shell Oil.  Mr. Millstead hired Mr. Patout as a roustabout for the new rigs that were starting at Weeks Island, Louisiana.  During the 39 years that Mr. Patout worked for Shell Oil, he was promoted from roustabout, to roughneck, then to derrick work, and ended his career as a drilling foreman. All of his job training and experience was acquired "on the job". 

Mr. and Mrs. Patout share, from their individual perspectives, the challenges of raising seven children during his career.  Often, Mr. Patout was gone for two to three weeks at a time leaving Mrs. Patout alone with their very young children.

Item 336: 00336_Patout, Shawnee_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Bryant. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Shawnee Patout's daughter, Debbie Bryant, interviewed her at her home in New Iberia. The interview is primarily about Shawnee's husband, George Patout, and his career in the oil and gas industry.

After serving in the Air Force during the Korean War, Shawnee Patout's husband, George, worked his way up in the oil field. He started as a roustabout with Shell in Houma, was transferred to Morgan City, and then Jeanerette, where he worked offshore for six years. A promotion took him to Lafayette and then to Lake Charles, where he finished his engineering degree. After 13 years with Shell, he left to accept a managerial position at Dresser Offshore in New Orleans. He passed away at the age of 37.

Item 337: 00337_Pattarozzi, Richard_MMS-History (2000) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX.

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Richard Pattarozzi graduated college in Illinois in 1966 with a degree in Civil Engineering.  He joined Shell that same year and served as a facilities engineer in New Orleans.  In 1969 he became a drilling engineer for offshore and stayed in that role for 6 1/2 years.  In 1972, the company made him a senior engineer and transferred him to Midland.  After a short tour, he was transferred to Michigan in 1976 and worked in that office until 1979 as a drilling superintendent. He finally came back to Offshore New Orleans as an operations manager in 1982, stayed there until 1985 when he moved again, this time to California.  However, he quickly returned to New Orleans in 1989 and became involved in the deep water activities for Shell.

Item 339: 00339_Pearce, Charles_MMS-History (2004) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. Christy. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Charles Pearce was born in the Atchafalaya Basin and grew up on a houseboat.  He is the son of a commercial fisherman who moved to Morgan City in the early 1940's to work in the oil field.  His father roughnecked for Humble Oil and then transferred to production at Duck Lake.  Mr. Pearce went to work at Chicago Bridge and Iron Works and learned to weld at age 16.  He went to work for Sun Oil's seismograph department in the early 1950's.  He was first part of a "water crew" that worked in south Louisiana and then he joined a "land crew" and went to Brownsville, Texas. He quit Sun Oil to stay in one location and went to work as a welder in Morgan City.  Mr. Pearce mainly worked for LeBlanc Welders and for South Coast Welders.  He did rig welding for Brown and Root, Kerr-McGee, Texaco, Shell, and other oil companies out of Morgan City.

Item 340: 00340_Pedersen, Jan_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Algiers, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I first met Mr. Jan Pedersen at the Chevron retirees' lunch I attended on a previous trip to Gretna, where I was the guest of Bill DeCells. Mr. Pedersen was busy during that trip, but he agreed to talk with me on subsequent visits. The morning after the lunch, he dropped off a couple of articles at my motel, one of which was the text of the speech he gave to the 50th anniversary meeting of the International Oil Scouts Association, held in Houston in 1973. The bio gives some of his background.  The day of the interview was his 80th birthday, and he was talking overseas to relatives when he let me into his condo, right off the levee at Algiers Point, a fairly exclusive place with a magnificent view of the Mississippi. He moved there from his home and 1-acre lot across the Lake about 8 years ago after his wife died. His friend, Harvey Dupuy, with whom he had worked in the Barataria area, was already living there.

Jan was born in New Orleans, of Norwegian parents.  He earned a bachelor of arts degree from LSU in petroleum engineering in 1944. He spent 20 years with Standard Oil of California [a.k.a Cal Company, Chevron] where he retired as Staff Drilling Engineer on the Production V-P's staff. Then he joined Offshore Company. He was active with the American Petroleum Institute and the International Association of Drilling Contractors. While with Offshore, he and a partner started a joint venture to build a drillship, but the shipyard was behind and their contract broken. With that failure, he joined ODECO, from which he retired (again) in 1987.

Item 343: 00343_Perry, Ken_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Patterson, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Ken Perry participated in the previous study and had talked then about the history of his business, the Perry Flying Center, and his involvement in the offshore oil and gas industry. When I called to ask if he would be willing to record an interview for the archives, he was very happy to participate. When I arrived at the Center, Ken was out fueling a helicopter. He came in shortly and we went into the office of his administrative assistant, Miss Val. He pulled the intercom speaker off the wall and shut the door so we would not be disturbed. We talked for a couple of hours and then Ken showed me a couple of the float and amphibious planes in the hangar. He told me that he had photos of the early days and would bring them in. Miss Val told me she is a friend of Debi Baiamonte's and agreed to talk about her involvement in the industry on my next visit; she has been with Ken almost since the beginning of the Center.

Ken began working on planes during high school when he would hang around the airport in Houma. His father was an educator and went into business selling textbooks, but he retained a love of airplanes that he had had since his days in the military. Ken began working toward his pilot's license before leaving school, and he got his first job as a salesman for a company selling chemicals in the oilfield. He worked as a flying salesman for several companies and then was hired as a company pilot, flying executives all around the country. He went through a couple of layoffs during the downturn of the 1980s. He and his father purchased land and a facility and developed Perry Flying Center in 1983. They adapted their services and diversified throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. Ken bought the company from his father in 1998.

Item 344: 00344_Petersen, Bill_MMS-History (1999) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. Pratt. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Bill Petersen graduated from California polytechnic in 1959 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering.  He joined Shell that same year.  He was assigned to the Marine Division in California and went to work developing tools to use in subsea production.  He had input in the MO system, RUDAC and  MTG systems.

Item 345: 00345_Petrovich, Luke_MMS-History (2002,2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. New Orleans, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Luke Petrovich by the receptionist at the Empire Motel in Empire, LA. When I told her about the study, she recommended Mr. Petrovich because of his long history of public service in Plaquemines Parish. I called Mr. Petrovich's office and was told that he was in court but would return my call. When he did, we arranged to meet in his office in downtown New Orleans. He was very friendly and spent several hours talking with me about Plaquemines Parish, the oil industry, and its impacts on southern Louisiana. I returned in July 2003 to say hello and get a consent form and photograph from Luke, and he spent another couple of hours helping me understand the various communities within Plaquemines Parish and their histories.

Luke Petrovich was born in New Orleans in 1929 to Croatian immigrants. His father was an oyster fisherman. He died when Luke was only five years old, and Luke's mother raised and sold oranges to make a living. Luke finished high school in Buras. While a youth, he worked as a packer and picker in the oyster and orange business, on pipelines and as a roughneck in the oilfield, and in the bull gang for Freeport Sulphur Company. He went to college at Northwestern Louisiana; taught school for a year, and then attended Tulane Law School from 1952-1955. He formed his own law practice and operated it from 1955 until Hurricane Betsy struck in 1965. He became a charter member of the first commission council in Plaquemines Parish in 1961, served as Commissioner of Public Safety from 1961-1983 and Commissioner of Law and Natural Resources from 1983-1986, was  parish vice-president in 1963 under Chalin Perez, and was elected parish president in 1985 when he served a two-term, eight-year maximum until 1993. He then returned to practicing law full time and served as pro tempore judge from March to November 1999.

Item 346: 00346_Pfister, Ted_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Ted Pfister graduated from Loyola with a bachelors in 1955 and a law degree in 1962.  He came to work for shell in 1964.  During his tenure he worked in New Orleans, Houston, and Michigan.  He was involved in some early Civil Rights cases for Shell, and was influential in lobbying and litigating Michigan's Pigeon River.

Item 347: 00347_Phillips, Myrtle and Maurice_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Grand Bayou, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Myrtle Phillips learned about the history study during a festival in Plaquemines Parish and agreed to be contacted to participate. Grand Bayou can only be reached by boat, so when I called her we arranged to meet at the boat landing. The morning of our meeting, however, it was raining very hard. We decided to meet at the Bayou Kitchen Café to talk. We started out in the café but then moved into Myrtle's van so we could be with her aging poodle and also have some privacy. After a couple of hours of talking, the rain stopped, so we went in to have lunch and then decided to take the boat to see the community. We rode first to one end of the Grand Bayou community and then the other; at one point we watched dolphins jumping in the bayou. Then we went out into the marsh and canals behind the village. When we returned to the village, we stopped in to see Maurice Phillips, Myrtle's 80-year old uncle. Maurice agreed to be interviewed, and his interview continues on the same tape as Myrtle's.

Myrtle was born in 1961 in Grand Bayou. Her family was the first to settle in Grand Bayou in the 1920s when her grandfather and several others went into a deal with Louisiana Land and Exploration Company to swap land on the chenier located behind the community with land along the bayou. At the time of the swap, the bayou was lined with cypress trees and the land supported vegetable gardens and orchards. When oil and gas were discovered in the area, the companies that came in to find and produce it dug canals to place rigs and then dredged pipeline canals in the marsh around the community. Residents believed that their community would be included within the levee that was constructed, but it was not. By the 1970s, saltwater intrusion had killed the trees, and the residents established oyster beds in the bayou. Erosion in the area continues, and most of the homes were flooded in October 2002 during Hurricane Lili. Myrtle's husband works offshore, and she is now working to find resources to raise the remaining homes in the village so they will not flood again.

Item 348: 00348_Picou, Edward Jr._MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. New Orleans, LA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mr. Ed Picou graduated from LSU with a B.S. in 1955, and Shell hired him while he was attempting to complete his master's degree.  He began working for Shell in 1957.  He worked in paleontology during his entire career at various labs.  He worked on the salt dome study leading up to the 1962 lease sale.

Item 349: 00349_Pinell, Elce_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Anand. Montegut, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Mr. Elce Pinell by Mr. Ferrel Chauvin, with whom he'd worked on a rig for on the same crew for over a decade.  He was a bit reserved throughout the interview, though he warmed up a little bit toward the end.  We conducted the interview at their dining table.

Mr. Elce Pinell was born in 1928 and left school in 1943 when his father died.  After odd jobs and two years in the army (1945-47), he entered the oilfield in 1947 with South Coast Corporation.  He roughnecked on rigs for Crown and Gracie from 1949-51. Then he moved to Texaco to roughneck, owing to better working conditions and benefits.  Mr. Pinell worked as a derrick man, a motorman and a driller, and was promoted to drilling foreman in 1972.  In 1976 he was field foreman on a project for high-pressure gas drilling in Alabama.  By 1982, he had 136 men and 5 rigs under him as a field foreman in Garden Island Bay.  He retired in 1983.

Item 350: 00350_Pipsair, Chester "Blackie" and Laurin Vining_MMS-History (2005)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Pierre Part, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was introduced to Blackie Pipsair by Laurie Vining. When I asked Laurie if he knew of anyone who had pictures of early offshore vessels, he told me about Blackie. He called Blackie and arranged for the two of us to drive up to visit him at his home in Pierre Part. We spent several hours talking about the oilfield and looking at pictures.

Chester "Blackie" Pipsair worked for Transworld Drilling Company, a subsidiary of Kerr McGee, for 31 years until his retirement in 1991. He began as a crane operator and worked his way up to Marine Superintendent. He was responsible for moving rigs from one location to another. Though Blackie worked most of his career in the Gulf of Mexico, at least once a year he traveled overseas to deliver rigs. He found his work interesting and challenging because each job presented a new set of circumstances and problems to be overcome.

Item 351: 00351_Pitre, Amy_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Piekielek. Cut Off, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Amy Pitre through her neighbor, Joycelyn Renois.  Diane had scheduled an interview with Joycelyn and had explained her interest in interviewing women, both workers and wives of workers.  Joycelyn said that she thought we would be interested in talking with her neighbor across the street, as both a woman working offshore and as the wife of someone in the oil industry.

Amy Pitre was born in 1959 and raised in Buras.  She received her B.A. in business, married Dean Pitre, and moved to Cut Off.  In 1989 she began working offshore as an operator assistant on production platforms, first for a contractor and later for Chevron.  When she first began offshore work, she was often the only woman on the platform.  She currently works in aviation dispatch for Chevron.

Item 352: 00352_Pitre, Loulan and Emelia_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin; T. McGuire. Cut Off, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I have known Loulan and his wife, Emelia, since 1996 when Tom and I were first in southern Louisiana on the baseline study for the MMS. Loulan, Emelia, and I hit it off in our first meeting, and we have stayed in touch since then. Both are astute observers of local life as well as generally interesting characters. I try to visit when I am in Lafourche. Loulan is an avid reader and researcher in his own right. He has questioned oil and gas activity since it began in southern Louisiana and has extensive files and documents on many local events. He was one of the first locals, for example, to raise questions about the oilfield waste facility at Grand Bois, long before the 1994 event that coalesced resident concern.

The Pitres have four sons, the oldest of which, Loulan, Jr., is the attorney for Port Fourchon and now a state legislator. Loulan is very open about the areas on which he and his son disagree. Another son, Glen, is the local movie producer who made "Belizaire the Cajun" and others. His recent movie about the German U-boats in the Gulf of Mexico during WWII was completed during the summer of 2001. They are waiting to release it, however, due to the economy and the September 11 attack.

Loulan Pitre served in the Marines and after World War II he went to work for Jerry McDermott building derricks and stayed 7 years. He also spent some time shrimping with his own boat and eventually got his ocean operator's license to run big boats offshore. He retired at age 65 in 1990. He and his wife Emelia have questioned oil and gas activity since it began in southern Louisiana and has extensive files and documents on many local events. They were some of the first locals, for example, to raise questions about the oilfield waste facility at Grand Bois, long before the 1994 event that coalesced resident concern.

Item 354: 00354_Pizzolato, Samuel C._MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Boothville, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Bud Latham suggested I talk with Mr. Sam Pizzolato, long-time resident of the Boothville/Venice area, and currently in his last few months of his second term as councilman for District 9. As a second-termer, he can't run again, but he plans to run for justice of the peace.  He, like others, complained that insurance is putting boat people out of business. He had some interesting observations on contract work - it gives you more of an interest in the job you are doing, gives you more authority, you tend to be more efficient, and you make more money.

Sam Pizzolato moved to Boothville in 1957 as an "isolated switcher" from the Bayou Choctaw area near the town of Plaquemine. After graduating from college and working as a roustabout, he worked himself up to a field foreman and then to consultant.  He bought a few boats - Breaux boats from outside of New Iberia.

Item 355: 00355_Plaisance, Hurby_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Golden Meadow, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

The interview, set up by Melvin Bernard, took place in Mr. Plaisance's home; he was tracking the stock prices on the TV while we talked. Some of the discussion was around the institution of well spacing regulations by the state. He also talked briefly about the deal Huey Long cut with Texaco to lease Louisiana Land & Exploration land, so as to stop Standard Oil of California from gaining a position in Louisiana. He had a few things to say on unions: since some parts of Texaco, such as the refineries, are union, the whole company gets similar pay scales, even when local sectors are not unionized. He contrasted this with contract workers, who may get more money per hour, but get no benefits. He talks a lot about how to control "kicks" while drilling.

After high school, in 1948, Hurby Plaisance started working on Rowan inland barges in Timbalier Bay. In 1952 he then became a Texaco employee on steam rigs on lake fields around Houma, Leeville, Golden Meadow, and elsewhere in southern Louisiana. By the time he retired from Texaco in 1987, he had risen to senior drilling supervisor, responsible for the company's offshore fields out of Morgan City.

Item 356: 00356_Poiencot, Russell_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Russell Poiencot through my presentation to the Morgan City/Houma group of the Shell Retirees' Group. He is the president of the group and was the host of the meeting. Afterwards, I made arrangements to meet him in Houma for an interview.  He provides descriptions of his work, the regulatory environment in which he worked, the kind of laborers Shell employed, and so on. Like many of his generation, he perceived a change in company/labor relations near the end of his career, and he describes this well near the end of the interview.  I returned to Russell's house the next day for an additional interview based on the photographs he loaned to the project.

Russell was born in 1928 and raised in Houma, spent some of his summers as a young man working for Texaco, and eventually found employment with GSI, a geographical surveying company with an office in Houma. To get this work, he utilized his training in the military. GSI was steady work, but the pay didn't compare to working for one of the majors, and he finally found his way to Shell Oil Company, where he finished his career.  Most of his time was spent in surveying and seismic work, with a focus on surveying. He eventually became responsible for Shell's surveying activity in much of the Eastern US.

Item 357: 00357_Poncio, Lnez_MMS-History (2005)

Interviewer(s): Lauren Penney; Joanna Stone; Colleen O'Donnell. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Inez's husband, John Henry Poncio, was a POW in Japan and with the help of his niece wrote a book about his experiences (Girocho: A GI's Story of Bataan and Beyond).  He died in 1998, but Inez is still recognized locally in Morgan City in part because of the success of this book and is often invited to the high school to talk with students.  This interview mainly covered her experiences in the WAC during WWII and there is no direct connection to the oil industry.

Inez Pierron Poncio was born in Morgan City, Louisiana in 1919.  She grew up in Morgan City with her mother, and older brother and sister, graduating high school as valedictorian at the age of 15.  She had trouble finding a job, but eventually waited tables and then worked for the Ford Motor Company and Mr. Boudreaux (boat business serviced the oil industry) before enlisting with the Women's Army Corps where she served from April of 1943 to April of 1946.  She worked in finance and was stationed at Camp Davis, North Carolina and Camp Shelby, Mississippi.  She returned to Morgan City and resumed her job with Boudreaux after being discharged and married John Henry Poncio a few months later.  He was still in the military, and she moved around with him before settling down in Morgan City.  She currently volunteers through her church with the Good Samaritans.

Item 358: 00358_Poorman, Frank_MMS-History (1998) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Tyler Priest; Sam Morton. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mr. Frank Poorman graduated in 1949 with his masters degree in Mechanical Engineering and began working for Shell full time that same year.  His first assignment after training came in 1950 to the Tulsa area and later served in Texas and Louisiana.  In 1958 he transferred to the Bellaire research lab and worked on various well completion tools for offshore.  In 1968 he transferred back to New Orleans to work as division production manager for the Delta division.  In 1974 he became Manager for Pipe Line operations in Houston, and in 1976 he became Manager for Purchasing in the Head Office.  1979 found him back in the Southern E&P region, this time as Division Production Manager for Onshore. He stayed there only a year before becoming Production Manager in the same capacity for the Eastern E&P.  Finally, in 1981 he became General Manager, Mid-Continent for Western E&P.  He stayed in that position until his retirement in 2000.

Item 359: 00359_Proffitt, Jack_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz and D. DiTucci. Sunset, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

[Note: Mr. Proffitt's wife also contributed to the interview, especially when talking about moving.]

Born in 1926 in Iowa, Jack Proffitt was the son of a machinist. He graduated high school in Ottumwa in 1943 and enlisted in the Navy (V-12 Program). While in the Navy he attended Iowa State College, where he received a degree in electrical engineering in 1946. He tried graduate school for a bit, but then decided to look for a job instead. He was hired by Geophysical Service (GSI) and spent several months in Texas before being transferred to Louisiana; he continued to move around a lot while working with the company (both within LA and out of state). He had his first experience doing offshore work as a supervisor outside of Houma in 1953. Later in his career he became manager of operations in the Gulf Coast Region and then manager of operations in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. When he returned to the U.S. he ran the company's worldwide marine operations for several years. He retired from GSI in 1981 and began a consulting business which he ran for about 15 years. He consulted for companies that manufactured equipment for the geophysical industry; his longest term client was DigiCOURSE. During the interview they discuss the evolution of seismic practices, moving around, and Mr. Proffitt relates several anecdotes from his time doodlebugging.

Item 360: 00360_Prosperie, Werlien_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Werlien Prosperie is a Cajun musician and oil field worker who now owns the Jolly Inn on Barrow Street in Houma, which is a deliberate revival of a Cajun bar and dancehall of the 1950s/60s.  I knew he had been collecting oil field photos to put on the wall of his establishment (he borrowed one from Ed Henry, who asked me to remind him about it if I saw him).  I was also aware of his music interests so I asked him about the photos and any music that celebrated oil work.  We had several long, intense conversations about oil work and Cajun culture.  I had been under the impression he was interviewed previously, so I hadn't brought in the tape recorder.  When I found we had no interview from him on record, I did a formal taping on one of my last days in Houma.  I wish I had taped the previous talks.

Werlien Prosperie is Cajun and proud of it.  His family is from the Montegut area, but he grew up essentially on his own in Houma.  He went to work for Delta Exploration and the Laughlin Brothers in summers while he attended high school, then on graduation in 1955, he started with the Texas Company.  He started out as kitchen help, then roughneck and worked on the drilling rigs until 1969, when he shifted over to production to be able to be closer to his family.  He worked the 6 and 6, later 7 and 7 schedules, which also allowed him to work for OK Fishing Tools on his time onshore.  In 1978 he began working full time for OK as store manager.  In 1998 OK Fishing Tools sold out to Quality Tubular services, which in turn was sold to Knight Oil Tools in 2003.  He continues as a salesman and consultant for Knight today.  At the same time, he has opened the Jolly Inn at the warehouse once used by Bethlehem Steel on Barrow Street.  He is attempting to use the Jolly Inn as a venue to carry on the community music and cultural tradition of the Cajuns.

Item 361: 00361_Pyle, Morris_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz and D. DiTucci. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Morris Pyle was born in east Texas in 1927. At the age of 24 his uncle got him a job on a seismic crew in southern Louisiana swamps and he moved to Lafayette; he worked for that company for about a year and a half. After that he went to work for another company, where he continued to generate maps from seismic data. He describes his early days on the seismic crews in the swamps, particularly noting what they were doing to generate maps and the importance of the local workers for moving about in the swamps.

Item 362: 00362_Redmond, John_MMS-History (1999) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

After graduating from Tulsa University with a Masters degree in Petroleum and Geological Engineering, John Redmond started at Shell as a Chemist in 1936.  In 1941 he helped fully establish the Bellaire Research lab.  He spent 1945-1948 he served in West Texas, Midland, and East Texas.  He transferred to Houston as Chief Exploitation Engineer in 1947-1948.  He served in that capacity until moving to New York as Chief Exploitation Engineer in 1954-1955.  From 1961-1965 he served with Shell Canada, and in 1971 he became Shell Oil's Executive Vice President for Exploration and Production.

Item 363: 00363_Reilly, John_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Mr. John Reilly grew up in Iowa, enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force in 1943, and served in the Pacific as a radar mechanic.  He graduated from Iowa State in 1951 with a degree in geology and joined GSI as a "computer."  After working as a seismologist on offshore seismic crews contracted to Union Producing, Reilly went to work for Union in 1957.  In 1965, he became district geophysicist in Corpus Christi.  After Pennzoil finished its acquisition Union in 1968, Reilly moved to Houston and eventually became chief geophysicist for Pennzoil.

Item 364: 00364_Renois, Joycelyn_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Cut Off, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

We met Joycelyn Renois during our initial baseline study of the offshore oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico when she was working for Windell Curole at the South Lafourche Levee District. Tom McGuire interviewed Joycelyn's husband, Butch, and father-in-law, Emmett Jr. He asked Joycelyn if she would be willing to talk about the industry from a woman's perspective, and she agreed. I met her at her home in Galliano.

Joycelyn Badeau Renois was born and has lived all her life in Galliano, Louisiana. Her grandparents were farmers. During World War II, her father began working on boats and learned welding, and when he returned to Louisiana he got a job with Louisiana Bottle Works. In the 1960s he became part owner in a shipyard, where he spent the rest of his career. Joycelyn went to school in Larose, graduated from high school, and went to college at Nicholls in Thibodaux. She met her husband, Butch, when he was visiting his parents; his mother was from Golden Meadow and his father worked in the oil field and had been transferred to southern Louisiana. Butch got a job with Chevron Oil Company and worked there his entire career. When her son started first grade, Joycelyn went to work in a real estate office to help earn money so she and her husband could buy property. In 1978, she got a job at the South Lafourche Levee District, a position she held until her retirement in 2003.

Item 365: 00365_Renois, Theodore "Butch"_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Cut Off, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Interviewed with brother, Emmett, Butch is one of two sons of Emmett Renois, Sr., from the Shreveport area. The father, born in 1902, died in 2000. His daughter-in-law, Joycelyn, wife of Butch and secretary to Windell Curole at the Lafourche Levee District, shot a home video of Emmett, Sr., in 1992, covering some of his recollections of working in the Leevillle oil fields right after the Depression; Emmett started working on land rigs in north Louisiana at age 16 during summer vacation.  He retired from Conoco, where he was a driller on Conoco's own rigs and on Rowan rigs.

Butch retired from Chevron, where he was first a production operator and then, with the merger of Chevron and Gulf, was transferred onshore to run the supply operation out of Leeville.  Butch started as roustabout in Chevron's Bay Marchand field in 1961, in production; promoted to wireline operation in 1979; got transferred to transportation, supplying everyone; on platforms, lived in 6-man bunkhouse on corner of platform.  Both are avid hunters, but not down here; they go up to the old family place of origin around Shreveport.

Item 366: 00366_Reyes, Dwight_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Piekielek. Grand Bayou, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Dwight Reyes (pronounced Reese) is Myrtle Phillips' older brother and also lives in Grand Bayou.  Diane Austin and I had met Dwight the week before while visiting with Myrtle, and had asked if he would be willing to do an interview.  He said that he would be, but that he was busy that afternoon doing some work outside.  When I returned to Plaquemines Parish, I called Myrtle and she arranged a time to meet with Dwight Reyes.  When we arrived, Dwight was outside making repairs to his boat.  Myrtle stayed for the interview and Dwight's wife, Teresa, was also present.  They kept the television on in the living room while we talked, although it was not distracting.  They like to watch one of the cooking channels and sometimes try out the recipes.  Teresa had been sick with cancer and may still be; I didn't ask about her current state of health.

Dwight Reyes was born in New Orleans in 1946 and moved to Grand Bayou at the age of five with his family.  His father and later he and his brothers were trappers.  He began working on boats as a deckhand at the age of eleven.  In 1960, he began work for J&J Towing where he stayed for 14 years.  Afterward, he worked seven years for Buster Hughes, which laid pipe for oil companies.  At both J&J Towing and Buster Hughes, Dwight Reyes worked on boats.  Intermittently, he worked as a trapper and trawler.  When his children were old enough to walk, Dwight Reyes stopped work for the oil companies, except  for occasional jobs, and began work as a full time fisherman.

Item 367: 00367_Rhodes, Percy_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Percy Rhodes was recommended by Diana Edmonson of the Houma-Terrebonne Council on Aging.  She contacted him directly and got his agreement ahead of time.  On my visit, he and his wife, Ann, were both welcoming.  By the end of the interview, his wife sat in and made some comments.  He was very excited about the photo book and made some corrections.

Percy Rhodes started with Texaco in 1956 as a kitchen hand at the camp at Lake Pelto.  In 1959, he was 21 and then allowed to work on the rigs as a roustabout.  Later he worked in production.  In 1969 he worked as an independent contractor as a tugboat captain.  When oil work slowed in 1976, he lost his contract, and began working for Texaco on a boat crew.  By 1986, he became a mechanic and worked in that capacity at Caillou Island until retirement in 1994.

Item 368: 00368_Rhodes, Wilbert_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Bourg, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Wilbert Rhodes is the brother of Percy Rhodes whom I had interviewed previously.  Like Percy, Wilbert was contacted by Diana Edmonson of the Council on Aging.  Wilbert and his wife, Geri, live in Bourg, not far from the field where he worked.  Geri is a retired teacher.  We spent a fair amount of time going through the photo book.

Wilbert Rhodes' father was a trapper, carpenter, and boat builder (he developed a V-bottom boat which was successful for inshore work) who worked as a contractor for the oil fields, mostly Texaco.  He attended McNeese College for two years (1953-54), but went to work when he was married.  He worked on one of his father's boats until 1958, when he went to work for Texaco as a galley hand.  Then he worked as a production clerk for Texaco for 8 years.  In 1966 he went to work for Unocal as production clerk.  In 1972 he shifted to personnel and safety.  In 1985, he was promoted to district industrial relations supervisor and manager of the Houma office.  He retired in 1991.

Item 369: 00369_Richardelle, E.J, Katherine and Curole, B_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Cut Off, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

E.J. Richardelle's wife, Katherine, became involved in the history project during the first meeting of the project action team established by the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program. We talked about the study design and goals, and Katherine became animated as she realized that her entire life had been affected by the oil and gas industry. I suggested that Katherine and her husband should be interviewed, and she invited me to their house. I arrived the morning after Katherine and E.J. had returned from visiting their son in Mississippi.

E.J. was born in February 1933 in Larose, Louisiana, and worked for Chevron from 1955-1990. He started working on boats and was transferred to platforms in 1971 when Chevron sold its marine fleet. He worked as an oiler, gauger, and safety man.

Item 370: 00370_Richoux, Irvin_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Grand Isle, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

On my trip in January, I paid a courtesy call to the mayor, David Camardelle, whom I had met on an earlier project. After chatting, he introduced me to the building inspector, Irvin Richoux. He would be out of town, but agreed to meet with me the next time I came down. I interviewed him in his office at the Town Hall, as it was being vacuumed at the close of the day.

Irvin Richoux is Grand Isle's building inspector and also port commissioner. He came from Golden Meadow at age 6, in 1944. His daddy was an iceman working out of Golden Meadow, then built a house on the island. Irvin thus grew up on Grand Isle, owned a gas station that was destroyed by Hurricane Betsy in 1965, moved back up the bayou for a few years, returned to Grand Isle as a minister, built a couple of shrimp boats, became the town's chief mechanic, then was asked to become building inspector. He was 63 when he moved inside to an office at Town Hall.

Item 371: 00371_Rigaud, Aubin Clovis_MMS-History (2003,2005)

Interviewer(s): Tom McGuire; Christina Leza; Colleen O'Donnell. Grand Isle, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Harris Cheramie at the Port Fourchon Marina recommended Aubin Rigaud who was listed, erroneously, as Clovis Austin Rigaud in the phonebook. While interviewing Arthur Bellanger, the error was detected and I was put on the right trail. Since Harris' referrals have been extremely productive in the past, I was eager to meet Mr. Rigaud. I interviewed him at his home along Coulon Rigaud Lane, where his family has lived for many generations. The interview ranged widely over the Grand Isle economy of farming, shrimping, and fishing, marketing cucumbers in Chicago, some observations on the erosion of the beaches. He also recalled the punishment for speaking French in school: if he had kept all the yellow sheets of paper where he had to write down phrases, you could lay them down and walk from Grand Isle to Golden Meadow on them. The second interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry.

Aubin was 70 years old at the time of the 2003 interview, having recently stopped shrimping due to health problems. His father was also a shrimper, on seine boats. His grandmother was a midwife, long before Grand Isle had any doctors. Rigaud remembers a hard childhood of constant chores, a rather autocratic family structure, and a childhood nickname of "Patch," for the shape of the clothes he wore. When his father got arthritis, Aubin quit school and took over the family shrimp boat - a captain at age 13. After the Korean War, he went to work offshore, then learned welding and spent 18 years on the rigs, working for a welding company contracted out to Humble/Exxon.

Item 372: 00372_Rivet, Al_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Al Rivet was the president of the local chapter of the Shell retirees club, and he was recommended to me by Jimmy Hebert, the vice-president of the same club. He's a jovial and outgoing guy.  Al is a wealth of knowledge about the oilfield and offshore work. We were able to talk about a lot of interesting things in the course of our discussion, including the role of hands-on experience in forging an oilman, the hierarchy of positions on the rig, the attitude of the labor, the culture of rig life, the role of social networks in getting business and finding a job, the shift from Texan to Cajun drillers, the old way of putting together a crew, how the demands on the rig bring diverse peoples together, and how fishing boosted morale.

Al Rivet is a veteran; after returning from service he started work for Shell as a galley hand in 1954. He ended his career as a toolpusher, still with Shell.

Item 373: 00373_Robb, William_MMS-ShipChannel (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Captain Bill Robb grew up near a seaport in Scotland. He went to sea as an apprentice at age 16. When World War II broke out, he was thrust into the Merchant Marine, transporting cargo from Europe to the Far East. He participated in the Allied Invasion of North Africa in November 1942; his ship was bombed by a German torpedo bomber and was never recovered. After the war, he became a captain continued to work at sea, until he came to the Port of Houston in 1949 as a superintendent for a stevedoring company. He retired as Vice President of Young & Company Stevedoring after 50 years in the business.

Item 374: 00374_Robertson, Ira_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Thibodaux, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Ira Robertson is the ex-brother-in-law of Ms. Delores Henderson of Morgan City, wife of Caleb Henderson (RH011). Ms. Delores called me in August to tell me about Ira; she had already talked to him about the project. Even though he isn't married to Caleb's sister anymore, Ira and Ms. Delores still see each other once a week when he comes over to cut her lawn. He lives in a small gray house with sea foam green shutters in Thibodaux, LA.  Ira is an easygoing man, quick with a smile and a laugh unless a topic he was particularly passionate about came up. He then became somewhat of a preacher, extolling the vices and virtues needed to keep one's soul from fire and damnation. He gives a wonderful perspective about what it was like to be Black and working in the late 60's and early 70's.

Ira was born near Shreveport and moved to Morgan City in 1960 where his brother-in-law got him a job with McDermott. He worked as a welder for McDermott until he had problems with one of the bosses and then moved on to Avondale in Bayou Black. He advanced from tacker to welder to welder foreman. He enjoyed his job very much, although he said the only way he made it was because he had 7 children to feed and he was willing to put up with a lot. He said that was the choice the Black man had, either do your best to ignore the name calling and the unfair policies or leave and go sit on your couch.

Item 375: 00375_Robin, Joseph Wilson_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Arnaudville, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Joseph W. Robin was born in 1937 in Breaux Bridge, where his family had cotton and heifers. After graduating high school there in 1955, he went to study agriculture for three months at Southwestern Louisiana Institute (SLI, now ULL). He worked for Southern Pacific for three or four months before going to work for Phillips 66 in 1957 as a deckhand and replacement engineer, servicing the Eugene Island area. In 1962 he went to work for Sewart Sea Craft. Over a period of six months he was off work, during which time he was ill; then in 1963 he went to work for Tidewater as a deckhand engineer; two years later he became a boat captain. While working for Tidewater he got his 100-, 300-, 500-, and 1600-ton boat licenses and his ocean endorsement. In 1992, the company named a boat after him, the "Joe Tide". For the year and a half before he retired in 1999, he worked as a safety man and helped to certify the company with the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).

Item 376: 00376_Robin, Russell_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): D. DiTucci. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Russell Robin was born in 1931 in Breaux Bridge. At 17 he got a job on a dredging crew with McWilliams Company and five years later served in the Korean War for 2 years. He was discharged in 1954, came back home, got married, and resumed his work dredging. Less than half a year later, he got a job as a deckhand with Phillips Petroleum Company on a drilling rig off of Eugene Island (35 miles offshore) where he worked until he was laid off. In 1961, he went to work for Tidewater and over the course of a year was promoted from deckhand to engineer, from engineer to captain. He left Tidewater in 1971 to go to work for McDermott as a boat captain; he retired from McDermott in 1990. He also discusses unionization, the cultural impacts of the oil industry, and how he earned his pilot's license.

Item 377: 00377_Robinson, Joe and Mildred_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s):  Diane Austin; Tom McGuire; Emily Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Tom Becnel referred us to Joe Robinson, a 94-year old who worked in the oil and gas industry and is a member of his church. He talked to Joe and told him we would be coming by, so we called to confirm the time. Tom and I met Joe and Mildred at their home. While we were there, Emily called and came over as well.

Joe Robinson has been involved in the oil industry his entire life. His father worked in the oil fields when Joe was young. For Joe the oil industry offered one of the only possibilities for finding work during the Depression. Joe started working January 8, 1937 and spent about five years working for Texaco. He went to welding school in New Orleans and returned to the company in the engineering department. He then went back to work on a workover rig doing maintenance and then onto a regular drilling rig where he worked his way up to toolpusher. He stayed in that job for 15 years and, at age 60, after 33 years on the water, he retired. Mildred was a schoolteacher and continued working until her retirement in 1974.

Item 378: 00378_Rodgers, Billy_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Billy Rodgers was born in 1926 in Northeast Texas, near oilfields, but they never found oil on his family's land. He didn't think he would attend college, but after serving in Korea, he attended school using the G.I. Bill, and majored in Engineering. He was hired by Humble Oil and Refining Company (later Exxon), and worked in Texas and Louisiana. He discusses life in Grand Isle and compares the past oil industry to the present-day's.

Item 379: 00379_Rogers, Elgin_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Bayou Blue, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Elgin Rogers is a friend of F.J. Matherne. I had called him when I was in town in September, but our interview was cancelled at the last minute. This time around F.J. called and set up the appointment for me.

Elgin was educated at the MacDonald Mission School because his parents were so poor. This was a local school for orphans and the poor of southern Louisiana. Before finishing high school he went to work for the oil industry. Elgin worked for contract firms his whole life. He began at a contract company and then went to work for Texaco for awhile. Even though he got days off with Texaco he didn't like it as much because he didn't make as much money as he had working for contract firms. After working for Texaco for a year he went back to working for various contract companies. He worked all areas of the oil field but mainly stayed in production and drilling. Although he never received any retirement, he was able to save money over the years and has made a comfortable life for himself. He moved his way up to a field foreman for one of the firms. When asked if he would have rather worked for a big company he said, "Well, no I don't think so.  No matter where you work, them hard days come like bananas, in bunches."

Item 380: 00380_Rogers, Lloyd Anthony. "Pete"_MMS-History (2002,2005)

Interviewer(s): Andrew Gardner; Diane Austin; Betsy Plumb. Patterson, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Pete Rogers was recommended to me by Robert Shivers in Patterson. I came to discover that the social networks of retired oilmen in the region are very community-based; although I had talked to numerous Shell hands in Morgan City, none had mentioned Pete. Pete is 87 years old, and began work for Shell well before WWII. Prior to working on the survey crews in the area, he worked for timber companies, and he even drove the shrimp trucks up to New York City with Parker Conrad (see AG-017). His experiences in WWII were formative, and he is an amateur historian for his division in the Air Force.  The first interview was fairly brief, as his responses to my questions were fairly short. This is not to say, however, that there wasn't a lot of good information here. We talked quite a bit about the community of Patterson, and the impact of the oil industry upon the community and the others around it. He talks about some of his early offshore work, and the difficulties of working offshore when one is married. We also talk about comparisons between Shell and the other major oil companies. He also does a good job of describing the industries that were already in place when the oil industry arrived in the region. We also talk about unionization in the oilpatch. A photo interview expanded on the first interview and provided new information. The interview focused on Pete's work with the early exploration and seismograph crews. He worked with an instrument called the torsion balance - a German-designed machine that would soon become a relic in oilfield exploration. Many of the photographs detail the process involved in setting up the instrument, carrying it between locations, and so on. In addition to this, however, there is a variety of other detail and description included in the interview. The third interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry.

Pete Rogers was born in Patterson, Louisiana, and he was 87 years old at the time of the 2002 interview - born in 1914. "Pete" and "Frenchie" are his nicknames - he got the second one during WWII. He started work for Shell Oil in 1935 as part of an exploration crew, but they had a temporary layoff in 1940, and he decided to join the military for service. When he got back from the war in 1945, he joined the production department at Shell. He retired in 1976 after 35 years, and with the 10 percent matching savings plan, he got a good retirement.

Box 7
Item 381: 00381_Rome, Sr., Joseph MacNeely "Mac"_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Golden Meadow, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

MacNeely ("Mac") Rome was Texaco's production supervisor for the Golden Meadow and Leeville fields, going back to the 1950s. He reported to Bruce Pagliughi, who is Mac's neighbor in Golden Meadow. I interviewed Mac at his Golden Meadow home, but he lives mostly in a house in Galliano, with his wife. Mac is active in the lower Lafourche Texaco retirees' club, and we met him again when we attended their annual dinner in Larose in January, 2002. He agreed to organize a focus group of Texaco retirees on our next field visit.

Mac Rome's father was the iceman in Donaldsonville, and he moved his family to Golden Meadow in 1939.  Mac graduated from high school in 1944, went into the Navy, worked for a Gulf distributorship until he was 21, old enough to get hired on at Texaco.  Mac rose through the ranks from roustabout to supervisor.

Item 382: 00382_Ross, Burt_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Burt Ross is a member of the Old Salts Club, as they have dubbed themselves. I met him through Rylan Higgins in Morgan City one early morning at Shoney's. Rylan's contact to the group is Mr. Jimmy Jett. All members of the Old Salts Club worked for Magnolia (Mobil) in some capacity.  Burt is a very soft-spoken man who has a wonderful memory about where he was and when. He stated that going through the process of remembering his past jobs was difficult due to how many jobs he'd held in the oilfield. Burt has a wonderful picture of an accident where a boat ran into a rig and ripped it out of the water. The boat should have sunk; instead it sailed back to port with the rig on top of it and the men still in the rig.   

Burt Ross was born in 1928 in Morgan City, finished high school in 1947, and went to work for Magnolia as a galley hand in 1949. He was laid off after two months when the work slowed down and then rehired as a deckhand a month later. He was transferred to Texas in 1951 due to lack of work and then drafted into the army in 1952. When he returned to Morgan City after his discharge in 1954, Burt was immediately hired by Magnolia as a roustabout. He was advanced through several positions within the company (Magnolia/Mobil) and retired in the 1980s as a production supervisor IV.

Item 383: 00383_Rousso, Santo_MMS-History (2001,2005)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner; R. Higgins; D. Austin; B. Plumb. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Santo Rousso is a member of the Mobil Retirees' Old Salts Club. He worked most of his career for Magnolia (later Mobil) Oil Company. All in all he had a good time with them, but midway through his career he grew tired of the constant relocation and tried working for a couple years for a contractor in Morgan City. He spent most of his early career working the seismograph crews. This would eventually take him to all parts of the world, and for many years his family would relocate around the U.S. as the new jobs came up. After he quit, he came back to Mobil in the Marine department, which is under the production department.  For the purposes of this study, the most valuable information here will probably concern impacts to the family, his description of Mobil's willingness to take him back after he quit, and his wife's description of her concerns about his job security. She has a fairly significant chunk of the first interview. The second interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry.

Santo Rousso was born in Morgan City in 1921. He worked in his father's grocery store as a young man and then joined the Air Force. He returned to Morgan City in 1945 after WWII ended. He opened a radio repair shop in town and then began working part-time for Magnolia Oil Company. They kept him so busy that he had to close his shop. He began developing seismograms, did seismic work, and became a geophysical helper. He moved throughout the United States, alternating time in Morgan City with assignments elsewhere. He retired in the late 1980s.

Item 384: 00384_Rousso, Stella_MMS-History (2005)

Interviewer(s): Lauren Penney; Joanna Stone, Colleen O'Donnell. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

During Santo Rousso's interview for the D-Day Museum, he mentioned that his wife had served in the Women's Army Corps, so Diane and Joanna asked her if she would be willing to participate.  The interview was set up for the next week, to be held in her home as she has trouble walking.

Stella Rousso was born Marie Stella Peltier in Baldwin, Louisiana in 1920.  Her father was a bridge tender for the railroad, and the family moved to Bayou Boeuf, Morgan City and finally Jennings, where Stella finished high school.  She worked in a department store for awhile before hearing about the Women's Auxiliary on the radio.  She and a cousin decided to enlist, and Stella served for 3 years in the aircraft warning service and as a base operations specialist in Portland, Maine and at Westover Field, Massachusetts.  Upon her return to Morgan City, she worked as a payroll clerk for Riverside, then moved with her husband and two daughters all over the south following his job with Mobil.  When he finally got on offshore, Stella got a job with the city, from which she retired in 1983.

Item 385: 00385_Rucks, William W III_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

William Rucks III was born in Nashville, Tennessee but at an early age moved to Oklahoma City. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1952 with a Business Administration degree. He became interested in scouting and found a job shortly after graduation with Phillips Petroleum in Lafayette. After 2 years, he was promoted to District Land Manager. He then became an independent contractor after 8 years of working for Phillips. He discusses his relationship with Heymann and the development of the Oil Center in Lafayette. As an outsider, moving to Lafayette took a little cultural adjustment, but overall, he enjoyed working in the oil industry.

Item 386: 00386_Ruffin, Roussell_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): R. Higgins. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Roussell Ruffin's name was one of three that Raymond Morrison had given me. Raymond's name was one among several that Julie Delaune gave me when I asked her about Black men who worked for McDermott in the company's early years. Roussell worked in fabrication in the 1950s and 60s. He currently owns a couple of tractor-trailers that work primarily in the oil industry. His office is an old, well-worn mobile home at the southern most end of Federal. Inside, there are a couple desks, a couch and lots of coffee.  He was friendly and enjoyed talking.

Roussell was born in Siracusaville in 1929. He talked at length about what it meant for him to grow up as a Black child. He graduated from Morgan City Colored High School in 1946.  He was captain of the basketball team that year. After high school, Roussell worked in the cane fields and then as a crane operator in the local lumberyard. In 1961 he went to work as a crane operator for Brown and Root.

Item 387: 00387_Ruiz, Burleigh and Molly_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I got Burleigh Ruiz's name from F.J. Matherne who has been a very good resource. The two worked together for 30 years both in drilling and production.

Burleigh Ruiz worked for Texaco for 39 years. His father was in the sugar business, but Burleigh wanted to make more money. He began as a radio operator in 1948 and then worked as a roughneck for two years. Burleigh was a gang pusher in 1962 out at Lake Barre. He didn't really like all of the responsibility and asked for a different assignment. He then became a gas lift specialist out at Caillou Island in 1972.  That is the job he held until he retired in 1987. After retiring, he and his wife concentrated on their income tax business. Burleigh had taken an H&R Block course while he was still working for the oil company. He stated that the first Black man to work at Lake Barre was in 1966 - 1967. That is a bit earlier than other estimates I'd heard previously, but Burleigh and his wife Molly insisted that that was correct.

Item 390: 00390_Sadler, Forrest_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Born in 1921, Forrest Sadler grew up in east Texas in the small town of Troup. His father worked in the oilfield firing boilers and would take Forrest to work with him when he was just a child. During high school, he worked summers in the oilfields. After he was discharged from the Navy in 1946, he went to work for Texaco in south Texas. Six years later, he went to work for a service company, Christianson Diamond Products Company, in Henderson, Texas. In 1958, he moved to Shreveport and was made district manager. Four yeas later he was transferred to Lafayette to get the district going. In 1969, he became sales coordinator for the Eastern Hemisphere and moved to London. After spending four years in that position, he was transferred to Singapore where he served as manager of Southeast Asia. He left Christianson in 1975, moved back to Lafayette, and then went to work as the Rocky Mountain manager for Hycalog in Casper, Wyoming; a year later, he was transferred to Singapore. Throughout the interview he remarks on how different the world is today than when he was growing up.

Item 391: 00391_Salter, Norman "Pete"_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Norman Salter was born in 1912 in Many, Louisiana; he was raised in northern Louisiana. He left college (where he was studying to be a school teacher) when he was about 20 to go work in the oilfield first in north Louisiana and then in south Texas. A friend helped him to get a job as a derrick for Nicholas Drilling Company; they worked in the Tepetate Field near Basile, Louisiana, and a field near Ville Platte. He moved with his family to Lafayette from Eunice in 1956 so that his daughters could go to college at Southwestern Louisianan Institute (SLI); at that time he had an independent drilling company with a few partners. Not long after moving to Lafayette, he sold out his share in the company and went to work as a superintendent for MichPSC, as gas pipeline company. They were unsuccessful in the area and moved out; he then got into consulting.

Item 392: 00392_Samaha, Mary_MMS-History (2001,2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mrs. Mary Samaha was born in 1930. She is active in many different organizations, clubs and groups. She approached Andrew Gardner at an oilfield workers meeting in New Orleans expressing interest in talking with someone about her experiences growing up in the oilfield with her step-father, Escoe "Joe" Benton.  She lives in a newer part of Houma, LA. in a large modern house. Her husband, M.J., was present for most of the interview. He would add things that Mary wouldn't, such as reiterating time and again how important Mary was to Joe as well as how much work she did while working in the company. M.J. also worked in the oilfield. He worked at Shell in the exploration department for 36 years. Mary is a master gardener and does a lot of community outreach work, mainly in the field of community education concerning environmental issues

In the second interview, I asked Mary about the growth of Houma and how local businesses associated with the oilfield contributed to the transformation of Houma from a small fishing town into a thriving oil town. I acquired the names of five businesses that began in the 1950's and are still operating under the same name. Mary's stepfather, Jerry Benson, Sr., owned one of those businesses, Benton Casing. Mary had been one of the major shareholders in the company as well as head of the accounting department. She was pleased to talk about the company. She called her brother, Jerry's youngest son, who was still running his own business under the same name. Jerry Benton Jr. had only 20 minutes to sit and talk, but he agreed to be interviewed again later.  Mary, Jerry, M.J. and I talked about how the business got started, how Jerry Sr. made contacts, and how he kept his business running even through the rough times.

Item 393: 00393_Sanford, Joe and Susie_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Several divers talked about Sanford Brothers and wanted to know if I had interviewed Joe. I mentioned this to Jean Shirley and learned that Joe's wife, Susie, teaches Sunday school with Jean. Jean agreed to tell her about the study so she could talk with Joe about it. She was a bit concerned about whether he could participate because he had a stroke a couple of years ago. I called the Sanfords and left a message that I would be in Morgan City. Then, Hurricane Lili hit. On Saturday, I called again, and Susie said that Joe was awake and that I should come on over. I arrived to find Joe on the back porch. He led me into a large kitchen and dining area where Susie was preparing a huge pot of chili for the weekly Sunday family dinner. She joined us, and we sat at the dining room table for the interview.

Joe was born and raised in South Carolina and got into the diving business after leaving the Marine Corps in 1954. He dove for a couple of years on the east coast until he received a call from a friend to come to the Gulf Coast to dive for Sea Engineering. After Joe had been at Sea Engineering for four years, the owner, Jack Tucker, had a heart attack and sold the company, and its insurance policy, to Joe and his brother. They formed Sanford Brothers and moved to Morgan City. They were able to obtain work because at that time they were the only diving company working in the area that had insurance, and the oil companies were starting to require their contractors to carry insurance. Within a few years, the company grew from Joe and his brother to a 45-50 person operation. In 1967, Westinghouse officers approached Joe to buy the company. After they made a couple of trips to Morgan City and Joe made a couple of trips to Pittsburgh, a deal was made. Joe stayed with Westinghouse for two years until Westinghouse sold the company to Santa Fe Drilling Company. After a few months, Westinghouse paid Joe off. Within a couple of years, Santa Fe had gone broke and was out of the diving business. Meanwhile, Joe and a former employee purchased Morgan City rentals, a company that rents equipment to petroleum and service companies. After Joe had his stroke, he sold the business to his son.

Item 394: 00394_Santiny, Carl and Georgia_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Grand Isle, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Carl Santiny was recommended by Jean Landry. I had tried to catch him several times, finally sitting down with him and his wife for several hours.  The interview ranged widely over topics, including a discussion by both the Santinys of local healing practices before the advent of doctors on the island. Carl is very complimentary about his company, Freeport Sulphur, but less so when Jim Bob Moffert took over.

Carl Santiny, now 72 years old, is a native of Grand Isle. Georgia, his wife, is from Monroe, LA. They met when she came down to Grand Isle for a vacation. Carl's dad was a shrimper. Carl has lots of relatives in New Orleans, where they went to work in the plants during the war. He was councilman and justice of the peace. He retired from Freeport in 1994 where he was base superintendent. Their daughter works offshore, doing computer work.

Item 395: 00395_Santiny, Sidney and Mildred_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Grand Isle, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jean Landry introduced me to Sidney and Mildred Santiny at the seniors' daily dinner at the Grand Isle community center. They willingly agreed to talk, so I interviewed them at their home.  The interview was rather brief.

Sidney worked for 30 years as roustabout for Tidewater Marine, a division of Brown and Root; and retired at age 65. He has been married twice, each to a Mildred. The present Mildred and Sidney have been together now for 18 years. Mildred said most elderly couples now are "companions" rather than married couples, on account of Social Security and tax penalties for married folks. Jean Landry introduced me to Sidney and Mildred Santiny at the seniors' daily dinner at the Grand Isle community center. They willingly agreed to talk, so I interviewed them at their home.

Item 396: 00396_Savoie, Earl P._MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Piekielek; S. Kennedy. Dulac, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Scott and I met Earl P. Savoie at the senior lunch in Grand Caillou and struck up a conversation with him and another couple, the Duplantis, who had been his long time neighbors.  He agreed to talk with us that day, so after lunch we followed him to his house.  Earl lives alone, although he has family living close by.  After the end of the interview, two of his great grandchildren who live next door stopped by to visit.  Earl talked a lot about his house, which he built himself, and how he had to move once when they widened Grand Caillou Road.  On his days off, he did electrical work and carpentry, at his own home and for others as a second job.  Earl's wife, Cecil, died in January of this year, after a sickness of 9 years.  He was still in the process of cleaning up and sorting through things which his wife was in charge of organizing, so he wasn't able to locate any old photos.

Earl P. Savoie was born in 1922, grew up on Bayou Blue and graduated from Terrebonne High School in 1940.  He met his wife, Cecil Bourg Savoie, from Dulac, and they married in 1942.  After three years in the service, Earl P. Savoie began work for Texaco in 1947, starting as a galleyhand and ending as a head cook.  He worked for Texaco for 36 years and retired in 1984 at the age of 59.

Item 397: 00397_Savoie, Joyce_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Boutte, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Joyce is the widow of Joe Savoie, a diver who developed his own line of diving helmets. Several of the divers asked me if I had interviewed Joyce, so I called her and she said she would be very happy to do an interview because she is very proud of her husband. I met her at her house and we visited for about six hours. She told me about being married to Joe, his work as a diver and inventor, and the life they had together. She showed me Joe's first helmet, which is the one he wore. We also went out and looked at his workshops in the backyard. Most of the equipment he used is still in the yard and the shops.

Joyce and Joe were married 38 years. Joe was ten years older than Joyce when they married. They met when Joe walked into the telephone answering service for which Joyce was working and Joyce decided she was going to get him. Joyce was born in Lafayette and moved with her family to the west bank, which is where she was living when she met Joe. Joe was born in 1929 in Point a la Hache, then lived in Houma and Westwego before moving to Boutte with Joyce. They were married on January 30, 1965. Joe was in the Air Force for 15 years but left after he hit a lieutenant, broke his hand, and saw his rating go down. His brother, Blue, was diving when Joe came home, and Joe began working for him as a tender. He began making his diving helmets in 1963 when he was working for Dick Evans Divers and wanted something that would be safer for the divers. He worked until he became ill in 1998; he died on March 10, 1999, the day of the diver's reunion.

Item 398: 00398_Schouest, Joseph_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Covington, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Joe Schouest at the divers' reunion on March 10, 2002. Several people told me I would have to meet and talk with Joe, and a couple told me the story of the diving accident in which he lost most of his right hand, before I actually got the chance to talk with him. He wore a blue leather glove on his right hand but did not say anything about his injury. He told me that he had saved over ten years' worth of diving logs from the 1970's and 1980's and that I was welcome to take them and read them. I told him I would certainly like to do so, and he gave me his phone number to contact him. I called a couple of days later and set up the meeting at his house. When I arrived, he met me at the door and invited me in to sit at the kitchen table. He had a stack of photos, magazines, and company materials on the table and began by talking about them. His wife and another woman, whom he later introduced as the wife of another diver who had passed away a couple of years earlier, were moving around in the background

Joe Schouest was born in 1929 in New Orleans, started working for Taylor Diving in 1960 and dove for Taylor for 28 years, the longest of any employee at the time he retired. He began work as a seaman in the Merchant Marine in 1946 and worked at sea for 10 years. He also worked at the Michou plant assembling tank engines for the Korean War. He began diving in the Mississippi River in 1957, moved to the Gulf of Mexico in 1960 with Taylor Diving, and then did his first job in the North Sea in 1967. In 1968, he was sent back to the North Sea where he remained until 1980. He married an English woman in 1970 and had two children. He returned to the Gulf in 1980 and worked there until his retirement in 1987.

Item 399: 00399_Schrick, Ben_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Ben Schrick was born in 1941 in Iowa. He earned his Airframe and Power Plant Certificate from Amarelle Aeronautic Institute in Florida. He was hired by PHI in 1964. In 1965 he received his commercial pilot license, and since then worked as a helicopter mechanic and pilot, working abroad and in Louisiana. He also discusses the importance of helicopters' in the oil industry and his perceptions of Lafayette.

Item 400: 00400_Schwab, Frank_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Frank Schwab started in the oil industry in 1953 as a cook's helper for Stanolin Oil and Gas Company. Shortly thereafter, he asked for a position on a seismographic crew and worked his way through several types of positions with the same company. He spent a total of 33.5 years with the company, 22 of which were offshore. He also discusses the dangers involved in his work and some of the cultural changes he noticed over the years.

Item 402: 00402_Sellers, Emmet_MMS-History (2004) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. Christy. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Emmet Sellers was born in Abbeville, Louisiana on July 27, 1927.  He was drafted by the U. S. army in 1947 but was later transferred to the Air Force as part of the 55, 000 troops "to pay back the Air Force" for troops "borrowed" during World War II.  He attended Southern Louisiana Institute (now ULL) in Lafayette and then went to work as a basic engineer for the US Coast and Geological Survey.  His father worked many years and retired from  a Texaco gas processing plant in Erath. Emmet went to work for Texaco in June of 1950 as a deckhand.  Several months later, Mr. Sellers was roustabouting and also worked as a pumper.  He later became a production supervisor for Texaco.  Most of his career was spent around Horseshoe Bayou and Morgan City, Louisiana.  He retired from Texaco in 1986.

Item 403: 00403_Seneca, Rene_MMS-History (2001,2004)

Interviewer(s): Andrew Gardner; Jamie Christy. Berwick, LA; Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona, University of Houston/History International

Rene Seneca was referred by Lou Trosclair. He was interviewed by Andrew Gardner in 2001 and then again by Jamie Christy in 2004.

Rene Seneca was born in Bayou Chene, Louisiana in 1922.  His parents were fishermen and moss-pickers, but his father also cut cypress timber in south Louisiana.  He spent time in the oil fields as a boy, bringing water to roughnecks. Mr. Seneca completed eighth grade and his family moved to Loreauville, Louisiana in 1937.  He fought in the Army in World War II and went to Panama and the Pacific.  He went to work for Texaco in 1947, driving crews out to the rigs.  He remembers steam rigs and school board leases obtained by Texaco.  Mr. Seneca drove a boat for Texaco and also "pumped" at Bateman Lake for 30 years.  He went to Horseshoe Bayou as a roustabout in 1950 and moved to Berwick in 1954.  Mr. Seneca retired from Texaco in 1983.

Item 404: 00404_Shaw, John_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): R. Carriker. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

John Shaw is from Stanton, Illinois. He graduated from University of Illinois in 1949 and had a series of jobs in different parts of the country before moving to Louisiana in early 70s. He worked with a variety of companies, including Shell Oil, Exxon-Mobil, and Superior Oil. He also discusses Lafayette, changes in the oil industry, and the Lafayette oil industry in the 1980s.

Item 405: 00405_Shea, Jerry_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jerry Shea's company,  Bayou Pipe Coating, is one of the biggest employers in the region, and the Sheas have been around since the 30's. Jerry lives on the family property in a beautiful, large house on the bayou. His wife, Harriet, arrived halfway through the interview but did not participate. Jerry is retired now, but he still plays a semi-active role in the business. Our conversation jumped all over the place.  The interview notes below include more detail about the other businesses that came and went. There are lots of valuable sections here, including a description of the changing labor pool, the impact of environmental regulations upon business, the difficulties incurred by hiring Blacks, and the importance of safety in getting contracts.

Jerry's grandfather moved from Texas to the region (via northern Louisiana) as part of his employment from Texaco. His grandfather ended up being in charge of the entire district for Texaco and is well known by the Texaco employees I interviewed. Jerry's father and uncle broke away from Texaco and started a variety of different businesses, the most successful of which was Bayou Pipe Coating.

Item 406: 00406_Shirley, O.J._MMS-History (1999) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Stewart. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

After serving in World War II as a B17 pilot, Mr. O.J. Shirley attended the University of Oklahoma and graduated in 1948. He joined Shell that same year. After training he worked in various capacities from Texas to Wyoming.  Eventually, he became a district engineer in the Houston division.  He worked in New Orleans as an area coordinator and production superintendent.  Later they made him operating manager for the delta division.  Finally he served as a liaison between Shell, the government and environmental groups.

Item 407: 00407_Shivers, Robert_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. Patterson, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Robert Shivers contacted John Ryan, a previous participant, and asked about getting in touch with me. I called him when I arrived in Morgan City, and after a brief discussion, we made arrangements to meet at his office in Patterson the next day. Robert is a transplanted Texan. He was talkative, informative, and had numerous photographs. Robert got started in the oilfield in Texas. He was born in Hull in 1929. His father built derricks for several oil companies. Robert began working in the oilfield in 1944 digging trenches for pipes. He moved to Louisiana in 1957 and got involved in home construction and real estate. As a result, the information directly concerning the oilfield is limited to his work in Texas. The remainder of the interview is of value for its perspective on Morgan City as a community, the history of its growth, the impact of the economic contractions upon the flow of labor and, ultimately, upon the real estate market.

Robert Shivers was born in Hull, Texas in 1929. His father built derricks for the Gulf Oil Company and later worked for the Sun Oil Company and for the Rio Bravo Oil Company. Robert stayed in Hull through the 11th grade of high school, and graduated in 1946. Then he went to the University of Texas, and finished in 1950. He began working in the oilfield in 1944 in Monroe City, Texas. Then in '52 he entered the Army. He got out in '54, and the oilfield was cutting back then. He built an office for a doctor and got into the home-building business. He moved to Morgan City, LA in 1957, and it was a boomtown then. They could use anybody with any kind of skill here. They'd send buses to Arkansas and other places just to find people to work. They needed houses by the dozen around here, so that's how he got into the business.

Item 408: 00408_Shivers II William Gilbert "W.G" with W.G.Shivers_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Patterson, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

William Gilbert (W.G.) Shivers became involved in the history study after he learned about it from his younger brother, Robert Shivers (see AG047p, AG048). Robert was interviewed for the study and told his brother about it. W.G. called the university and tracked down our research team. He lives in Hull, Texas, but he and his son drove to Patterson for the interview. The interview is rich with details about the early fields, the process of rig building, and the conditions under which rig builders worked.

W.G. was born in 1922 in Beaumont, Texas. His grandfather had moved to the oilfield in Saratoga, Texas in 1909. He was a timber contactor and flathead, but then his brother-in-law went to the oilfield there and told him he could make $3 a day. He went to work for Gulf Oil as a member of a pipeline gang and in 1918 went into partnership with another man as a rig builder. He moved to Hull, Texas. W.G.'s father came home from the service in 1917 and got into rig building. When the company he worked for decided to move from Hull, he bought them out and remained. While he was still in school, W.G. began going out to help his father. After school he went into the Army. He returned home in 1945 and went into rig building in 1946. He stayed in the business for 11 years until the portable rigs put rig builders out of business. At that time he bought his first drilling rig, created Shivers Well Service, and began drilling fields in Texas. He continued buying and operating rigs until he had a fleet of nine rigs.

Item 409: 00409_Simon, Bobby_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Bobby Simon was born in Abbeyville, LA, and moved to Lafayette in 1959 to attend University of Southwestern Louisiana. Began work as a medical technician Charity Hospital and by 1976 he and a couple colleagues opened their own occupational medicine business. Then he developed an interest in occupational drug testing and worked a lot with testing in the oil industry. He discusses the evolution of drug testing in the workplace and drug testing technology. He also talks about changes he's seen in Lafayette over the years and the importance of the University.

Item 410: 00410_Smith, Larry_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): D. DiTucci and S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Larry Smith was born in 1932 in Crowley, but was raised in New Iberia. His father was a drilling production superintendent for Texaco. He graduated high school in 1951 and went to Southwestern Louisiana Institute (SLI) where he was pre-medicine; he worked in the oilfields as a flunkey on his summer breaks. He decided he wanted to fly and so applied and was accepted into the Air Force cadet training school in 1954; because of problems with his eye sight, he was not allowed to fly and was instead put into the special weapons group of the Strategic Air Command. After leaving the Air Force in 1956, he roughnecked for Texaco for three years before taking advantage of the GI Bill to go back to SLI and major in electrical engineering. After graduating with his degree he accepted a job with Cathodic Protection Service (CPS) in Lafayette. He worked for CPS for four years, then consulted for a general contractor for two, before opening his own company, Corrosion Control, in 1968; he continues to do this work, mainly on a consultancy basis. Throughout the interview he discusses changes in the oil industry, particularly in who is making the decisions, approaches to work, and relationships between companies and employees. He also describes cathodic protection and how this has evolved over the years.

Item 411: 00411_Smith, Roy_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. New Orleans, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Joe Sanford referred me to Roy Smith. Roy's wife, Natalie, was out at the mailbox when I pulled up to the house, and she told me to go on in through the kitchen door. Roy was sitting at the kitchen table, so we decided to do the interview there. Before we started, Natalie took me into the hallway to the bedrooms and showed me the photos she has hanging there. She has copied and laminated hundreds of photos, blown up to 8.5 x 11, and created a collage on the walls. An entire section is devoted to Roy's diving. Natalie had errands to run and was gone during most of the interview, but she did come back a couple of times during the day to get out photographs and then to join in the discussion. During the interview, I stopped the tape at several points where Roy wanted to tell me about problems that he felt were caused by companies or individuals but did not want to have that information recorded. After the interview, Roy and I selected and scanned a number of his photographs, and we did the photo interview later in the afternoon.

Roy is from New Orleans. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard during WWII and returned home to work with his father in New Orleans as a construction contractor. He began working for the offshore oil and gas industry in the early 1950's when Humble Oil built its first platform offshore. At the time, construction work in New Orleans was slow, so Roy and a friend went down to Grand Isle to work for Humble Oil. He soon got his operator's license and began driving a boat for Humble and then suggested to them that they could use his services as a diver. He dove for a contract company until Humble opened its marine division and then remained with Humble until 1952 when a diving accident left him paralyzed and unable to dive again.

Item 412: 00412_Sonnier, Claude_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Claude Sonnier was born in 1918 in Scott, Louisiana, into a farming family. He attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute (SLI) from 1937-40, earning a degree in electrical engineering. After graduating, he got a surveying job with S and W Construction, but was soon drafted into the Army during World War Two, where he stayed for five years. Upon leaving the military in December 1945, he was immediately hired by Humble Oil Company (now Exxon) and soon made operator. Three years later he was put in charge of his first crew. During his career he worked in many different locations including Florida, Houston, west Texas, east Africa, and the North Sea. In 1978 he retired from Humble after working for them for 32 and a half years. He describes working on a seismic crew in the late '40s, working in the Florida marshes, new technologies (e.g., 3-D instruments), and the various animals he encountered in the field.

Item 413: 00413_St.Pierre, George_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Cut Off, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to George St. Pierre by Katherine Richardelle. George and his wife, Helen, were present throughout the interview. George was very forthright about his lack of education and how it prevented him from taking promotions and moving up within the company.  Despite his lack of formal education, George was a keen observer, both of what was happening around him and of the social dynamics in the offshore work environment. He talked about relationships among engineers and platform workers, interactions between company men and contractors, and the relative position of the cooks in the industry hierarchy. He talked also about problems supervising roustabouts who were making very low wages and who were brought onto the platforms merely to fill a quota so someone could get paid for having supplied them. In one instance, for example, a supervisor had rounded up a number of drunk men from New Orleans and brought them out to the platform unconscious. When they woke up, they did not know where they were or why they were there, and George had to try to get them to work. Helen made a couple of comments when we were talking about the effects of the work on families, but otherwise she sat knitting. She is a painter, and her paintings decorate the house.

George St. Pierre was born in 1926 in Golden Meadow. He worked as a shrimper and oysterman for 20 years before going into the oil and gas industry because things were rough and he could not make a living fishing. He started on vessels and then moved to offshore platforms when Chevron sold its tugs in 1956. He retired in 1985.

Item 414: 00414_Standridge, Joe_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. St. Martinville, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Joe Standridge was referred by Jimmy Hebert. Joe grew up in the oilfields in Arkansas. His family spent time in the Smackover field in Arkansas. His father helped invent some of the early equipment they used there, including a mud conveyor belt.

Joe began working for Shell in the late 1940's and spent his entire career with the company. Once in Louisiana, he started working at Weeks Island. He spent quite a bit of his time with Shell working in construction, and he had quite a bit of experience dealing with oilfield waste and the regulations that surround it. He ended his career with a long stay as a construction supervisor charged with various environmental site cleanups.

Item 415: 00415_Stansbury, Barbara Ross_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Barbara Stansbury by her neighbor, Jerry Cunningham. Barbara's first husband died after they were married only five years. Both he and her second husband worked for the oil and gas industry, and Barbara spent her life managing a large household within the constraints of her husbands' work schedules and needs.

Barbara Ross Stansbury was born in Berwick and moved to Morgan City when she was about seven years old. Barbara married Merlin Boudreaux in 1948, and they had two children. Merlin began working offshore for Mobil Oil in the mid-1940s and stayed in that job until he was killed in an automobile accident with his sister in 1953. Barbara married her brother-in-law, and together they raised five children. Her second husband was a surveyor for Humble Oil Company. Barbara raised her children and took charge of household responsibilities during the decades when the offshore oil industry was flourishing in southern Louisiana.

Item 416: 00416_Steinhorst, Richard S_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Richard Steinhorst was born in Oklahoma and graduated with a degree in Petroleum Engineering from Oklahoma State University in 1937. He worked for Texas Company in Oklahoma, Illinois, and Kansas. Then he switched to British-American Oil Producing Company, working in Colorado for 2 years before ending up in Lafayette in 1957. Eventually he became an independent contractor in 1962. Steinhorst discusses changes in Lafayette over the years, and also his role in the oil industry.

Item 417: 00417_Stemmans, Donald_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): D. DiTucci and S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Don Stemmans was born in 1936 near Carencro. He spent 16 years in the oilfields for Superior Oil Company, then quit to shoe horses and work at the racetrack. The oil industry treated him well, they paid well, and had excellent benefits. He discusses various experiences from his days in the oilfields and on the rigs.

Item 419: 00419_Steward, Leighton_MMS-History (2004) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX: Jamie Christy Index.

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Leighton Steward was a geologist for Shell Oil in the Gulf of Mexico for many years.  He grew up in Fairfield, Texas.  He attended SMU and received a bachelor's and master's degree (1960) in geology.  Mr. Steward was in the Air Force for three years and was then hired by Shell in November of 1962.  He worked in the Houston division for a couple of years and was transferred to Shell's research lab in Bellaire and then to New Orleans.  He was a party chief on the Eureka Coring Program.  Mr. Steward was responsible for locating good tracts for bids and was one of the pioneers of the use of bright spots.  He worked in New Orleans at Shell One for many years and in fields like Eugene Island, Cognac, and J Field.  He also briefly worked for an independent and is on the board of Burlington Resources.

Item 420: 00420_Subra, Wilma_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I first met Wilma Subra in 1998 when I was conducting interviews for the study of oilfield waste issues that we conducted for the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs. When I told her about the oral history study, she was enthusiastic about the study and the opportunity to document the impacts of the offshore industry on southern Louisiana. When I called to set up an interview, she invited me to meet her at her office in New Iberia.

Wilma Subra grew up in Morgan City, Louisiana. When she was in the seventh grade, she began working during the summers in her father's office and lab. That experience initiated her lifelong interest in chemistry. She attended college at the University of Southwestern Louisiana and graduated with degrees in chemistry and microbiology. She then continued graduate studies in microbiology, chemistry, and computer science. After graduation, Wilma got a job at the newly created Gulf South Research Institute. She and her husband had two children. After 14 years with GSRI, Wilma decided to open Subra, Inc. to provide technical assistance and information to communities. She still operates the business and was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship for her community work.

Item 421: 00421_Sullivan, Vinson "Bill"_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Anand. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Vinson "Bill" Sullivan was born in rural Mississippi in 1934.  He went to the university, the military, and Junior College, and joined Otis Engineering in Hattiesburg, Mississippi when he graduated in 1959.  Bill worked for Otis as a slickline workman, then a wireline operator, and eventually did various tasks related to surface and subsurface safety valves.  He set up a subsurface safety valve repair facility in Houma in 1973 and retired as shop manager in 1991.

Item 422: 00422_Swanlund, Cliff_MMS-History (1999) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

After graduating Purdue with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1953, Cliff Swanlund began his career with Shell.  He served in the Army soon after his assignment with Shell forcing him to come back to the company in 1956.  He first worked in the Delta division in New Orleans but later spent time working in New Orleans Marine Division, offshore.  During that time he was Project Engineer for Eugene Island 188, and block 100.  He also served as Division Drilling Engineer.  In 1960 he moved to the design group and worked developing various offshore structures.  In 1966 he began work for Esso Production and Research and stayed there until his retirement in 1995.

Item 423: 00423_Talbot, Gilbert "Gip" and Russell_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Montegut, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Gilbert Talbot's name was on the contact list for many months. Diane had gone to his barber shop to talk with him for a bit but ran out of time. She told him that she'd give him a call in March and passed Gilbert's name on to me (Emily). I drove down to Montegut to see if I could catch him at his barber shop, but a sign on the door said closed due to surgery. I looked him up and called him to find out what his health situation was. He was very chipper on the phone and excited to meet with me. He said that he had several names for me and that he would give them to me when I came to talk with him. He lives a couple of blocks from his barber shop down in Montegut.  His brother, Russell, was there. As I had no idea that his brother was going to be there, I felt over-whelmed at once. They both began talking about all the people they knew in the industry, Gilbert handed me a piece of paper with 4 or 5 names and addresses on it, and Russell began pulling out pictures, all before I had time to sit and put my bags down. I eventually got the recorder turned on and listened to them talk, often at the same time.

While Gilbert Talbot was never in the oil field, his four brothers were. He has been a barber for over 50 years, which has afforded him the luxury of getting to know most of the people down the bayou. Gilbert is also involved with several committees, one of which is the levee board.  Their father worked in a box factory for Texaco in 1917.  It was difficult for the family when he was laid off in 1932.  Russell Talbot had to drop out of high school to work.  He operated a drag line after dropping out of high school. His two older brothers were already in the oil industry and suggested he start working for the industry as well. In 1947, Russell and his brothers were all working for the same contract firm, Crown and Gracie, for 3 years. He was then drafted for a few years but as soon as he was out he began working for Texaco in 1952. The most interesting thing about Russell is that he never moved up beyond roughnecking. He knew that he didn't want the responsibility. He was moved around because of his expertise over the years, but he never moved officially up to anything else. He retired in 1983 after 36 years in the oil industry and 31 with Texaco.

Item 424: 00424_Tarleton, Oran; Murphy, Don; Naughtion, Scott and Sheffield, Mary_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I learned about Oran, Scott, and Don during my first visit with Mary Ann Galletti. All three dove for J&J Diving, and Mary Ann agreed to get them together to talk with me on my next visit to Houston. She had originally arranged to have them over to her house for dinner, but Scott decided he would have the dinner at his house. He is a bachelor and lives in a large two-story house in Houston. When Mary Ann and I arrived, the three guys and Mary, Mary Ann's oldest daughter, were already at the house. They were drinking wine, snacking, and talking about their experiences in the diving business. They continued to chat for quite some time before Don asked me to tell them more about what I was doing so they could decide if they wanted to talk with me. I explained the study, and they agreed to go into the living room and sit around the tape recorder in a group interview. Though there is a lot of banter back and forth among the divers and the interview is less formal than most, the divers were candid in their descriptions of both the attitudes and actions of the divers and provide a sense of the relationships that existed among divers.

Oran Tarleton decided he wanted to be a diver when he was four years old and watched Sea Hunt on television. He went straight into diving school after leaving high school in 1977 and found his way to the Gulf of Mexico working for J&J Diving Services out of Pasadena, Texas. He performed both inland and offshore work and remained with J&J until it was bought by CalDive in the 1980s.

Item 425: 00425_Taylor, C.E. Joe_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Joe Taylor was recommended to my by Hubert Chesson. Both worked for Texaco, and Hubert said that Joe was one of the oldest hands still around. I went to Joe's house a couple days later - his place was across the bayou, just a couple blocks up from the apartment I had rented. Joe was at home watching TV, and although he was a little gruff at the get-go, once he warmed up to the interview we had a long and interesting talk.  He provided some vivid descriptions about the conditions he was born into - the lack of opportunities in rural Texas, combined with the Great Depression, really put the squeeze on a lot of people. Also, he talks about how strange it was to move into French country, and how many of the men he started working with didn't speak much English. We talked about the old steam rigs that he worked on, and some of the differences between drilling in Texas and Louisiana.

Joe Taylor was born in Texas, began working for the Texas Company as a young man in 1935, and finished his career in Louisiana with the same company (which had by then become Texaco).  Joe started out as a roughneck in Texas, and by the end of his career, he was a drilling and production foreman for the rest of his career. He's 88 years old, so he's seen quite a bit of change in the industry. There are some interesting comments about the difference in the foreman's responsibility with Texaco as compared to Exxon and other companies, and we also talk about how he was able to work with inexperienced or difficult hands once he was in a supervisory position.

Item 426: 00426_Taylor, George "Dog"_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Irving, TX

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met George Taylor at the 2002 Divers' Reunion. He became very interested in the study and told me that he had wanted to put together a history of the diving industry. We talked for quite some time and agreed that I would come to Irving at some point to interview him. I drove to Louisiana for the July field session so that I could stop at several places in Texas on the way back. I called George, and he arranged a room at the Irving Public Library where we could meet. He brought along his friend, Pete Petrisky, a former Marine Corps diver and photographer.

George Taylor began diving inadvertently in the Navy when he was sent underwater to pull three bodies out of the U.S.S. Morris after the Battle of Okinawa. After returning to the states, he enrolled in the Navy's Deep Sea Diving School and spent the next 14 years as a Navy diver. Upon retirement from the Navy he headed to the Gulf coast to find a job in the oilfield. He started with Taylor Diving in 1960 but never could adjust to the vast differences in safety consciousness between the Navy and the Gulf of Mexico oilfield. He did freelance diving for many years, tried to start an organization of divers, and became co-chairman of the safety committee of the Marine Technology Society. He faced significant resistance and even hostility in the Gulf and eventually moved to southern California, where he joined the Pile Drivers Union and worked for companies operating out of there until his retirement from diving in the 1970s.

Item 427: 00427_Terrell, William_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

William Terrell was born in 1943, in Kilgore, Texas, and is a third generation oilfield worker. His father worked as a motorman for Gulf Oil and moved the family around southern Louisiana when Mr. Terrell was an adolescent. After graduating high school in Kilgore; he went on to several colleges studying geology and was attending graduate school at Texas Christian University (TCU) when he joined a seismic crew for National Geophysical. Soon after in 1966 he hired on with Gulf in New Orleans as a geologist; he spend most of the next 15 years working in western Africa (Angola, Gabon, Zaire, Nigeria). Back in the States, he worked out of Houston and soon got into domestic exploration work; however, five years later, when Chevron bought out Gulf (1985) he was sent to a new job in London. In 1990 he requested a transfer and moved to Lafayette where he worked until he retired in 1998; he continues to work now and then for friends on a consultancy basis. During the interview he discusses the distinction between geophysicists and geologists, describes Gulf's work in Angola in the late 1960s and the other African countries, discusses moving with his family overseas, and talks about independent geologists.

Item 428: 00428_Theriot, Norman_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Larose, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

On an earlier research, project, I had paid a visit to Windell Curole director of the South Lafourche Levee District. In his office at the time, poring over maps and engineering drawings, was Leon Theriot, then head of the Levee District Board. Leon Theriot, recently passed away, was an impressive man, and had a succinct response upon hearing the description of that research project. The oil industry had a tremendous economic legacy for south Lafourche, and a sad environmental one. When I returned to Windell for additional suggestions for this project, he suggested Norman Theriot, a partner in Leon's insurance firm in Golden Meadow. After several unsuccessful attempts on successive trips, I met up with Norman as he prepared to go on a hunting trip to Texas.  The interview was relatively brief, as Norman had to break it off to get his hair cut by one of his granddaughters, in preparation for his hunting trip. He did, however, provide interesting, if short, accounts of entrepreneurship along Bayou Lafourche - the proliferation of grocery stores, the creation of local banks, and the economic difficulties of the 1980s and earlier.

Norman Theriot, born in 1931, is the son of Henry Theriot and the oldest of 11 children. Norman's grandfather was Leon Theriot, a shrimper and captain of the Petit Corporal, the small lugger that has been restored and is on display along Bayou Drive (Hwy 1) in Golden Meadow. Norman's father went into the grocery business, several other uncles stayed in shrimping and shrimp processing, and one uncle, Leon, started an insurance business. Norman, after returning from service in Korea, joined the uncle in the insurance business, where the majority of their clients were boat owners.

Item 429: 00429_Thibodaux, Howard_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): R. Higgins. Donner, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Garver Watkins (RH006) and Howard Thibodaux worked together at McDermott for over 20 years. When I talked with Garver, he told me that I had to interview Howard. Howard's family used to own some of the land where McDermott now sits. Garver called Howard the next day and then called me to let me know that Howard was interested. Howard and his wife live in Donner. They have a newer, small home near the highway. In the living room, there are various plaques recognizing Howard's years of service with McDermott and a few pictures of structures he helped build.  Howard, his wife and I sat at the table and started the interview. Early in the interview, Howard's wife got up to serve us coffee and then returned to the table. I told Howard and her about the project and then turned on the recorder. It was interesting to have her participate in interview. Though she spoke only occasionally, when she did, it was often to correct Howard or to remind him to include some detail. She also communicated similar things without speaking; it appeared that her gestures occasionally affected what Howard said.

Howard was born in 1929 and grew up in Amelia. When he attended grammar school, first, second and third grades all met in the same classroom.  He got his first job when he was still in high school. He worked as deckhand on a tugboat for Great Lakes Dredging Company during at least one of his high school summers.  After finishing high school, he went to work on a dredge barge but did not like it, so he quit and went to work running a grocery store in town. By 1949, he was back working for the same dredging company, but this time on a dredge barge itself. He joined the Air Force for 4 years. During those 4 years, he spent a lot of time in Biloxi learning radio technology and teaching it. During his military years, he also got married and spent one year in Korea. Three months after getting out of the Air Force, Howard went to work for McDermott.

Item 430: 00430_Thorjussen, Terge "Ted"_MMS-ShipChannel (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Clear Lake, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Ted Thorjussen is a native of Oslo, Norway. He started in the ship-broker business, then came to the U.S. for work, and later joined the U.S. Navy. He moved to Houston in 1970 and worked for a ship-broker, Uiterwyk Company. He went to work for West Gulf Maritime Association in the '80s and eventually became president. He retired after 20 years with the association, but still remains active in the maritime industry.

Item 432: 00432_Tisdale, Charles_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Charles Tisdale was referred by Al Rivet. I met Charles and his wife at their house in New Iberia. It's a small house, and they were sitting around the living room near the air conditioner. During the day they sit in the living room and close all the other doors to save on cooling costs. Mrs. Tisdale is a firebrand, and she participated throughout the interview. She has a lot to say, and she says it with moxie. They were great company.

Charles Tisdale is an old oilfield hand. His friends call him "Tis".  He and his wife were born in West Texas, and he had some early experience working in the oil industry there. They were able to paint a vivid picture of the wandering lifestyle of early oilfield hands in the 30's - at one point, she pulled out a list she had written on the back of an old Reader's Digest that included every place they'd ever lived. Charles seems to write a lot of stuff down, too. He had a little pocket notebook in which he'd write down stuff about the weather and whatnot. Anyway, they eventually made their way to Louisiana, and Charles spent his career working for Laughlin Brothers, one of the largest drilling contractors of the time. Charles never advanced beyond motorman - he said he was happy with that.

Item 433: 00433_Trahan, P.J._MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): E. Bernier. Gretna, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I received P.J. Trahan's name from R.J. Cheramie in July of 2001.  P.J. had been his driller for a long time and R.J. said that P.J. would make a wonderful interview since he had been in the oil field for many years.  I enlisted the help from R. J. in January to help me get in touch with P.J., and he finally tracked him down in Gretna.

P.J. Trahan worked for Exxon his entire career.  He began in 1943 when he was a senior in high school.  He worked as a groundskeeper and carpenter for 3 months until he was sent to the Navy.  By 1950, he was a derrick man, and 3 years later he made toolpusher, all before his 30th birthday.  He made superintendent of his field before he was 34.  He stayed on as a toolpusher for the remaining 30 years of his oil career.

Item 434: 00434_Trosclair, Lou_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. Bayou Vista, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Lou Trosclair worked for Shell his entire career, and he's the chair of the Morgan City Branch of the retirees club.  His father worked on the riverboats, and Lou started with Shell in the West Lake Verret field in 1952, after finishing college in Lafayette. He was to become a schoolteacher, but he wanted to go where he could make some money. He started off as a roustabout and worked his way up.  He worked as a drilling foreman for much of the latter part of his career. He retired in 1985.

Item 436: 00436_Truxell, Robert "Bob"_MMS-History (2003) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): S. Wiltz. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Bob Truxell was born in 1924 in Illinois but moved to Nebraska when he was 6. He joined the Navy after high school, and then earned a Master's in Geology at the University of Nebraska. He was hired by Chevron in 1951, after interning with them during summers in college. He moved to Louisiana in 1962. He discusses his work in the oil survey industry, evaluation tools, and changes in Lafayette since moving there.

Item 437: 00437_Tucker, Larry_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Pearl River, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Larry Tucker when I visited Hunt Oil Company's Eugene Island 63 platform. I flew out to the platform with Sharon Moore, a helicopter pilot for TexAir. I was given a tour of the platform and visited with the four operators and Larry who were working that shift. Larry had a break between lunch and dinner and said he would be willing to do an interview for the study.

Larry Tucker came to Louisiana from Texas. During WWII and at the age of 16, he joined the Merchant Marine and learned to cook. He remained there for 12 years until the maritime shipping industry got so bad that he could not make a living. Over the next fourteen years he went in and out of the merchant marine and other jobs. In 1970, after several large passenger ships were taken out of service and jobs became even more scarce, a friend of his decided to get a job offshore, and Larry went along for one hitch. He spent the next three months working one week offshore and hanging around the union hall during his week onshore. Getting no maritime work during that period, he decided to stay with the oil and gas industry, where he has remained as a cook for 33 years. He worked on a Shell platform for 20 years and on Hunt Oil's Eugene Island 63 for 10 years.

Box 8
Item 438: 00438_Turlich, Burt and Pat_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Port Sulphur, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

We had been introduced to Bert Turlich, a long-time Freeport Sulphur employee, by Kerry St. Pé of the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary Program. Kerry, a native of Port Sulphur, had nominated Bert as our "ambassador" to Plaquemine Parish.  The interview covered a number of areas, including descriptions of Freeport's company townsite at Port Sulphur, evacuation and shut-down procedures for the sulphur mines during storms,  and the apprentice-craftsman system at Freeport. Pat, Bert's wife entered the discussion when it turned to school integration.

Bert Turlich was born in Empire in1937. His daddy was a fisherman who then got on with Freeport Sulphur in 1933 when they started up the Grand Ecaille mine. Bert graduated from Buras High and started with Freeport Sulphur in 1955. He then went into the service, came back and married his wife, Pat, who is from Gretna. They had three girls, all of whom have gone to college. Bert retired from Freeport in 1991. He had a number of jobs with the sulphur company, and remembers it as a "family," until the merger with McMoRan (which rapidly depressed the stock Bert had in the company).

Item 439: 00439_Usie, Glenn_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Glenn Usie was recommended by several business leaders, including the head of the Chamber of Commerce.  He owns his own machine shop, Glenco, and is active in the community.  We met at his office in his shop, where he could be accessible to his workers.  The interview was interrupted periodically by people checking on work-related topics.

Glen Usie is a machinist.  After learning the machinist trade in 1964, he went to work for Smatco Machine Shop in Houma.  After two years in the Navy, he returned to Plaquemines Parish in 1968 to work for Freeport Sulphur before returning to Houma in 1970.  In 1972 he started his own machine shop and has been running it ever since.  The machine shop is a general machine shop catering to the oil industry.  He developed and builds a wireline maintenance system that is easier to work with than the typical wirelines.  This product is shipped around the United States, South America, and Scotland.

Item 440: 00440_Utley, Merrill Sr. and Utley, Merrill Jr._MMS-History (2005)

Interviewer(s): J. Stone. Thibodaux, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jim Fields grew up with "Little Merrill" Utley and often heard stories about his father's ("Big Merrill") role in the offshore industry in Southern Louisiana. He helped us to set up the interview and participated toward the end. Little Merrill sat in to help jog his father's memory as Big Merrill has been suffering from Alzheimer's for two years. After the interview, Little Merrill told me that his father used to tell him stories that he seems to have since forgotten.  I have inserted information from Little Merrill that contradicts what his father said during the interview in brackets.

Merrill Utley, Sr. grew up in Mississippi and joined the Navy after graduating from high school there.  He trained as an electronic technician and served on the homefront, mostly in the northeast, during WWII.  After the war ended, he studied electrical engineering on the GI Bill first at the University of Mississippi and then at Tulane.  Upon graduation, he came to southern Louisiana and started working for Chevron as a radio technician.  Throughout his fifteen years with them he gradually started to do more offshore repairs and was instrumental in the designing of the "boat truck" which could back up to rigs to load and unload supplies.  He eventually quit Chevron and bought the Delta Well Logging Service, now called Drill Labs/Mud Logging, a company his son Merrill now runs.

Item 441: 00441_Van Meter, Keith_MMS-History (2005)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. New Orleans, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Dr. Keith Van Meter has been treating commercial oilfield divers since 1978 and was mentioned by many divers as an excellent source of information on the diving industry and on injuries and their treatment. I contacted Dr. Van Meter and was able to arrange an interview with him on a Friday evening at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. Despite his busy schedule, he graciously spent two hours with me talking about his career, his work with commercial divers, and the advance of hyperbaric medicine. After our interview, he took me down to the basement of the hospital to see the new hyperbaric treatment facility that is scheduled to open in June 2005.

Dr. Keith Van Meter was first exposed to commercial diving in 1978 when he was working in the emergency department at Charity Hospital in New Orleans and was called to go help a diver who was in saturation. He went into the chamber and was kept locked down for five days with the diver. After discovering the experience was not too bad and becoming interested in diving medicine, Dr. Van Meter took specialized courses on the subject. He continued to study and treat divers and began to develop a research program on hyperbaric medicine. Despite numerous challenges gaining financial and institutional support, he persevered in his efforts and has become one of the leading physicians in the field.

Item 442: 00442_Verdin, Marie_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Grand Bois, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Marie Verdin when I was working with her daughter, Clarice, to document community perspectives regarding the Campbell Wells and U.S. Liquids oilfield waste disposal facility in Grand Bois. Marie and I became friends, and I would visit her whenever I was passing through Grand Bois. I told her that I was trying to interview more women about their perspectives on the impacts of the oil and gas industry in southern Louisiana, and she agreed to talk about Grand Bois. She lives with her mother, an 85-year old woman who speaks only French.

Marie was born in 1939 as the oldest of ten children and has lived all her life in Grand Bois. Her family was one of the first Native American families to settle in Grand Bois; her daddy's family came to the community in 1915 after a major hurricane in Golden Meadow. Her granddaddy and daddy were farmers, trappers, and fishermen; her daddy also opened a bar in the community in 1950. Her mama's family came from Pointe-aux-Chenes where her grandmother raised 7 children alone by taking care of cattle, fishing, gathering moss, trapping, and raising vegetables in her garden. Both her parents are part Indian, so their educational opportunities were severely limited. Marie left school after the second grade and began working in the fields and her daddy's bar. She also trapped, shrimped, hunted alligators, and farmed. In 1990 she and her son planted oranges, and she has been selling them in Houma for 8 years. All of her brothers became welders, working for shipyards and fabrication yards at various points in their lives. Marie notes that the biggest impact of the oil and gas industry on Grand Bois was the establishment of an oilfield waste facility in the community. A 1994 shipment of highly toxic waste from a cleanup at an Exxon facility in Alabama led to unsuccessful efforts to have the waste regulated and the facility shut down.

Item 443: 00443_Verret, Kirby_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): S. Kennedy. Dulac, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met with Mr. Kirby Verret at his house which is raised on stilts, and it is necessary to climb several stairs to get to the front door. Kirby Verret is originally from Bayou Dularge, Louisiana, and has lived in Dulac in Terrebonne Parish most of his life. He is Houma Indian and worked his way through college as an employee of Delta Iron Works. He learned all types of work in the oil field, and after college he transferred to Delta Mud and Chemicals. He worked offshore in platform fabrications, specializing in drilling fluids. Later, he became an insurance agent, and in 1979 became involved in Indian Education. Today, he still works with kids through the Indian Education program, is the pastor for the Methodist Church in Dulac, and is the Dulac representative on the United Houma Nation Tribal Council. Kirby considers himself an activist on behalf of the Houma and the poor, and says that sometimes there just needs to be someone to hold open the door so that others may pass through and experience greater opportunities.

Item 444: 00444_Verret, Unell_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Unell Verret was one of the ilfield men I met at the Shell retiree's dinner.  Unell was a lifelong Shell employee, hired by Shell in 1953. He was born on Avery Island, and went to work on Weeks Island.

Item 445: 00445_Viator, Kenneth_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. Erath, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I sat with Kenneth Viator and his wife for over an hour. We had met at the Shell Pensioner's club meeting, where Jimmy Hebert made sure I had everyone's phone number. Kenny was happy to meet with me - I could tell he was excited the minute I came in. We had a great time. Kenneth was able to vividly describe his memories of the oilfield. He was also a very friendly man. His wife participated in the interview as well, offering comments here and there on the recording. He had a small collection of photographs, and I returned for a second interview later in the summer.

Kenneth Viator entered the industry in 1958 or so.  He grew up in Delcambre. It was a different place back then. He talks about all the traditional livelihoods in the region - shrimping, salt mines, some oil industry, and a lot of mom and pop stores around. He talks about his perceptions of the oil industry as a young man, the crew boats, and the strike at the salt mine.  He began working on the crew boats for a contractor, and was eventually able to get on a contractor roustabout crew. Later he got on with Shell, and he worked some drilling but eventually shifted to production in 1967. He worked mostly as an operator, but just before retirement in the 90's he advanced to maintenance leader.

Item 446: 00446_Vining, Alden_MMS-History (2004)

Interviewer(s): J. Christy. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Alden Vining worked in the oil field for Kerr McGee, Phillips Oil and Shell Oil companies.  He was born in 1936 and attended high school in Morgan City, Louisiana.  Alden worked on boats, towing rigs and barges, and as a general hand during his high school years when he was off for the summers.  He witnessed the conversion of LST's and shrimps boats to service the oil companies and also saw great changes in his home town of Morgan City.  After high school, Alden's guidance counselor placed him with a company building concrete pilings.  He then took a job as a roughneck for Phillips 66.  In 1957, Alden was hired by Shell Oil.  He worked as a roustabout, gauger, gang pusher, and supervisor of production maintenance at Eugene Island (Block 18).

Item 447: 00447_Vining, Laurie_MMS-History (2005)

Interviewer(s): Colleen O'Donnell; Christina Leza; Diane Austin. Morgan City, LA.

Affiliation: University of Arizona

We were referred to Laurie J. Vining by Fannie Hobbs who had been interviewed for the offshore history project. Fannie showed us a collection of local World War II veterans' biographies that she had been working on. Laurie was one of Fannie's friends and interviewees who participated in her project. She told us that after working in the Landing Craft Division during the War, Laurie had returned to the area to do work in the oil industry, which made him a perfect interviewee for our research. The first interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry. Diane then returned the following day to talk at greater length about Laurie's work in the oil field.

Laurie J. Vining Sr. was born March 1, 1924 in Morgan City, Louisiana. He started school in Amelia, but moved around a lot growing up since his father was a trapper and moved where he could find work. As a result, it took Laurie a long time to get through school and he quit after the 7th grade. He worked in shrimping and ironworks before he was drafted into the Navy in 1943. Started working for Kerr-McGee after the War in 1949 and worked for the company for thirty-three and a half years. Laurie started working as a deckhand and worked up to boat captain. He worked his last couple of years with Kerr-McGee in the office and retired in 1982. Laurie has two brothers and two sisters, and he appeared in the film Thunder Bay.

Item 449: 00449_Voisin, Ernie_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

After several attempts, I got in to see Mike Voisin of Motivatit Seafoods to chat with him about his role with the Louisiana Oyster Task Force and other matters. He then introduced me to his father, Ernie Voisin, and he talked about the oysters.  While the interview ranged over a number of issues, Mr. Ernie was most animated in discussing the unique pressure-processing techniques they had invented. The washing process is designed to combat vibrio disease; oyster people in other states are constantly attempting to get Louisiana oysters quarantined, and thus out of their own markets, so the processing equipment, though expensive, is an effort to save Motivatit's  standing in the California market.

Ernie Voisin is a Houma native who grew up working for his dad on oyster boats. In 1947, at age19, he moved to California and worked in the aircraft industry for 17 years. He returned to Louisiana in 1971 and started Motivatit Seafoods, processing and distributing oysters. His ancestor, Jean Voisin, came from France and married a Cajun girl in 1700s. Ernie's son, Mike, is a 7th generation native, active in oyster politics in the state.

Item 450: 00450_Voisin, Magnus and Elvira "Blackie"_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Piekielek. Dulac, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met the Magnus and Elvira Voisin at the Knights of Columbus senior bingo the week before completing this interview.  Magnus said that he had worked for Dixie Drilling and several other companies in the oil fields, until he quit to work full time as a fisherman.  He and his wife "Blackie" agreed to meet with me later at their house.  Blackie's sister also lives with them, and she came in and out during the interview a couple times.  They live on Shrimpers Row, in Dulac, in a house that they have raised on piles.  Magnus is retired, but Blackie still works at the shrimp factory, where she started about ten years ago.

Magnus Voisin was born in 1931 and raised in Dulac, where he has lived his whole life.  Elvira "Blackie" Voisin was born in 1936 in Houma and moved to Dulac when she married Magnus in 1953.  They have 3 children.  Magnus and Blackie are "jacks of all trades," having worked a variety of jobs throughout their lifetimes.  Magnus Voisin worked in the oil industry during the 1950s, both on and offshore.  He then returned to working for himself full time as a shrimper, a job which he preferred.

Item 451: 00451_Voisin, Mildred_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Piekielek; S. Kennedy. Dulac, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mary Voisin, the receptionist at the Dulac community center, mentioned the Harry Bourg Corporation to us when we first arrived in Dulac.  She suggested that we get in touch with her sister-in-law, Lydia Voisin, because she might be able to tell us some of the history of the corporation.  I called Lydia, and she said that the corporation probably had some old articles or other materials describing the history of the organization.  She also said that her mother, Mildred Voisin, had been president of the corporation and might be willing to talk to us.  I called Mildred Voisin, and she said she had a few written materials that we could come over and take a look at.  She said she was trying to put a book together for her kids, so they would have the history of her father, Harry Bourg. Mildred Voisin lives in a brick home on Grand Caillou Drive.  Her kitchen looked like it was the latest and best when it was built in 1965, and she told us that after it was made for her, everyone else started getting cabinets like she had.  Mildred Voisin was clearly proud of her father, Harry Bourg, and was most interested in telling us his stories, rather than any of her own.  She still seemed upset and angry about the 1999 lawsuit and family infighting in the Harry Bourg Corporation, but told us the story without our prompting.

Mildred Voisin was born in 1919 in Dulac, where she has lived almost all of her life.  Her father was Harry Bourg, a man who began his career as a trawler and trapper and was later a prominent landowner in the area.  In 1938, oil was found on property owned by Harry Bourg, resulting in the deepest producing well in the world at that time.  Inventor and entrepreneur, Harry Bourg was the first millionaire in Dulac.  Mildred Voisin witnessed many changes in Dulac over her lifetime and was vice-president of the Harry Bourg Corporation from 1982 to 1999.

Item 452: 00452_Voss, Jack_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jack Voss was recommended by John Monteiro, as a long-term oil service industry manager.  Jack was contacted directly by John and agreed to be interviewed.  We had some trouble finding a time to meet, but he eventually came over to the motel and we interviewed on site.

Jack Voss has been in the oil industry since he started working for Texaco in 1946.  In 1947, he shifted to Coastal Oil Company, then to National Supply Company.  By 1950, he was manager of the Houma store for National Supply.  In 1957 he began work for Southwest Oil Field Products as a "pilot-salesman," making calls directly to the rigs.  By 1960 he was partner in Houma Well Service, a workover contractor.  In 1967 he was employed by Latex Gulf Drilling Company.  In 1994 Latex was sold to Falcon and Blake, which in turn sold out to Tetra Oil and Gas Technology in 1998.  Tetra is a contractor which does workover, plug and abandon work, fluid recovery, and decommissioning offshore platforms, in short, whatever needs to be done.  Through his work, Mr. Voss has logged about 9000 hours of flying time.

Item 453: 00453_Vujnovich, Capt. Pete_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. New Orleans, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Captain Pete Vujnovich (pronounced "vianovich") operates Capt. Pete's Oysters on Rampart Street, bordering the French Quarter. Kerry St. Pé had mentioned that Capt. Pete was getting frail and needed to be interviewed. Capt. Pete's son Pete in on the BTNEP Management Conference although the name I dropped in setting up the interview was Wilbert Collins from Golden Meadow.  Our conversation ranged broadly over oyster farming, lawsuits against oil companies, saltwater intrusion, his efforts to get legislation passed (lost by 5 votes) to allow limited gillnetting of black drum, a predator on oysters, and his family history. Capt. Pete was somewhat frustrated in not being able to give some specifics to some of my questions, and offered to go into his attic and look for materials.

Capt. Pete Vujnovich came to Port Sulphur from Croatia at age 8. He and Buddy Pausina, owner of Barataria Restaurant on Harrison Street, are the two "oldtimers" left in the oyster industry. The "shed" (begun in 1951) is modest: a few reefer trucks, an oyster-shucking table with about 4 positions and 3 workers there shucking oysters.  Capt. Pete works with his wife and his son Tony, washing shucked oysters and putting them in plastic containers. The operation is too small to go into the French Quarter restaurant trade. To do that, he would have to buy oysters from others, without knowing for sure where they're coming from. Capt. Pete was once offered a million dollars to built a boat and work for oil companies, but his eyes were bad, so he wouldn't have been able to run night and day. Anyway, he just wanted to stay in the oyster business.

Item 454: 00454_Waguespack, Warren_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Warren Waguespack was one of the people contacted by Diana Edmonson of the Council on Aging. Warren started working with Texaco on a gravity meter crew in 1954.  Because of the low pay and rough working conditions, he went to work with Halliburton the next year.  In 1958 he was laid off by Halliburton, but immediately got a job with Union Oil, "which was the best thing that ever happened."  That year he began working in production at Caillou Island, where Union Oil had a small part of the field, only 17 wells.  In 1978 he shifted to offshore construction, transferring to office work in 1984 because of health problems.  He retired in 1986.

Item 455: 00455_Wallace, Charles_MMS-History (2001,2005)

Interviewer(s): Diane Austin; Christina Leza; Colleen O'Donnell. Larose, LA.

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Charlie Wallace learned of the history study when he visited Carol Mathias at the Ellender Archives at Nicholls State University to give her a copy of the book he created about his experiences in WWII. She learned that he had worked in the oil and gas industry and asked if he would be interested in sharing his story. He agreed and was my first interviewee. When I arrived at his house, he was at the kitchen table with a spiral notebook in which he had listed various topics he wanted to discuss. We spent over five hours talking about the industry and his experiences working. The second interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry.

Charlie was born and raised in Kinder, LA and began working for Pure Oil Company in 1947. He attended McNeese Junior College and LSU but had to drop out for lack of money. Though he never earned a college degree, he combined his knowledge, skill, and experience to develop a successful and colorful career. He left Pure Oil to work for Shell Oil Company and then worked for Chevron. Of his many inventions and modifications, Charlie patented one, the mud scale. His sale of that patent made it possible for him to buy the land on which his house and a housing development that he built himself now sit. Charlie was never one to do things in a conventional fashion, and he discusses his projects and adventures.

Item 456: 00456_Warriner, Al_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Slidell, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was introduced to Al Warriner by Walt Daspit. Walt arranged for us to go to Al's shop and talk with him. We found him in his office in Slidell. Al was very receptive to the interview and talked almost nonstop for three hours. He had an active career and continues to work with his son. He lamented the fact that he was not allowed to renew his pilot's license this year because of his age (85).

Al was born November 25, 1917. He started flying at age 18 and went to Tulane in mechanical engineering. His dreams of a career in aeronautical engineering were disrupted by the Depression, and he went to work in construction to finance his flying. In the fall of 1938 he was working in West Vermillion Bay for Superior Oil Company constructing the first well offshore in water open to Gulf. With that job, Al began his career in diving. He worked for railroad companies, repaired cargo piers, and worked in shipyards. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps during WWII and returned to diving and the Gulf of Mexico in 1944. He started his own company, Underwater Services, in 1957 and went broke in 1964 when the oil industry went into a slump and he had a string of bad luck.

Item 457: 00457_Watkins, Garver_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): R. Higgins. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Garver Watkins was born in 1933 in Patterson, Louisiana.  He grew up in Berwick and attended high school in Morgan City.  During the summers he worked in boat businesses that supported the oil industry, first with his father and then his uncle.  He spent some time at the University of Southwestern and was drafted into the Army, serving two years in Korea.  When his father's health declined, Garver took over the family boat business but the small enterprise was unable to keep up with costly regulations and eventually sold out.  He got a job at McDermott in 1956 through personal connections and worked there for 38 years,  starting out as a helper and working his way up to foreman and superintendent.

Item 458: 00458_Weaver, Annie_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Annie Weaver was referred to me by Tom Becnel. He knew that her husband had worked in the oil and gas industry and recommended Annie as a good source of information on Houma and how it was impacted by the industry. Annie is 92 years old and moved to Houma with her husband and three children in 1939. They were planning to stay 2 years and then leave, but they were adopted by their French neighbors and decided to make their home there; they were the fourth family in their company to come to Houma from Shreveport and the only ones to stay. Annie's husband worked for service companies until he was injured falling on a boat while working for Pioneer fishing tool company. Annie became involved in many community service projects, such as helping get breakfast at the local school. She was active in the Literary Club, the PTA, and her church.

Item 459: 00459_Webbon, Robert_MMS-ShipChannel (2006)

Interviewer(s): J. P. Theriot. Clear Lake, TX

Affiliation: University of Arizona/History International

Captain Bob Webbon is a Houston Pilot. He was raised in Port Arthur and became interested in maritime activities through his father, who was chief engineer on vessels. Captain Webbon attended Texas A&M Merchant Marine Academy began working for EXXON Shipping in 1985. He spent twelve years transporting crude via ship on the West Coast from Alaska to Panama. He has been a pilot for 9 years and lives in Clear Lake, Texas with his wife. He is also  on the board of directors for the future Houston Maritime Museum.

Item 460: 00460_Welcome, Adam_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. New Iberia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Adam Welcome was referred by Susan Lissard. I met with Adam at his home outside New Iberia. Adam is the first black oilfield worker I interviewed, and he provided a glimpse of the race relations implicit in the industrial labor force in the South. At the same time, his work for the Exxon Employee Federation helped illuminate some of the strategies the energy companies sought to avoid outright unionization. This was an interesting, albeit short, interview all around.

Adam Welcome grew up in New Iberia and worked as a schoolteacher in the 1960

Item 461: 00461_West, J. Robinson_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Washington, D.C

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Robin West received his B.A. from University of North Carolina and his J.D. from Temple University.  He served in the Ford Administration on the White House staff (1974-76) and as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Economic Affairs (1976-77).  During 1977-1980, he was a first vice president of Blyth, Eastman, Dillon & Co., Inc., an investment banking firm.  He then served in the Reagan Administration as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Policy, Budget, and Administration (1981-1983).  He played a major role in conceiving of and implementing the new five-year leasing plan for federal OCS areas and in the shift to area-wide leasing in the Gulf of Mexico.  He also spearheaded the organizational reform of the OCS program, consolidating functions in a single Minerals Management Service.  In 1984, he founded The Petroleum Finance Company, which has become a very influential consulting firm for the international oil and gas industry.

Item 462: 00462_Whitaker, Dean_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Dean Whitaker by Maryann Galletti. Dean worked for J&J Diving in the 1960s. I tracked Dean down in Lafayette and met him at Charlie G's restaurant there. We began the interview in the restaurant and then went over to his office to continue talking.

Dean Whitaker is from New Orleans. His parents were migrant farmworkers and would travel from place to place picking crops. Dean left home when he was 14 years old and found a job unloading produce trucks and living under the docks in New York. He stayed there two years and then went to Los Angeles doing similar work until he turned 17 and joined the U.S. army. He was inducted in December 1949 and was sent to Korea from 1950 to 1952. He had spent several years sailing around the world and motorcycle racing when he came across a commercial diving school. He enrolled in the school and began working right away. He worked salvage and construction jobs around Los Angeles for several years and then returned to the Gulf of Mexico. Dean worked for J & J Diving, Dick Evans Divers, and Dive Con, where he ended up in the North Sea. He left Dive Con shortly after the company was bought by Oceaneering and worked as a pilot. In 1990 he bought a project management company and continues to work off and on in the Gulf.

Item 463: 00463_Wickizer, Carl_MMS-History (1997) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): B. Beauboeuf. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Carl Wickizer went to work for Shell in 1954 after graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1954.  After training, his first assignment was to New Orleans as a production engineer in 1957.  He worked in various capacities until 1971 when he first worked with the offshore Gulf of Mexico.  In 1973 he became Project manager for the pilot subsea system and he spend the rest of his career developing deep water technology in various management positions.  He retired in 1993 after 39 1/2 years of service.

Item 464: 00464_Willet, Wayne_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Belle Chasse, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Wayne Willet was referred to me by William Brown. Wayne was one of a small group of divers who had come down from Canada in the 1960s. He was born in Quebec in 1930. He got into diving when doing construction work in Canada and followed his boss, Max Rieher, to the Gulf in 1964. Wayne worked for Deep Sea Divers for two years and then went to work for Dick Evans. He stayed with Dick Evans and then McDermott for 26 years. Wayne worked in the Gulf of Mexico and many other places around the world. He and his wife had an agreement that he would never stay gone more than 3 months. They were married shortly after he began diving and stayed married 40 years, until her death in 1996.

Item 465: 00465_Williams, Andrew "Pep" and Bertha_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): T. McGuire. Galliano, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Andrew "Pep" Williams, an "oldtimer," was referred to me by Harrison Cheramie. When I arrived for the interview, Pep and his wife, Bertha, were sitting around their back patio, and he was doing some watering. Their well-kept house has many visible patriotic displays, and Bertha dwelled on the "war" and the hardships it would pose for south Louisiana boys who might be called upon to fight in mountainous terrain.

Pep Williams, now 88, started with Texaco in 1945; his wife, 84, who dominated much of the conversation, was a "parade queen" two years ago. Pep started as a roughneck, worked up to a driller, then spent the last of his 33 years with the company as a "driller and production foreman," essentially the company man supervising operations on several fields around south Louisiana. He worked another year as a consultant for $300/day. As a company, Texaco was "like a family." Unlike other companies that had their own rigs and brought them, with their own crews, to south Louisiana (Texaco only had four rigs so much of their drilling was done by contractors), Texaco hired locally. Pep and his wife were both originally from Golden Meadow. She was raised in a house that had washed up in a storm from Leeville and was purchased and rebuilt by her father on the site of the present fire station in Golden Meadow.

Item 466: 00466_Williams, Bill_MMS-History (2001)

Interviewer(s): A. Gardner. Bayou Vista, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Bill Williams was recommended to me by John Ryan. I had a hard time finding him - there were several Bill Williams in the phone book - but I was finally able to track him down. He was the oldest person I interviewed, and we got along fine. He makes hootch as a hobby, and we had some after the interview. Bill lives alone; his wife passed away several years ago, and although he talks slowly, all his faculties are intact. I returned for a second interview (AG027) several days later.  In the second interview, we cover some additional topics we missed the first time around. He reiterates that the reason he didn't go offshore was because he didn't want to be away from his family, and at the time, the schedules were a lot more difficult. We talk about Morgan City and some of the changes that occurred as a result of the oil industry, and then he talks about the death of his son in the oilpatch. He had a bad accident of his own in which he almost lost his arm, and he tells the story of that as well. There are good discussions of safety and pollution here as well - he's very clear that the practices have changed significantly over the years.

There are good discussions of the relationship between family and industry, the incompetence of inexperienced engineers, the operation of gas plants, and a story about a doctor that would fail prospective employees if they weren't from Houma. Also, he talks about the sale of hot oil to the Germans during the war, and problems with too many familial relations in the Texaco crews in Houma.

Bill was born in 1910 in Mansfield, Louisiana. He worked for Shell for two years in the 1930's, and then he spent the rest of his career with Texaco. He started in drilling, but in that position the company wanted him to move around all the time, so he ended up finding a position in production. There are several sections of the interview in which Bill is very specific about the reasons for this decision. He ended up working at the cryogenic plant near Morgan City.

Item 467: 00467_Williams, Eldridge "Tot"_MMS-History (2004) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. Christy. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Eldridge "Tot" Williams was born in Morgan City, Louisiana in 1927.  His father, George Williams, was a shrimper /trapper turned crew boat owner who grew up on Bateman Island (across the Bayou Shaffer from Morgan City).  His father had a second-grade education and became one of Morgan City's wealthiest citizens because of the oil fields.  Eldridge worked as a deckhand on his father's crew boats and then went into the family business as a crew boat captain.  He also took out seismograph crews and invested in tug boats and moving rigs.  He worked for large companies like Shell, Texaco, Mobil, and Exxon, but also for smaller companies like Mallard and General Geophysical.  Eldridge remembers gas explosions in the bayous and while he admits that the oil companies did some damage, he says that they did not pollute and / or harm the environment as much as people think they did.

Item 468: 00468_Williams, Lisa Topham_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Amelia, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Lisa Williams is the director of public relations for McDermott and participated in the previous study. Though she is only in her 30s, she was recommended to us because she is one of two third-generation employees working for McDermott. When I called to tell her about the history study, she was happy to participate to share information about the company and her own family history. Because of her position in public relations as well as family's long involvement in fabrication, her interview provides perspectives on the role of McDermott in the community as well as the impact of offshore-related work on families.

Lisa began working at McDermott in 1989 through the company's program to hire employees children. Her grandfather, Oliver Topham, worked for McDermott from the 1950s to 1983; her father, Gerald Topham, worked for the company from 1961 to 1998. Lisa grew up in Morgan City with little knowledge of what her father did. The community experienced the ups and downs of the oil industry, and for Lisa that translated most clearly into how her parents managed the family budget; their conservative practices kept the family from experiencing the dramatic swings that many of their friends and acquaintances did. One major impact of the 1980s downturn was that Lisa's parents pushed all their children to go to college and broaden their opportunities. Lisa studied communications and ended up bringing her knowledge and skills to McDermott in the Public Relations Department.

Item 469: 00469_Wilson, Bill_MMS-History (2003,2004)

Interviewer(S): Diane Austin; Jamie Christy. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona, University of Houston/History International

I was referred to Bill Wilson by Harry LeBoeuf. Bill and Harry are among the few supervisors and managers employed by Texaco's Morgan City office who have remained in the community. When I called Bill, he said that he had talked with Andrew and agreed to do an interview but never heard again and therefore thought he had missed his opportunity. He was very pleased to have me come over. His wife, Jewell, answered the door; Bill was outside finishing up with the serviceman who had come to repair his windshield. Bill and I sat in his den, which he has decorated almost completely with LSU memorabilia. I did not see Jewell again until I stopped in the dining room to tell her goodbye. As we stood there talking, she told me that her uncle, who raised her, had worked for Texaco and that both her daughters had worked for oil companies. I told her that we were looking for women's perspectives, and she agreed to be interviewed on my next trip out.

Bill was born into an oilfield family in north Louisiana; his father migrated from east Texas to Magnolia, Arkansas and worked for the Interstate Oil Pipeline Company. After spending a couple of years in college, Bill joined the Air Force. He spent four years in Korea. He returned to Shreveport after the war and went back to school at Centenary College in Shreveport for a business degree. His first job out of the service was branch manager for Bozier Bank and Trust. He got married and decided to get into the service station business. That venture was short-lived but taught him many important lessons and left him in debt. He was fortunate to get a job with Texaco in 1957, despite the recession at the time, and spent two years doing whatever jobs were needed until he landed a permanent position as a roughneck. He advanced through several positions and then ended up as yard foreman for the company's Morgan City shore base of its new offshore district. He continued to advance through the position of District Materials Manager and finally into the company's New Orleans Division Office, working in a position generally reserved for people with advanced college degrees. He occupied that position during the company's downsizing and retired as purchasing manager in 1992, after which he continued to do consulting for a small company in Morgan City.

Item 470: 00470_Wilson, Dewey_MMS-History (2001,2005)

Interviewer(s): Diane Austin; Rylan Higgins; Betsy Plumb. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Dewey Wilson by Captain Carl Moore at the Young Memorial Campus of the Louisiana Technical College. Dewey retired from the technical college in the summer of 2001 and was very well liked and respected by the marine instructors there. As he and I talked, I came to realize that my early impression that Dewey had a long history with Young Memorial was wrong; he only began at Young in April 1999 when the school was expanding its marine operations program. However, what also became clear was that Dewey was among the first, if not the first, maritime educators working among the mariners of southern Louisiana when they began facing new Coast Guard requirements for licenses. The second interview was conducted as part of the study of the links between WWII and the offshore industry.

Dewey is a very humble man, but his pride and pleasure in his work shines through when he talks about his life and those with whom he has worked. His father was a merchant marine, and Dewey wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. At one point, he and his father were the only two in southern Louisiana with ocean licenses. When Dewey graduated from Patterson High School in 1944, he went to the South Pacific on a cargo ship. His ship was hit, and he ended up transporting corpses for the Graves Registration department until two months after the war ended. After returning home, Dewey went back to school and sailed on steamships for a couple of years. The shipping business was slow, so he and his brother bought a shrimp boat. When his father died in 1959, he looked for something that would allow him to stay home and be near his mother. At the time, the Gulf Area Vocational School of Abbeville was trying to organize a school in Morgan City. Dewey got involved with the school in 1960. He was contacted by people from South Lafourche and began teaching in Golden Meadow on weekends. In 1964, the State of Louisiana ran into financial problems and cut back the marine program, so Dewey went to work for Tidewater as a boat captain.  He also found himself teaching classes for Tidewater. After an incident overseas while he was doing classified work for the Navy, he left Tidewater. After a series of mergers, he found himself back working for Tidewater.

Item 471: 00471_Wilson, Jewell "Judy"_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Judy Wilson when I was at her house to interview her husband, Bill. After I had talked with Bill, Judy and I talked a bit and I learned that she had been raised by an uncle who worked for Texaco, that Bill had worked for Texaco, and that her daughters had worked for oil companies. I told her I was interested in getting the perspectives of women, and she agreed to be interviewed. I called her on my next trip to Morgan City and met her at her house.

Judy was born in northern Louisiana near the Arkansas border. Because of circumstances at home, she lived most of the time with her aunt and uncle and visited her mother and brother on holidays and summer vacations. Her uncle had worked in the oilfields in Texas, northern Louisiana, and elsewhere prior to moving to southern Louisiana with the Texas Company. Jewell finished high school in New Iberia and returned to northern Louisiana after graduation. There she and Bill Wilson (see DA085) married and remained until they returned to New Iberia where he took a job with Texaco. Jewell worked for insurance companies when she first got out of high school and then again after her third child started school.

Item 472: 00472_Woodhall, Paul_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Several people told me that I needed to interview Paul Woodhall because of his longtime involvement in the oilfield diving industry and in the efforts to organize divers in the 1970s. I reached Paul in Baton Rouge and he agreed to be interviewed, but we had a hard time coordinating our schedules.  In 2002, Paul took a job with BP and relocated from Louisiana to Houston. I finally caught up with him in Houston during the summer of 2003.

Paul Woodhall began diving in 1961 when he was serving in the U.S. military in Japan. He began scuba diving as a sport and ended up teaching classes while still in Japan. After his discharge from the service, he remained in Japan training divers. When he returned to the United States, he opted to go to a diving school rather than go back to college. Upon finishing diving school in California, Paul learned that companies working in the Gulf of Mexico offshore oilfields were hiring divers, so he packed his belongings and headed east. He arrived in Louisiana in 1964 and went right to work repairing damage from Hurricane Betsy. He worked as a freelance diver for several years and then took a job at J. Ray McDermott in 1967. He remained with the company until 1974. When his tender was killed in an accident offshore in 1969, Paul became involved in organizations that were working to increase safety in the diving industry. He helped organize a union for the Gulf of Mexico divers and was elected president. He stayed in that position several years until the union became inactive. He then worked as a consultant overseas for 6 and a half years. He returned to the U.S. and got involved in a couple of business ventures and consulting contracts before going to work for BP in 2002.

Item 473: 00473_Work, David_MMS-History (2002) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): T. Priest. Houston, TX

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Dave Work was a top exploration manager for Amoco for many years and then with BP-Amoco after the merger.  Received his M.S. in geology from UC-Santa Cruz and hired on as a geologist with Amoco in 1970.  He retired from BP-Amoco in 2000 as regional president responsible for the Gulf Coast, Southwest, and Rocky Mountain states.  His direct influence over activities in the Gulf started in the late 1980s.

Item 474: 00474_Written, John Henry "Dickie"_MMS-History (2004) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. Christy. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

John Henry "Dickie" Written was born in Morgan City, Louisiana in 1937 but was raised in Texas.  His father worked for Shell Oil on an exploration team and as a consequence Mr. Written moved around a great deal.  He moved in with his aunt and uncle in Morgan City to finish high school and graduated from Morgan City High School in 1955.  Mr. Written began to work for Shell Oil in June 1955 and continued to work part-time in Baton Rouge, Louisiana while he went to Louisiana State University.  Mr. Written was drafted in to the Army in 1956 and spent 13 months in Korea.  After returning from Korea, he returned to work for Shell and went to East Bay, West Lake Verret, Gibson, and New Orleans.  Mr. Written began working for Shell as a roustabout then moved up to lease operator, operations foreman, production foreman, and then maintenance foreman for the entire East Coast and Gulf of Mexico.  Mr. Written spent 30 years working for Shell Oil before his retirement.

Item 475: 00475_Wurzlow, Kermit and Peggy_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Sell. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

The Wurzlow family is well known in Terrebonne Parish, for their general community involvement and because Wurzlow Abstract was a major player in land leasing operations for the oil fields.  "Toody" White, at the Parish Assessor's Office, connected me with Peggy, Kermit's wife, who made arrangements for me to meet Kermit at the Abstract Office, since Kermit is semi-retired (he is 87) and doesn't spend much time at the office.  Peggy was also there for the interview, because Kermit is hard of hearing, and she also added information.  I can see why they have such a great reputation, these people are Hospitable with a capital H.  After the interview, they took Penny and I to lunch, then Peggy drove us around the area, talking about the land ownership patterns and landscape.

Kermit Wurzlow is 87 years of age at present.  His father, Frank, started Wurzlow Abstract Company in the 1920s, as the pioneer oil field lease broker.  Kermit began working with his father in 1928, took over the company when his father died in 1947, and has continued to work for it to the present.  His wife, Peggy, has also been deeply involved in the business throughout their marriage.

Item 476: 00476_Wurzlow, Peggy_MMS-History (2003)

Interviewer(s): J. Piekielek. Houma, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jim Sell had interviewed Peggy's husband, Kermit Wurzlow, on a previous trip to Houma.  He suggested that I get in touch with her to see if she might be willing to help me get in touch with wives or women who worked in the oil industry.  Peggy still works at the office, Wurzlow Abstracts.  In fact, she seemed to be the only one in the office when I arrived at 10:30am.  She was wearing what looked like perfect summer attire, an embroidered white peasant blouse, white pants and sandals.  She was very friendly and helpful, and offered to help if we needed her advice on research we were doing for Jim at the courthouse.

Peggy Wurzlow, at the age of nine, moved to live at her grandfather's home on Bayou Black Drive in Houma in 1938.  She studied at the Soulet Business College in New Orleans and returned to Houma to work at the Clerk of Courts.  In 1950, she began to work for Wurzlow Abstracts, where she was involved in land leasing operations for oil companies.  She has continued to work for Wurzlow Abstracts to the present.

Item 477: 00477_Young, Joe_MMS-History(2004) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): J. Christy. Morgan City, LA

Affiliation: University of Houston/History International

Joe Young attended Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana and received a degree in Geology.  He went to work on a seismic crew in 1951 and then went to as an analyst for a mud logging unit called Consolidated Well Logging in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.  Later, Mr. Young went to work for Dowell as a service engineer in Kilgore and Tyler.  He then came to south Louisiana and worked offshore from 1956 to 1959.  He went to Maracaibo, Venezuela and then came back to operate production leases in the Gulf of Mexico.  In 1975, he went to work for Lease Service as a salesman.  At the time of this interview, Mr. Young was retired and living in Morgan City.

Item 478: 00478_Zamadics, Ed and Mary_MMS-History (2002)

Interviewer(s): D. Austin. Lafayette, LA

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Ed and Mary Zamadics by Mary's brother, Tom May. Tom is the business manager of the Society for Applied Anthropology, and when he learned about the history study he recommended I set up a meeting with Ed. When I called and explained the project, Ed was happy to participate. I met him and Mary at their home in Lafayette.

Ed Zamadics became involved in the oil and gas industry in 1953 upon graduating from Penn State University. He began work with Atlanta Refining Company and onshore worked in South Texas, Mississippi, and, by 1957, Louisiana. He left the field crew to go to the Lafayette office and stayed with the company until the downturn of 1960 when he was laid off. He went to work for Sinclair in Houston from 1960-1965 as a senior geophysicist. In 1965 he began work as an independent consultant, primarily for Atlanta Refining. He then started working offshore for a consortium that included Atlanta Refining, City Service, Getty, and Continental. After two years, his friends talked him into going back to Atlanta Refining, and he stayed there until his retirement in 1985.

Item 481: 00481_Barnetche, Alfonso_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 484: 00484_Bauer, Robert "Bob" F_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 487: 00487_Crooke, Curtis R_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 488: 00488_De Vries, Douwe_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 490: 00490_Efthymiou, Michael_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 491: 00491_Focht, John A._OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 496: 00496_Grigoryan, Alexander#1_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 500: 00500_Jonkman, Frederick Johan_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 501: 00501_Koomey, Paul_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 504: 00504_Le Monie, Joe_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]
Item 505: 00505_Marshall, Peter_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Box 9
Item 506: 00506_McClelland, Bramlette_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 509: 00509_Moses, Fred_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 511: 00511_Pease, Tim_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 512: 00512_Pugh, Billy_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 513: 00513_Rankin, John_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 517: 00517_Rey-Grange, Andre_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 518: 00518_Shatto, Howard_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 524: 00524_Ward, E.G. "Skip"_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 526: 00526_Wilson, R.O. "Dick"_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 528: 00528_Wirsching, Paul Hugh_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 584: 00584_Ingersoll, H. Scott_OEC - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Box 10
Item 591: 00591_ Berges, Larry_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Larry Berges is a partner of Regional Fabricators at the Port of Iberia. His father was involved in industry as a permit man. Berges began welding right out of high school. He worked for Avondale and McDermott, then as a contract welder for National Supply in New Iberia specializing in land rig building. He and three other contractors decided to start a business at the height of the oil boom in the GOM in 1979. By way of his mechanic experience, and a demand for mechanization on seismic boats, Berges began designing and fabricating safety and new equipment on existing seismic vessels. He holds several patents and has run his company's ship building, repair, and upgrading facility for more than 25 years.

Company's history/significance: Regional was and is a small to mid-size fabricator of offshore equipment. The diverse backgrounds of the four partners has allowed the company to diversify into many areas of offshore work, including boat construction and repair, sandblasting and painting, new rig construction, refurbishing, etc. One partner runs the office, while the other three each run their respective departments. When one area slows down, the other two are able to keep the yard busy. The multiple skill sets of the original partners have been passed onto the employees, many of whom have become superintendents, who themselves have continued the on-the-job training process to the next generation of hands. Unlike big yards with large labor force, Regional has a smaller force of highly specialized "combination hands"--those trained and experienced in many facets of fabrication, including welding and fitting. The company has primarily been involved in seismic boats and shallow water rig construction. The four-partner setup, and low overhead, provided enough diversification for Regional to withstand the "bust" of the mid-1980s. They are one of the oldest companies at the Port of Iberia.

Item 592: 00592_ Berard, Dailey_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2007) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Berard has been involved in the oil and gas industry for 50 years, working for and owning several companies, including most notably Unifab Fabricators (1980-2000). He was born and raised in the Atchafalaya Basin and has seen Louisiana's wetlands decline over the decades. He went to private school at St. Peter's College in New Iberia and graduated from New Iberia High School in 1946. He joined the military and served with the army engineers in occupied Japan. He went to college on the G.I. Bill and graduate in civil engineering from SLI. Tennessee Gas gave him a start in the business in early 1950s. He laid pipelines, designed pipe laying equipment, built companies, modernized the Port of Iberia, and even constructed an Agrifuels Refinery in Iberia Parish. He sold Unifab in 2000 and is retired from the industry. He spends most of his time tending his ranch and writing letters to Washington D.C. on energy/environment issues affecting the Gulf Coast.

Company's history/significance: Unifab transformed the Port of Iberia into a thriving support/service center for the offshore oil and gas industry in the GOM. It was a state of art, all electric, fabrication facility which built platforms, rigs, and rolled its own pipe. Berard took his company public from the start which may have helped it survive during the 1980s. In the 1990s, the Iberia Parish Chamber of Commerce recognized Berard for bringing in $1 billion dollars into the local economy through Unifab and the Port of Iberia.

Item 593: 00593_ Breaux, Royce & Breaux, Jr., Roy_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2007) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Royce Breaux is the chairman of Breauxs Baycraft, Inc. and Roy Breaux Jr. is the president. Both have followed in their father, Roy Breaux Sr.'s, footsteps and have continued the tradition of building custom aluminum crew boats. Royce Breaux work at her father's shipyard as a teenager doing clerical work. She went off to college and got a degree in law from Loyola University. Roy Breaux Jr. worked at the shipyard at a very young age and attended USL. In 1984, during the economic downturn in the offshore industry, Roy Breaux Sr. gave Royce and Roy Jr. the opportunity to work for the family business to eventually take it over. They both agreed to do so and took over the company in 1991 after Roy Sr.'s death.

Company significance/history: Roy Breaux Sr. started off working in the sugar cane fields in Loreauville. He repaired farming equipment at his father's blacksmith shop and actually patented or attempted to obtain a patent on a sugar cane loader. After working at Avondale in WWII, he opened a ship yard to build boats for the oil industry. He saw a need for custom-built crew boats and supply boats for the emerging oil industry. He took the opportunity, educated himself on boat building and running a ship yard, and set out to produce a product needed for the economy. It was strictly a means of survival. He started with a small crew of five non-educated French-speaking country boys building steel hull inland workboats that would operate in the Lake Dautrieve and surround inland gas fields. Breaux was a "hand-on" laborer and work side-by-side with his crew. Later, he built steel workboats with an aluminum cabin, and then replaced steel hulls altogether with aluminum. Aluminum boats are faster, lighter, easier to operate, and easier to work with than steel. Breaux never worked with drawings or designs; we saw the finished product in his head and worked his way back. He recorded the designs in a ledger ONLY AFTER a boat was finished. He categorized every facet of his business through man hours. When his younger kids cut the grass, he had to know how many man hours to pay them. As demand grew along with the offshore industry, Breaux adapted to the changes and grew with the industry. He transformed his small "backyard shipyard" into big business with 300 employees building several boats a year. In the early 1980s, after the older sons left and started their own shipyard and the "bust" brought a decline to the oil industry, Roy Breaux took his two youngest children, Roy Jr. and Royce, out of state and gave them a choice of joining and taking over the business or moving on to something else. He gave them each 10 minutes to decide and told them "If you make the decision to stay, I can promise you, you will be broke." He would have supported them either way, however, he knew the future of his life's work and family owned business rest with his two younger children. They knew this also and both decided to stay on. They learned the business and eventually took it over after Roy Sr. passed away in 1991. Today, the design, service, and quality craftsmanship of the Roy Breaux crew boat still goes into each and every vessel built at Breauxs Baycraft. The design may change with technology, however, the actual structure and layout and fabrication of the boat is exactly the same as Roy Breaux Sr. built it 50 years ago. It is his legacy that his two children, Roy Jr. and Royce, have strived to maintain.

Item 594: 00594_ Covington, Guy_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2008) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Guy Covington is a 4th generation shipbuilder from Orange, TX. Guy's father, Don Covington, became president of Levingston Shipbuilding Company and later started Texas Dry Dock, Inc. (TDI) after Levingston shut down. Guy worked summers at Levingston and finally went to work for TDI in 1992. In 1999 he helped his brother, Russell, start Beacon Marine in Orange, TX, to refurbish and convert drilling rigs. Currently he is the vice president of the company and helps manage the firm's shipyards in the Golden Triangle and Mexico.

Company history/significance: Guy and his brother, Russell, come from a long-line of shipbuilders; it is their heritage. The cumulative experienced gained over the last century by the Convington shipbuilders and their workers have been passed on to this generation at Beacon Marine. The company emerged after TDI-Hatler sold out to Friede & Goldman in the late 1990s. TDI pioneered the rig repair/conversion business in the 1990s and that legacy has carried over to Beacon marine. Beacon has several yards in the Triangle, including their main yard on the historic Harbor Island, first established by Weaver and Levingston in the 1930s and 1940s. Beacon has also taken their company global and opened a shipyard in Mexico to service rigs for PEMEX and their American drilling contractors.

Item 595: 00595_ Breaux, Vance_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2007) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Vance Breaux is president and part-owner of Breaux Brother's Enterprise. He and his brother, Ward Breaux, broke away from their father's shipyard, Breaux's Baycraft, and started their own business in 1982. They have carried the tradition of custom built aluminum crew boats for the offshore oil and gas industry. Breaux began working with his father at a very young age. He learned to build boats, sell boats, and operate a ship yard. He and his brother opened up their own ship yard in 1982, building non-oil field related boats.

Company significance/history: Started in 1982 during the economic downturn in the oil industry, Breaux Brother's immediately diversified into other markets, such as East Coast fishing boats, ferries, and catamarans. They survived the "bust" of the 1980s and in 1987 built their first crew boat for the offshore industry. Through experience and quality craftsmanship, Breaux Brothers has kept a long list of customers in non-oilfield related boat work. When oil field slows down and day rates soften off, Breaux Broth turn to their customers on the East Coast to build yachts, fishing boats, ferries, and catamarans. With 65 personnel working 55 hours a week building 5-7 boats a year, Breaux Brothers Enterprise are a major player in the crew boat market. The majority of the office staff and management are family members.

Item 596: 00596_ Danos, Jim & Danos, Todd _MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2007) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Jim Danos grew up on a farm in southeast Louisiana on Bayou Lafourche. He got involved in the tug boat industry through his father. Danos made his career hauling barges for the oil industry through the coastal waters of southeast Louisiana. He started a boat company with his wife in the 1950s to build and operate tug boats. Later, his family owned and operated company diversified into OSVs for the offshore industry. His three sons now run the business. Todd Danos is the youngest of three and runs Galliano Tugs.

Company history/significance: In the early days of the oil industry, operators hired locals who knew the waters to transport oil and supplies from the marshes and rigs to the refineries. They used small tug boats to push barges. As the jack-up boat/rig technology emerged, the industry moved from inland to offshore waters. This reciprocated a need for bigger, steel-hulled vessels to operate in deeper waters. Ship yards, such as Bollinger, began building work boats to service the industry. Boatmen, like Danos and others, had the knowledge and experience of the industry and owned and operated many of the vessels used by the oil companies in this new frontier. Men like Jim Danos designed these boats, while local ship yards, like Bollinger and Chouest, built them. The oil companies became the major customers for small family-owned boat companies who looked to their neighbors, the ship builders, to provide the labor and fabrication for these vessels in demand.

Item 598: 00598_Deblieux, John_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2007) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

John Deblieux is the Human Resource Director/Risk Management Director for Chet Morrison Contractors (CMS). He is also a member of South Central Industrial Association, a group of industry representatives who work to solve the labor crisis. Worked on lay barges during summers with Tennessee Gas, who his father worked for. He worked in risk management at Torch International with Phil Thibodeaux then came to CMC to run the Human Resources/Risk Management department.

Company significance/history: As soon as CMC opened a yard in Mexico, Deblieux began working with labor attorneys to keep migrant workers to Houma. It took CMC almost seven years through legal roadblocks to get the proper visas to bring in workers from their T&G Shipyard in Vera Cruz. The hurricanes paved the way through these roadblocks, however, in the process FEMA began taking away migrant fabrication workers with higher paying wages for clean-up, even though visas are only good for that one person and that one ten-month job at a fabrication yard.

Item 599: 00599_Dressel, Ronald_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Dressel was raised on a sugar cane farm in Loreauville, LA. Started in the oil field in 1964 working for J&L Engineering, Big Mac Welding, and Avondale Ship yard. He opened his own welding business and contracted to National Supply and Texaco. In 1979, he opened Regional Fabricators at the Port of Iberia with three other welders. He runs the refurb and new construction of shallow water drilling rigs.

Company's history/significance: Began a company with a line of bank credit, low overhead, and rented a shop with a crane on Highway 90 in New Iberia during the height of the land rig/shallow water rig boom (1979). Got their name from Acadiana Regional Airport, which was thought to become a major fabrication center. After a property deal at the airport fell through, the partners moved to the Port of Iberia on the water front. Began building barges and land rigs. In 1981 and early 1982 had 150 employees. Regional built 8 rigs in 1981 at over $2 million a piece. Dressel went to Shreveport and East Texas with a crew to install completed land rigs for Butler and Johnson, while the other partners began building new rigs. Overflow of business carried them through the early "bust" into 1983. The downturn forced Regional to lay off entire work force except for a secretary and 3 welders. They survived on small boat repair work, building barbeque pits, and yard maintenance. In 1981, Regional couldn't build top-dollar rigs fast enough. A year later, a $200 job got three bids. Worse part of the bust was laying off loyal employees: "I won't go through that again--I'll close the doors next time." Regional was 30 days from shutting down. But low overhead and small jobs in diversified areas allowed them to survive. Two of the partners went back to contract welding. They changed their name from Regional Rig Fabricators to just Regional Fabricators to attract boat work. Today, Regional is one of the oldest fabricators at the Port of Iberia.

Item 600: 00600_Estes, John_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2008) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

John Estes worked for Bethlehem Steel from 1949-1982. He is a former manager and engineer at Bethlehem Shipyard in Beaumont, former President of Bethlehem Singapore, and former assistant VP of Bethlehem Steel in Pennsylvania. He was born in Alabama and received a degree from the University of Texas in 1943. He worked in shipyards in New Orleans and Port Arthur before joining Bethlehem Shipyard in Beaumont in 1949 at the beginning of the offshore industry. John helped design and build Bethlehem's fleet of jack-ups during the early offshore industry. He is retired and lives in Kingwood, Texas.

Company's history/significance: Bethlehem Steel had a long history in the US. Shortly after WWII, Bethlehem opened a shipyard in Beaumont, TX to build vessels for the emerging offshore industry. In 1954, Bethlehem's engineers, including Estes, designed and built the industry's first "deep water" jack-up rig, Mr. Gus. Bethlehem was also one of the first American shipyards to open a yard overseas. From 1973-1977 Estes served as president of Bethlehem Singapore building rigs for Asia's offshore industry.

Item 601: 00601_ Foret, Mark _MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2007) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Mark Foret is yard supervisor for Chet Morrison Contractors (CMC) fabrication division in Houma, Industrial Canal location. He has worked in the fabrication industry for 30 years. His father was a welder and he grew up in the industry. Began in fabrication at Delta Services Industries as a helper and worked his was up. After the bust, he was self-employed, later worked for Dolphin Fabricators and then came to CMC.

Company significance/history: CMC was one of the first companies to try the refurbish construction for shallow water marine construction and they have succeeded. Sixty percent of their business in refurbishing old equipment. They have attempted to lessen the labor shortage and support their expansion operations by setting up a training facility at their Vera Cruise, Mexico yard to bring in skilled laborers into Houma, of which 60 percent of workforce in Houma is Mexican. Vera Cruise is a city of 60k people who have the drive to learn fabrication but no industry to work in. CMC depends on migrant workers for their growth and stability; they have safety meetings in Spanish and utilized translators. Currently CMC at the Houma Industrial location is building six structures with 120 personnel.

Item 602: 00602_  Hartman, Len_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2007) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Len Hartman is president of Burton Shipyard in Bridge City, TX. He has been in ship building for 40 years. Hartman started at Burton Shipyard in Port Arthur, TX in 1962. Went to work for Zapata Marine. Started a company with his uncle and bought land in Bridge City from O.W. Burton. He later partnered with Mr. Burton and the yard was renamed Burton Shipyard. Currently, Burton Ship yard has 45 employees and repair and refurbish vessels for offshore and fishing industry.

Company's history/significance: O.W. Burton began building ships in Orange during WWII. After the war he built some of the first supply vessels in the Gulf of Mexico for Tidewater Marine. In the 1960s Burton shipyard in Port Arthur employed 250 workers and built 12 vessels a year for the offshore industry. Many of the workers then were from south Louisiana and had little education but were skilled hands. Burton, a smaller yard compared to his neighbors, specialized in new construction "from the keel to the key." He later built a new yard in Bridge City for new construction in utility vessels. Today, the yard specializes in repair and refurbish only. The company is still family owned.

Item 603: 00603_ Jackson, Bill_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2006) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Bill Jackson is the Houston region sales manager for Gulf Offshore Logistics, a boat owner, operator, and broker that services marine transportation industry in the GOM. He first began in the offshore industry as a roughneck and welder, fabricating platforms at the Port of Iberia. In 1983 he went to work for the pioneer of the telecomm industry offshore. He has been in the GOM oil and gas industry for over 25 years, primarily in sales.

Company's history/significance: Jackson worked for several companies at the Port of Iberia and in the Gulf of Mexico before his career in the telecomm offshore business took off. He discusses how laxed the hiring policies, particularly drug screening and background checks, were in the late 1970s. If you wanted a job, you had a job, no questions asked. Universal Fabricators started in 1980 and brought new technology and innovation to the Port of Iberia. It was a brand new all electric fabrication facility and Jackson worked as one of the top welders. He entered the telecomm business at the very beginning and became part owner in one of the largest telecomm companies in the Gulf Coast region, Solar Comm. He has witnessed the boom in the marine transportation industry as a result of the three recent hurricanes.

Item 604: 00604_  Kelly, Thomas_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2007) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Tom Kelly was a long-time boat builder. He was vice-president of operations at Seward Seacraft in Morgan City in the early 1970s. He owned and operated his owned companies, mostly for boat repair. He was also a commercial fisherman and served on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. Kelly grew up in Shell Oil's Black Bayou community and learned at a very young age (5 years old) how to operate and maintain boats through his father, who ran boats for Shell in the marsh. He learned how to weld and repair boats and trailers in Vinton High School. He started at Consolidated Shipyard in Orange, TX in the 1950s building barges. After military service, he transferred to Morgan City to run Shell's boat repair yard. In 1966, he was hired as a supervisor for Seward Seacraft, aluminum crew boat builders in Morgan City. He eventually became vice-president of operations. When Seward Seacraft closed its doors in 1974, Kelly opened his own business, and then started a boat repair yard next to Gulf Craft, Inc in Patterson. He ran that business until 1992.

Company significance/history: Fred Seward of Seward Seacraft began building boats in the late 1940s. He was contracted by oil companies and boat rental companies to design and build steel-hull crew boats for the offshore industry in the 1950s. In 1960, Alcoa Aluminum manufacturing approached Seward to experiment with aluminum boats. Seward built a number of aluminum crew boats for Tidewater Marine and in 1968 got a huge government contract to build the infamous Swift Boats for the Vietnam War. Later, problems developed with the new technology that caused the boats to break apart. After modifications to the material and design, Seward continued building aluminum crew boats into the early 1970s.

Item 605: 00605_McCall, Norman_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2007) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Norman McCall is an 83-year-old crew boat owned and operator. He owned an operated McCall Boat Rentals for several years before merging with SEACOR International in the 1990s. He is one of the pioneering operators of the aluminum crew boats built in South Louisiana beginning in 1950s and has seen the industry progress for half a century--in many ways he has helped to lead that progress.

Company significance/history: Norman McCall grew up in Grand Chenier in the 1920s into a family of boat builders. He joined the Navy and served in a submarine in World War II. After the war he worked for Pure Oil Company as a Captain of an ex-minesweeper in the Gulf of Mexico during the first days of the offshore industry, hauling supplies from Cameron to the platforms. He worked for Pure Oil for 19 years. In 1969, after successfully running a boat-rental company, McCall built his first new boat, an aluminum crewboat, the "Phyllis McCall" at Seward Seacraft in Morgan City. A few years later, he built several 110-foot crew boats--the first crew boats of that size to work in the GOM. By the mid 1970s, McCall and his boat builders began experimenting with multiple engines. He built the first quad-screw in 1975 and the first five-screw in 1981, all at Gulf Craft Shipyard in Patterson, LA. In 1996 McCall Boat Rentals (38 crew boats) merged with SEACOR, one of the industry’s largest crewboat operations.

Item 606: 00606_Morrison, Chet_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2007) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Houma-native Chet Morrison is the CEO of Chet Morrison Contractors (CMC). He started his company during the 1980s downturn and has integrated into marine fabrication and refurbishing, pipeline construction and transmission, diving, and international operations.

Company significance/history: CMC does topside and pipeline work, and construction work OCS offshore oil and gas. CMC prides themselves on their local work force expertise, however, given the changing labor environment in the marine construction industry, CMC has gone "international" to search for and bring in skilled Mexican workers.

Item 607: 00607_Molaison, Leroy_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2007) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Leroy Molaison is the owner and president of Main Ironworks in Houma, LA. He bought the company in 1986 during the downturn. He came into the company through his father-in-law, who was co-founder of the ship yard. Main Iron works specializes in tug/push boat new builds and repair.

Company significance/history: Main Ironworks was started in 1947 as a welding shop by Jack Guidry and Lawrence Mazerak. Both men had worked at Texaco's small ship yard south of Montegut, LA., where they learned boat building expertise. In the early 1950s they started fabricating steel vessels. The tugs were designed and built to service the growing offshore industry to push or haul barges with equipment or product to the rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Main began with 50 foot tugs and progressed as technology and deep-water demand improved. From the 1960s to the early 1980s Main experienced continuous growth: at one point they employed over 500 personnel and built a tug every month. Today, Main builds some of the state-of-the-art "Z" drive Harbor tugs to service the LNG/Lightering/containership industry coming to port.

Item 608: 00608_LeCompte, Randy_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2007) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Randy LeCompte is co-owner of Geo Marine Incorporated at the Port of Iberia. Geo specializes in aluminum catamarans and shallow water crew/seismic boats. The company was started by Mac LeCompte in 1979 and is now operated by his two sons, Randy and David LeCompte.

Company's significance/history: Geo Marine Incorporated started in 1979 at the Port of Iberia by Mac LeCompte to service the shallow water seismic industry. Mr. LeCompte had been involved in the boat business in the 1960s and started a company to built and rent boats to the oil companies. Geo began building flat-bottom aluminum boats to work in really shallow water but that could also carry a heavy load on deck. Geo diversified into International markets which may have allowed them to survive the 1980s downturn. Today, they are thriving in the catamaran industry.

Item 609: 00609_Neuville, Kerry_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2007) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Kerry Neuville was born and raised in Loreauville, LA and started a shipyard, Neuville Boat Works, on the Bayou Teche with his father and brother in the late 1960s. Neuville Boat Works is one of the leading builders of aluminum crewboats. Kerry started out as a welder and fitter at Breaux's Baycraft and began building airboats on the side before his family started their own shipyard.

Company significance/history: Neuville Boat Works is one of the oldest and well-known builders of aluminum crewboats in the GOM and around the world. The shipyard got it start in the late 1960s when aluminum boats became very popular in south Louisiana because of aluminum's durability and lightweight. In the 1970s, the inland oilfields created a high demand from small, shallow water, aluminum workboats and Neuville took advantage of the business opportunity. They built a few crewboats every month. When the industry moved further offshore, the Neuvilles jumped at the opportunity and began building 105 ft crewboats. During the oil field crunch of the 1980s, the Neuville shipyard went "dormant". The brothers laid off the workforce and waited out the downturn. With little or no debt, the shipyard survived. And with several canceled contracts, the nearly completed hulls that sat in the Neuville's shipyard for much of the 1980s became highly valuable when the market picked up, particularly in Venezuela. From the 1990s forward, the brothers, with help from pioneers like Norman and Joe McCall, have made a mark in the deep water aluminum crewboat industry.

Item 610: 00610_Thibodeaux, Philip_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2007) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Phil Thibodeaux heads up the Domestics Operations for Chet Morrison Contractors (CMC).  Thibodeaux worked on pipe laying barges for four summers while attending LSU. He graduated in 1975 in civil engineering and worked for a handful of contractors before joining CMC in 1991 to start up a pipeline division.

Company significance/history: CMC has specialized in refurbishing old ABS class supply barges and converting them into diving support vessels and pipe laying tenders. CMC has a fleet of several diver support vessels (DSVs) and 100 divers, some are from Peru and South Africa, and they are looking into Argentina for more.

Item 611: 00611_Tibbs, Roy "Scotty"_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication (2007) [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer(s): Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Scott Tibbs is the president of Gulf Craft, Inc. an aluminum crew boat ship builder located in Patterson, LA on the Bayou Teche. He received a degree in History from LSU and flew crop dusters before getting into the ship building business. Currently, his son, Kevin, runs the daily operations. Tibbs was the pilot for Fred Sewart of Sewart Seacraft, one of the original pioneers of aluminum crew boats. When Sewart received contracts to build swift boats for the US Navy during Vietnam, Sewart subcontracted Tibbs for small aluminum fabrication. Tibbs had prior experience working and welding aluminum on airplanes. He fabricated aluminum parts at his father's property on the Bayou Teche and when Sewart merged with Teledyne, Tibbs opened up a new yard with three employees to build small crew boats. He delivered his first crew boat in 1966.

Company significance/history: Gulf Craft begin building aluminum "Joe Boats" for oil companies in the 1960s. These boats were used for shallow water inland activity and were small enough to pull up to a platform, keep the engine running in idle, and take a quick meter reading or check the instruments and go on to the next platform. From there, they began building small crew boats. In the 1970s, Gulf Craft built several large crew boats for Norman McCall. When a slowdown occurred in the 1970s, Gulf Craft began building party fishing boats for the East Coast. When the "bust" occurred in the 1980s, Gulf Craft was able to survive by buying crew boats for cheap, and converting the hulls to party fishing boats for customers on the east. Today, Gulf Craft has a partnership with Norman McCall and SEACOR to build multiple crew boats every year.

Item 612: 00612_Bittles, Bill_Shell [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 613: 00613_Deisler, Paul_Shell [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 583: 00583_Henderson, Jim_OEC - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 585: 00585_Leffier, Bill_OEC - Audio Only
Item 586: 00586_Loveland, E. F._OEC - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 587: 00587_Ramsey, Jim_OEC - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 588: 00588_Seggerman, Merrill_OEC - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 589: 00589_St. Clair, Jack_OEC - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Item 590: 00590_Swofford, Ron_OEC - Audio Only [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Box 11
Item 653: 00653_Nicholas, Bob_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Bob Nicholas is a native of Beaumont, TX. He is currently practicing maritime law in Houston, TX. He worked for Exxon Shipping Company in the 1970s and 1980s and was a "first responder" to the March 24, 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Tanker accident in Alaska. Nicholas is also an expert on the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the oil spill legislation that resulted from the Exxon Valdez incident, one of the worst environmental disasters in US history.
Item 654: 00654_Mitro, Tom_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.
Tom began working at Gulf Oil in the early 1970s on international, mainly West African oil. He later worked as a financial manager for Gulf Oil headquarters in Houston in the late 1970s and finally moved to Lagos, Nigeria in 1982 at the height the “oil crisis.” He headed up the finance department for Gulf in Nigeria until the Chevron/Gulf merger in 1985. At which time, he moved to California to work for Chevron. Tom is now a financial consultant for the oil industry in West Africa and has started an NGO.
Box 12
Item 700: 00700_Bryd, Gary and Norma Sue_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Gary and Norma Sue Byrd were recommended by longtime residents and local leaders because of their family ties to the shipbuilding and lumber industries. The interview took place in the Byrd’s living room, around a trunk full of photos and other memorabilia. These served as prompts for various reflections throughout the short interview.

Mr. Byrd began his career in shipbuilding in 1955 at the age of 17 at Arnold V. Walker Shipyards in Pascagoula. The bulk of his employment was with Ingalls Shipbuilding (later Northrop Grumman). Mrs. Byrd’s father was a longtime employee of Dantzler Boat and Barge and he traveled all over the world. They discuss his career in which he started out as an operations manager and continued to receive pay as a consultant through his illness and until his death in 1976. They talk a little bit about the history of Dantzler and the owner’s family’s L. M. Dantzler Lumber Company. Mrs. Byrd’s grandfather captained a boat that hauled lumber for the latter.

Item 701: 00701_Crawford, Carl M_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Carl Crawford was recommended to our study team by office personnel at Signal International. When contacted, he agreed to an interview. The interview took place at the Shell Landing Country Club.

Mr. Crawford was born in 1943 in Greenville, Mississippi. He worked for several equipment companies, including Caterpillar, in Mississippi and Louisiana before meeting J. L. Holloway, who shortly thereafter helped form Ham Marine. From 1981 to 1998, he was vice-president of marketing for Ham Marine, which was later rechristened Friede Goldman International (and at the time of the interview was Signal International). He discusses the history and growth of the company, their first contracts with ODECO, the importance of their contracts with Noble Drilling in helping the company go public, and their failed attempt to get into new builds. Important in growing the business were establishing a stable labor force and gaining the trust of customers. However, in the company’s formative years, they benefited from the historical presence of Ingalls Shipyard and the availability of a skilled workforce that could be hired and laid off in accordance with industry cycles. He also mentions the difficulties in bidding for drilling rig jobs, supply issues related to planning, the current problems recruiting skilled workers and the recent moves to subcontracting more of their labor force, the changes in the involvement of clients in their work and the necessity that fabricators become more sophisticated, and the consolidation of the drilling industry.

This is a follow-up interview with Mr. Crawford. The first interview was conducted on June 2, 2008. During this interview, Mr. Crawford talks specifically about how Ham Marine and later Friede Goldman dealt with industry cycles. He stresses the “can-do” attitude and hard working nature of the people in the company, their teamwork, and the importance of the company’s specialization in drilling rigs. He also discusses in some depth his role as marketer for the company and the relationships he formed with their drilling contractor customers.  He mentions that it was during a job with Shell Oil Company that their company decided to focus and improve on their safety and quality, and they adopted Shell’s system of morning safety meetings. Safety is important for both ensuring the welfare of workers and also in terms of insurance rates. Many times rigs do not come in for upgrades or repairs unless they need them for specific jobs, and recently many have come in for upgrades so that they can work in deeper and deeper water.

Item 702: 00702_Ford, Liz and Reena A. Ford_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Michele Coats of the Jackson County Planning Department recommended that I talk to Liz Ford. She is a descendant of one of the early families in Pascagoula and a member of the Historical Society. We arranged to meet at her mother Reena Ford's house. It's currently a MEMA cottage just north of Beach Blvd. The original house was on the boulevard, but it was destroyed in Katrina. We snacked on pizza and some wine while we talked.

They discuss the changes of the shipbuilding industry in their town of Pascagoula. Reena’s mother was from a family of seamen, and her father was from a family of lawyers. While she was growing up her father was a sea captain who worked with sailing vessels that transported mostly lumber to Havana. Reena grew up near shipyards and harbors, so she was very knowledgeable about the changes within the industry over the years and the trade of goods with countries in South America. Other industry in the area was lumber, seafood, and a few factories. Both women told stories about residents of Pascagoula and their experiences in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. Reena discussed the boom of shipbuilding in the area during WWII, the role of women in the workforce during this time, and the influx of foreigners. During the Depression smaller shipyards closed because there was less demand for shipbuilding with the decline of the lumber industry.

Item 703: 00703_Gazzier, Richard_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

I was given Mr. Gazzier’s phone number the day before by an acquaintance. When I called, his daughter/secretary said he had time to meet with me, so I should come over. About 10 minutes later we met in his office at his shipyard in Bayou la Batre.

Mr. Gazzier was born in 1947 and built his first boat when he was 13. Both his father and grandfather were in the boat building business. He ran his own shrimp boat and opened a shipyard in the mid-1970s to build shrimpboats for him and others. In about 1979 he was approached by a seismograph company doing work in Mobile Bay to repair their vessels. Several years later he designed and built new boats which he leased to the company and significantly increased their production. Around the same time, he also took on projects for boats working overseas. He got out of the new boat building business in the late 1990s and he talks about workforce issues he faced. The seismograph boats were last used in oilfield work in 2000 and he discusses changes in seismograph work, particularly the internationalization. The boats are now used in coastal restoration projects. At the time of the interview, he was semi-retired, and his business was doing a variety of things: operated a seafood processing plant, repair work, coastal restoration, etc.

Item 704: 00704_Holland, William "Bill"_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Victoria (Tory) Phaneuf had been referred to Mr. Holland by local residents who were aware that he was one of the last remaining wooden boat builders in Biloxi. She contacted him and asked if he would be willing to do an interview. He agreed, so Tory and Diane Austin arranged to meet him at  his boat yard in Biloxi, which is located next to his house. The interview took place in the enclosed construction area of his yard. Diane led the interview with Tory present taking notes.

M.r Holland was born in 1946 in Biloxi, Mississippi. He began his boat building career at the age of nine and spent time with many of the local boat builders, including the Kovacevichs who built oilfield boats. After high school in 1964, he went to work for Ingalls where he learned to weld and burn. His tenure lasted until 1970, but was interrupted by a stint in the Coast Guard during the Vietnam Crisis. He worked other construction and layout jobs, but always built boats outside his work hours. Both his daughters work in his small yard and he employs about two full time employees. They renovate and build all different types of wooden boats, though their specialty is carvel round bottom boats. He notes that after doing more repair jobs than usual the previous year, they had done few in 2007 and he attributes this mostly to the rising price of materials and people being unable to afford boat maintenance. Especially since the ‘90s and after Hurricane Katrina, wood for boat building has been increasingly difficult to procure. He also talks about the stress and expense in recovering from Katrina and his disappointment and shock in the lack of assistance he received from religious groups and companies. This was different than their experience after Hurricane Camille. He discusses what he sees as the end of the wooden boat building craft and describes his dedication to teaching people about it.

Item 705: 00705_Keene, William Patrick_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Patrick Keene was recommended to me by a lifelong Pascagoula resident as someone who would be particularly knowledgeable about the history of shipbuilding in Pascagoula. We met at his house on Beach Blvd. It's actually a double wide trailer, the house was destroyed in the storm. The garage is still standing, but is damaged. We settled in the living room with our glasses of ice water and Patrick asked a number of questions about the study before I began. The interview was mostly recorded except for a couple of parts at the end.

Patrick Keene grew up in South Georgia where his father worked in the paper industry. None of his family had any maritime background, but Patrick eventually became a well-respected nuclear submarine engineer. He attended Georgia Tech for chemical engineering while working at the same paper company as his father, but with hopes to see the world he transferred to the Merchant Marine Academy at King’s Point where he received a marine engineering degree. After he graduated in 1962 he sailed all over the world for four years with a steamship company where he became a chief engineer. Patrick eventually went to work for Ingalls Shipbuilding Company as a nuclear engineer working on nuclear submarines. His dedication and passion for engineering allowed him to quickly climb the corporate ladder, and he was eventually the VP of production and engineering. He became the president in 1999 and remained in that position until he retired in 2001. Simultaneous with his work at the shipyard, Keene taught for a year at Jackson County Junior College. At one point Ingalls sent him to Los Angeles and Philadelphia in 1972 for two years to design a gas turbine prototype. During his 36 years with Ingalls Patrick accumulated great knowledge surrounding the shipbuilding industry and the Navy’s use of nuclear power. He discussed the mergers, labor market and unions, decline of the industry, effects of Katrina, and the history of the Ingalls family and the company.

Mr. Keene began working for Ingalls in 1966 and became president of the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries in 1999. He talks in some depth about the company’s decision to diversify into building cruise ships in the early 2000s and how this related to the end of Cold War. Later he discusses the competition that exists within the repair or overhaul market. He said his biggest challenge as president was keeping the company moving and getting and keeping a good labor base. Maintaining a workforce is a big challenge requiring lots of investments in recruiting and training (particularly since changes in informal and formal education), and flexibility. He describes the company’s structure and systems to ensure workplace safety and notes that safety is part of everyone’s duty. He also talks about the company’s different departments and how they work independently of one another. Finally, he discusses the change in corporate culture in terms of management over time and particularly in terms of workforce diversity when Northrop Grumman took over the shipyard.

Item 706: 00706_McIlwain, Thomas_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication [available online - see Digital Library]

I met Dr. McIlwain at his office at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL). We had spoken on the phone but never met in person. I had first introduced myself and the study some weeks before, and he mentioned he had been giving it some thought before the interview.

He has been a resident of Ocean Springs, Mississippi since 1966. He grew up in Pascagoula, living behind Ingalls where his father worked for 44 years. He discusses what life was like in Pascagoula during and after World War Two, and provides some details about a union strike and pressure to join the union. He also worked in the Ingalls yard from 1958 to 1959, first as a machinist apprentice and later as an aid in the nuclear power department, in between taking college courses and joining the army. He discusses the work that he did in those sectors (e.g., on USS Blueback, Sculpin, and Snook). He graduated with a B.S. degree in biology and psychology, and later an M.S. from the University of Southern Mississippi. In March of ’65 he began working for the GCRL, which is part of USM. He received his doctorate in 1978. He discusses the year he took off to work with then Congressman Trent Lott in 1983, as a legislative assistant on marine issues and his role in the creation of the MARFIN Program. He continued at the GCRL lab, acting as director from 1989 until he retired in 1994. Then he worked for NOAA and also again as a leg assistant with then Senator Lott (Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act). Since 2003 he has functioned as the program coordinator for the development of the Cedar Point Campus and more recently was appointed to the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council.

Item 707: 00707_Schnoor, Ron_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

An individual in my yoga class knows Ron Schnoor and said he would tell him about our study. He did, and Mr. Schnoor said I could contact him. I was able to arrange to meet him and conducted this interview.

Mr. Schnoor is the chief operating officer of Signal International in Mississippi and Texas. He began his career with Brown & Root, and went to work for Ham Marine in 1984 as a project manager. He progressed through the company and watched it grow and merge with other companies (e.g., Friede Goldman) to become more vertically integrated. In 1995 he was named president. When the company was bought out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy by investors to form Signal International, he was named senior vice-president of operations, the position he holds today. In this interview, he describes the evolution of his company, particularly their strengths and the ways they have diversified over the years. He discusses with some detail the labor issues the company has recently faced and their use of H2B visa workers through contract companies and their own recent troubles with sponsoring H2B visa workers. He sees the future of offshore oil and gas work in the Gulf of Mexico in the deepwater.

Item 708: 00708_Williams, Dale_MMS-Shipbuilding and Fabrication [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

I stopped in at Willams Fabricators to find out more about the company and was able to arrange an interview with Dale Williams. We met in his office.

Mr. Williams was born and raised in Fowl River, Alabama. His parents were commercial fishermen and when the seafood industry was slack, his father took various jobs in the shipyards. He discusses growing up around wooden boat builders and his entry into the industry at the age of 18 in 1969 with a shipfitting apprenticeship with Ingalls Shipyard. During his seven years with Ingalls, he learned many different skills and, importantly, had the opportunity to learn about mold lofts and become interested in design. He was laid off in 1976 and for the next 15 years worked a variety of jobs and even opened several businesses, before going back to work for Ingalls in the early 1990s in their engineering department. He quit that job and a few years later in 1998 reopened Williams Fabricators in which he built new boats (mostly fishing vessels) and developed a new framing system. At the time of the interview, they were getting into conversion work and he discusses repair work in general and plans to slowly grow and diversify. In terms of industry cycles, he says they are very difficult to predict and during down cycles (such as the one they were in at the time of the interview) you just have to live with the given situation, hope the quality of your work gets you through, and maybe diversify a bit. As a small yard, when they are busy they subcontract out a lot of the different skilled crafts, though when business is slower they do more in-house. Towards the end of the interview, he describes optical lofting and the use of computers in design work, and goes through the process from order, design, build, and testing. The gratifying part of the job is seeing the boats that they are able to make operational. The hard part is dealing with rising prices of materials.

Item 710: 00710_Westell, Casey_OEC [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Dr. Casey Westell, Jr., former Director of Tenneco’s Industrial Ecology Department (Chief Ecologist) for 35 years.

Casey Westell, Jr. was born during the Great Depression in Wisconsin and served during WWII. He earned a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Michigan in 1955 and studied forest ecology. He worked as a general manager for the Packaging Corporation, a pulp and paper company, and subsidiary of Tenneco, Inc., for 10 years before being offered the position of chief ecologist in Houston. He took the job in Houston in 1971 at the height of the environmental movement and environment reforms that were impacting energy and chemical related industries. Westell was hired by Gardiner Symonds, the founder and CEO of Tenneco, to manage Tenneco’s environmental affairs. Westell’s motto, as he preached to managers within the Tenneco conglomeration, was “environment as good business”. If a company, division, or plant was in compliance with environmental regulations, then it had a good chance of remaining profitable.

Box 14
Item 814: 00814_Pratt, Joseph A_MMS [available online - see Digital Library]View associated digital content.

Interviewer: Bruce Causey

Affiliation: University of Houston

Joe Pratt is the coordinator of the Energy Management and Policy Group and teaches courses in international business and energy history and regulation. He became interested in oil through his family’s connection to the industry and his upbringing in Port Neches. His father worked in a refinery in the early days of the wildcatters and Pratt also worked at the refinery during his school breaks. This interview centers on the oil refining industry of Houston beginning with the discovery of Spindletop, how it helped introduce Houston as the oil capital of the world and attracted a flow of industrial workers. Dr. Pratt visits modern day refineries and compared them to the plants of the past by discussing the technological advances and the increasing amount of usable product per barrel of oil. There is an emphasis on sustainability and the future of oil refining in Houston and how it may affect the economy and climate. Dr. Pratt highlights the mutually beneficial relationship between the Houston Ship Channel and Houston’s oil industry.

Box 15
Item 00830: 00830_Shelley, Matthew_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Preetam had first met Matthew Shelley when he had travelled to Philadelphia, MS to speak with some instructors and other individuals involved in a workforce development program associated with East Mississippi Community College located on the Choctaw reservation. Matthew was working as an electrical instructor at the program at the time. Matthew grew up in Scott County, MS when it was still heavily rural and had begun working offshore for a drilling contractor in the 1970s after spending some time working road construction and a local saw mill after he graduated from high school. As he put it, he had been looking to “get rich quick” when he first went offshore and had also been searching for a way to avoid the constant travelling that was part of road construction. Matthew had started out working as a roustabout and eventually worked his way up to derrickman. He worked a seven and seven schedule during his time in the industry and had worked as an electrician during his time off for much of the period that he had been working offshore. Matthew related how the 1980s downturn had a significant impact on people from MS who had gone to work offshore by that point. Matthew left the industry in 1985 after an incident involving a blowout on a rig. He related how many in the area who had been laid off from working offshore during the 1980s had found other jobs and had not gone back to working offshore in the 1990s even when work became available. Matthew had gone to work as a commercial electrician and described the difficulties of adjusting to the longer hours and lower pay after working offshore. Matthew went back to work offshore in 1995, but quickly left once again due to the considerable changes in safety regulations during his time away.

Item 00833: 00833_Schnoor, Ron_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

An individual in my yoga class knows Ron Schnoor and said he would tell him about our study. He did, and Mr. Schnoor said I could contact him. I was able to arrange to meet him and conducted this interview.

                                                  Mr. Schnoor is the chief operating officer of Signal International in Mississippi and Texas. He began his career with Brown & Root, and went to work for Ham Marine in 1984 as a project manager. He progressed through the company and watched it grow and merge with other companies (e.g., Friede Goldman) to become more vertically integrated. In 1995 he was named president. When the company was bought out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy by investors to form Signal International, he was named senior vice-president of operations, the position he holds today. In this interview, he describes the evolution of his company, particularly their strengths and the ways they have diversified over the years. He discusses with some detail the labor issues the company has recently faced and their use of H2B visa workers through contract companies and their own recent troubles with sponsoring H2B visa workers. He sees the future of offshore oil and gas work in the Gulf of Mexico in the deepwater.

Item 00836: 00836_Waller, James Jr._MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Preetam contacted James Waller after interviewing Larry Pickens, who suggested that he was another Wayne County resident who had worked on the production side of things who might be willing to participate in the study. James had been born in Waynesboro, but had moved around quite a bit as a child due to his father being in the military. James had initially gone into seismic work in the 1970s shortly after he had graduated from high school. After doing seismic work for several years he had applied for and gotten a job with Texaco, where he started off as a roustabout. James had always worked in production and eventually worked his way up to crane inspector, a position which he still occupies. He currently works out of Pascagoula, MS, only 80 or so miles away from his home, but had commuted to Intercoastal City for a long time. Throughout the interview, he returned to the dramatic changes in safety and technology which he had witnessed since beginning to work offshore. According to James, technological advances, and accompanying increases in required expertise and education levels had been especially pronounced in production as opposed to drilling since the 1980s.

Item 00840: 00840_Porche, Larry (Moon)_MMS/BOEM

aInterviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Porche was referred by Peanut Crochet during the History II study, but had refused to be interviewed at that time.  With some persistence, he agreed to meet at his house in east Houma, where his wife served me coffee.  She also made several comments during the interview.  Mr. Porche spent his entire career with Texaco, and continues to keep up with his friends from the company, such as Burleigh Ruiz, who he insisted I talk to.  Otherwise, he fishes and volunteers with the church since his retirement.

                  Mr. Porche was born in 1931, on Bourg Lane in Houma.  His daddy worked with Texaco, based out of Montegut, for his whole career.  Mr. Porche fought in Korea, in the Army, then spent four years in the National Guard.  In 1955, he started working for Texaco as a laborer, rolling pipe.  By 1959, he was the lead man on a pile driving and construction crew, which he did until retiring in 1990.  Notably, he mentioned that because of the creosote on the pilings his crew handled, which was toxic and carcinogous, they “were like snakes, shedding their skin every 7 days”.  A man from Morgan City developed a lotion which helped somewhat, but his job always involved harm to the skin.  Many people couldn’t handle it and quit, but he never did.

Summary

Born in 1931, in Houma; lived in Houma his whole life.  His was a Texaco family – father, brothers, himself.  Fought in Korea, then National Guard until 1954.  In ’55, started with Texaco, pipe roustabout.  By ’59, lead man on pile driving crew.  Worked in this division until retirement in 1990.

                 Noted that in early 60s, restrictions on pollutants and sewage became strict.  Less and less could go overboard into water through career.  Discussed Texaco as being family oriented, with family hires; but relatives couldn’t work on same job, fighting favoritism.  Texaco loved by people in Houma; but had to work hard for them.  Noted that higher pressure offshore required better equipment, new technologies.  As inshore began to deplete in 80s, big push offshore by all companies.  Texaco hit hard by Pennzoil lawsuit in 80s, then merger with Chevron.  People left Houma in droves.  In 90s, Falcon Drilling had “roustabout school” on dry rig in Houma to train basic hands – all good hands gone, only “dregs” left.  Noted service industry strong after 80s, but majors are out of area.  Discussed improved wages for oilfield work over his career.

Item 00842: 00842_Pickens, Larry_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Bobby Jones, the director of the Wayne County Vo-Tech Center, had initially recommended that Preetam speak with Larry Pickens. Bobby mentioned Larry as someone who was quite heavily involved with younger people in the area. Preetam and Larry arranged to meet at the latter’s house in Waynesboro. Larry had gone to college after high school and obtained a degree in education, and had then joined the US Army. While in the army he had been stationed in LA and had heard about the possibility of working in the offshore oil industry. He had been hired by Chevron as a roustabout on a production platform immediately after he had left the Army in 1984 and currently worked as an operations specialist. He mentioned that during the course of his time at Chevron, the company had undergone several mergers with other major oil companies, which resulted in increasing systematization of training procedures and safety standards. Larry also mentioned that obtaining a job offshore, especially on the production side, entailed increasingly high educational requirements which disqualified some local workers. He spoke favorably about the benefits of offshore work, especially the seven and seven schedule, which he claimed to have “fallen in love with” over the course of time.

Item 00843: 00843_Sekul, Morris_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had been invited to visit the Slavonian Lodge in Biloxi by one of their members, PP600, after I had expressed my interest in local ethnic and industrial history when we spoke over the phone. PP600 introduced me to several members of the Lodge. One of those present with whom PP600 thought that it would be good for me to speak was Mr. Sekul. PP600 described Mr. Sekul as one of the last members of the lodge who still made his living as a shrimper. After being introduced to Mr. Sekul, I asked if he might be willing to take part in an oral history interview, to which he agreed. The interview was conducted in the Lodge itself.

Mr. Sekul was born in Biloxi, MS in 1950. His family was involved in the seafood business and his father was a shrimper, but Mr. Sekul did not immediately go into shrimping after leaving school. He worked at Ingalls Shipyard for a little over 10 years before getting into the shrimping business in 1982 when the shipyard experienced a downturn in work. He described the 1980s as a good time for the local seafood industry, a period when people were able to make a decent living shrimping and fishing. He noted that many of his friends in the industry had gotten out of it over the years to pursue various other lines of work, including in the offshore oil industry. He himself had never had any desire to go to work offshore and said that he had been able to do alright in the shrimping business until the early 2000s. Since then the rise in fuel costs and increased regulations, and the concordant decline in the price of shrimp had made things very difficult for people in the industry. Mr. Sekul also spoke at some length about his experiences in the aftermath of the BP oil spill of 2010.

Item 00849: 00849_Anderson, Anna_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had met Anna last summer at Steiner's Shipyard, she was very helpful getting me in to talk to people and giving me photocopies of articles on the shipyard and other information. Since getting back in the area this spring I had been trying to interview her on her own, which was made more difficult since she had retired in the interim. We had made an earlier appointment, but she wasn't feeling well that day so we rescheduled. As she was retired, she came in early to chat with the office staff and the owner before our interview. I arrived slightly late, at 12:40, (the meeting was scheduled for 12:30) but she was eating lunch with the owner and they didn't invite me back to join them until closer to 1. She is shorter than I am, on the stocky side, with bright eyes and an easy way of talking. This is one of the more clear and descriptive interviews I have. We met in the lunch/conference room at the shipyard, so periodically people came in and used the refrigerator or sink. She was already quite familiar with the project, and agreed to do an oral history interview.

Item 00850: 00850_Thomas, Inez_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Kelly McLain

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Ms. Inez Thomas is the owner and operator of Inez’s Café in Biloxi, Mississippi. Every person in the community suggested that she would be an important resource for information. I stopped by a few days earlier with PP to introduce myself. Ms. Thomas agreed to sit down with me on another day after the lunch hour. I arrived the day of our interview and ordered the daily special, fried chicken with a side of red beans and rice, collard greens, corn bread and sweet tea. Her café features a daily special but also offers a menu of various items. She is still not sure what is going to happen with the business after she retires.

                  Ms. Inez Thomas was born June 4, 1939 in Canton, Mississippi, about 20 miles outside of Jackson. Following the path of her sister, she moved to Jackson, Mississippi and then to Ocean Springs, Mississippi in 1956.  In 1962, she moved to Biloxi and worked for Biloxi Laundry. She and her partner, KM416c, worked for a friend to learn how to run a business before opening their own lounge and then café. Mr. Proby focused his work toward the lounge and Ms. Thomas toward the café. They were closed for almost two years after Hurricane Katrina. When they reopened, business rebounded quickly. Today, Ms. Thomas continues to run the café.

Item 00851: 00851_Anderson, Steve_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Steve Anderson while mapping the oil center back in September with Lillian Miller. Mr. Anderson seemed interested and open to talking and I said we’d set something up when I returned the following November.

              Mr. Anderson is originally from Michigan. He graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in geophysical engineering in 1975. He got a job right away, which he attributes to the major boom in oil prices happening at that time. He began working as a seismic interpreter for UNICAL out of California. He left UNICAL in 1981 “during the boom” and went to work for Adaexco, a company centered in the oil center. He worked for them one year before he was laid off in 1982, due to the company going bankrupt. He went back to UNICAL in 1982, but they didn’t hire him. This led him to Quintana, a company owned by a wealthy family out of Houston. He worked for them for 9.5 years. In 1992 they closed the office and he was laid off. He began consulting work with Flories and Rucks. After 4 years he left Flories and Rucks and began his own personal consulting business in 1996 in the oil center, and has been working for himself ever since.

             He discusses the changes he’s seen over time in the technology of the industry. He says he benefited from this major technological change as he had an up and coming degree for the industry, and the nature of the industry itself (described as “cyclical”). He tried to stay in Colorado, he said, but he met a “local girl” from around here and liked the people, the weather, and the food too much to leave. He speaks extensively about company movement and consolidation, and what Lafayette looked like before, during, and after the bust and what he saw as key indications. He mentions the effects he’s seen since the moratorium and Deepwater Horizon event. He talks about Lafayette today and how he thinks it’s a great place for raising a family, and where he hopes to spend the rest of his life.

Item 00852: 00852_Arnold, Sam_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash and Clenistine Fortune

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Clenistine and I had been speaking for a few weeks about conducting an oral history interview with a friend of hers who lived in the area. We finally arranged to meet with Mr. Arnold at his home in Gulfport. When we arrived at the house, Mr. Arnold was not present, and it turned out that he was over at his mother’s house, located nearby. We met and spoke with Mr. Arnold in the living room of his mother’s house.

              Mr. Arnold was born in 1943 in Gulfport. He spoke at length about the African American community in the area when he was growing up. He described both the types of work which African Americans had commonly entered into in the past as well as the types of segregation which had existed along the coast. Mr. Arnold had left the Gulf Coast in the early 1960s. After serving in the military during the Vietnam War, he attended college in California and had subsequently worked as an accountant in California before moving back to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the 1980s. Since then, Mr. Arnold had been heavily involved in various forms of non-profit and community development work. He discussed how the area had changed over the years and what he believed it would take for this part of Mississippi to recover from Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf oil spill, and other events by which it had been impacted in recent years.

Item 00853: 00853_Aucoin, E.J._MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Aucoin was referred by Ronnie Rhodes, his co-worker from Unocal. We met at his house south of Houma on Bayou DuLarge. Mr. Aucoin farms vegetables, and has an orange and peach orchard on his sizable property. He was very generous, offering me fish and food from his land to take with me. He spoke at length about the problem of insurance for landowners in south Louisiana; in the last ten years his home has become increasingly difficult to insure. Mr. Aucoin offered insightful commentary on changes in labor regulations and relations in the oilfield through his careers.

                Mr. Aucoin was born in Amelia, St. Mary Parish, in 1935, on a houseboat. His daddy was a fisherman and trapper as well as a tugboat skipper. Mr. Aucoin helped his father on his boat, and built cypress boxes to ship catfish when younger. In 1953, he hired on as deck crew on a tender for Kerr McGee. In ’56 he was drafted into the Army, and served for two years. After returning to south Louisiana, he started as roustabout for Unocal in 1959. He moved up the ranks, to operator, then production foreman, mostly working on inland lake wells, both oil and gas. In 1967, he became offshore superintendent, based out of Unocal’s Dulac office- in charge of production and transportation. He moved his family to live in Houma this same year. His last three years with Unocal were spent in industrial relations, working with personnel on insurance and benefits. He retired in 1992 and began farming.

Item 00854: 00854_Bacque, William (Bill)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Bill Bacque by Kim and William Goodell. The Goodell’s referred me to him as an authority on real estate in the Lafayette and surrounding parishes during the 1980s.  I called him and explained the project and we set up an interview at his office.

Bill Bacque is currently the CEO for Van Eaton & Romero real estate, a position he has held since 1987. He graduated from high school and went on to college in finance at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (then at the time University of Southwestern Lousiana). He graduated from ULL in 1974, and a year before that in 1973 he married his high school sweetheart. He moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1973 (or 1974) and pursued a job in real estate, receiving his real estate license. In 1981, at the encouragement of family and friends in Lafayette, he moved back with his wife and their two sons. He got a job in real estate handling repossessed properties for the Veteran’s administration, which he worked in until 1987 when he became the CEO of his current company. Today, he gives lectures on real estate to groups in the region (e.g. the Kiwanis club) and manages his company.

In our interview, he brought a presentation of prepared slides with graphs showing changes in real estate from 1981 to 2010. A large portion of the interview, he describes each page of the presentation and what those numbers mean for Lafayette. He discusses changes in value for homes and their direct correlation to jobs in the area (including oil), the reason for spikes and crashes in real estate in the town, and who left and who stayed during the bust. During the last part of our interview, after the recorder was turned off, he goes on to discuss more on the culture of Lafayette and the nature of having the oil industry here. The notes from that conversation are below.

Item 00855: 00855_Neil, Edward (Peanut)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Neil was referred by David Smith. Mr. Neil spent much of his career with Texaco, and provided valuable information on Nichols State’s 7 and 7 petroleum engineering program, which he completed while working. He agreed to meet me at his office in the Tetra Applied Technologies main building south of Houma.

             Mr. Neil was born in Chauvin in 1947. His father worked for Texaco. In 1968, he started working for the company as well, in the kitchen. Over the next several years he was a roustabout and a driller, but realized he would not progress in the company as he wanted to without education. With an advance from Texaco, he started the Nichols 7 and 7 petroleum-engineering program, eventually graduating with a focus on mud engineering. In this capacity he worked for the next 15 years, all throughout the Gulf Coast, California and Virginia. He retired from Texaco in 2001, having spent his final eight years in the office. Not ready to be retired, he took a position with Tetra Applied Technologies, a salvage and recovery company based in Houma. Mr. Neil is in charge of the division that plugs old wells and cleans them up for abandonment.

Item 00856: 00856_Wooten, William (Bill)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Diane Austin

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Diane met Bill's sister, Rebecca McElhenney, at the Bays and Bayous Symposium in October 2008. The two were talking about offshore work when Rebecca mentioned that her brother worked offshore and lived in Meridian. This led to a discussion about the potential for Meridian as a study site and Rebecca's assurance that Bill would be interested in participating. Diane called Bill in November, agreed to follow up in January, and set up the meeting for January 18.

                  Bill’s family is from Mississippi but moved to Miami, Florida when he was in school. After high school he went to work for his father’s construction business and remained there until his father moved back to Mississippi and began raising cattle. Bill started his own business doing industrial sandblasting and commercial coatings and worked at it for several years until he decided to move back home to Mississippi as well. He worked on his dad’s farm and started a ready mix business, but when the business turned sour after several years, his cousin, who worked offshore, suggested he apply for a job as a mechanic. He started as an assistant mechanic on the Shell Auger platform and then moved into a position as a mechanic for Tideco. He remained with the company when it was bought by Hercules and has spent most of his career working on Rig 64.

                    When Preetam Prakash arrived in the area during the summer of 2010, he contacted Mr. and Mrs. Wooten and met with them at their home on several occasions. Their January 7, 2011 interview was also recorded. In that interview (PP678), Mr. Wooten discussed how much more difficult it had become in recent years for people in the area to find and maintain positions in the offshore oil industry. He mentioned that it had often become necessary for experienced workers to take substantial pay cuts and work in entry level positions, something which had affected him personally. He emphasized the high wages and good benefits which kept him working offshore, but expressed uncertainty about where the industry would head in the future. The January 7 interview was not transcribed but is included as an audio file in the project archives.

Item 00858: 00858_Teu, Billy Joe_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Robert Boles, whom Preetam interviewed shortly after arriving in the Meridian area, had originally tried to put him in contact with Billy Joe Teu. Billy Joe was a friend of Robert’s who had grown up in the same rural area in Clarke County. Preetam spoke with Billy Joe shortly after he interviewed Robert and they arranged to meet the following week. Billy Joe had been unable to attend college after graduating from high school due to financial constraints and had originally hitchhiked to New Orleans to get a job in the oil fields. He repeatedly described the oil field of the 1960s and 70s as a “man’s world” and emphasized the opportunities that existed in the oil industry of that time if one was capable and hard working. He was at times, sharply critical of the excessive safety and environmental regulations which he believed had come to characterize the industry in recent years and which had drastically altered the nature of work. The increasing reliance on professional engineers and automated and computerized equipment in the offshore oil industry since the 1980s was another issue which drew his criticism for having contributed to a de-skilling of the workforce and also for resulting in young people with very little experience actually working in the oil fields assuming positions of authority over long time industry workers. Billy Joe had worked his way up from roustabout to driller, working for Shell Oil Company for much of his career. He had retired from Shell in the early 1990s, but had then gone to work for a consulting company. At the time of the interview, he had stopped working in the oil industry just a few months prior due to health issues.

Item 00860: 00860_Battle, Julia_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Julia Battle by Dennis Sullivan. Julia Battle knows Dennis Sullivan through his children who she taught in elementary school in the 1990s. I called Julia, and we set up an interview at the local Barnes and Noble in town. When I met her she was finishing up some coffee with friends, and we found a relatively quiet place to sit down and talk.

                      Julia Battle was born in 1954 and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She graduated high school in 1971.She attended LSU as a student in education before switching her major to petroleum engineering. Her father was the head of the petroleum-engineering department at LSU, and her older brother majored in petroleum-engineering as well. One of 9 and the only woman in her graduating class, she completed her petroleum-engineering degree in 1975. She got a job with Union Oil & Gas, initially working offshore and then coming onshore. She met her husband at Union (also an employee there) and they got married. She and her husband decided to open an independent consulting business in 1981 in Lafayette, right before the bust of the mid 1980s. They had a son, whom she home schooled. A large part of his schooling came from learning about the family business. Her husband passed away in 2005. In 2006, she went back to school at ULL to pursue her Master’s in geology, which she received in 2008. She got a job with Coastal Environments Inc. doing geology work and monitoring the coastline since the BP oil spill in April of 2010. She now lives on a 10-acre farm in Sunset, LA (where they moved to in 2000), with several horses, dogs, and two donkeys.

                    The first female petroleum-engineer hired by Union, she recounts her stories of life offshore, the differences between the offshore and office work environments, and the lawsuit the Petroleum Club in Lafayette faced and why she chose not to participate in it. She talks about the 1970s and 1980s in Lafayette, including who stayed in town, who left, what the business environment in the industry was like during these times, and educational courses and training provided by Union and other companies to advance their employees. She touches upon some of the ups and downs the industry has faced since, discusses her current work and why she would like to get back into the oil and gas industry, and her perspectives on the industry as a whole (including why she thinks it is a very misunderstood industry).

Item 00861: 00861_West, Benny_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Geoffrey Clark, a Waynesboro resident knowledgeable about local workforce development and economic affairs whom Preetam had spoken with had recommended Benny West as someone who might be willing to participate in the study. Preetam had contacted Benny soon after and they had arranged to meet at Benny’s house in a development on the outskirts of Waynesboro. Benny had begun working offshore in the mid 1970s and had remained in the industry until the mid 1980s. Benny had gone to work for an oilfield supply company based in Wayne County that dealt with onshore rigs after he graduated from high school. After working in the supply business for a few years, Benny had then gone to work offshore. He had worked in both derricks and drilling during his time in the industry and had finally left the oilfields because he had an opportunity to go to work as a plant manager for a local business when the offshore oil industry slowed down in the mid-1980s. He said that he sometimes wondered if he had made the right decision in leaving the industry when he did, and described the difficulty of getting used to the pay scales of locally available work after working offshore.

Item 00862: 00862_Begneaud, Donald (Don)_MMS/BOEM

Interview by: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Mr. Don Begneaud by Aaron Broussard, one of Don’s employees at Begneaud’s manufacturing. He is the founder and owner of Begneaud’s, a local company that does high precision metal work repairs and artistic creations.

                        Don Begneaud was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana. He graduated from a catholic high school. In his sophomore year of high school, he began welding for ARC welding company. He currently lives in Vermillion parish. Before beginning his company, he worked offshore as a welder for a company called Skids. His parents were adamant he attend university, so he went back to ULL as an industrial tech major. He did not complete his degree, and left college to work for himself. Don founded his company in 1978, and has continued strongly since. He speaks about the new technologies he’s brought in (mainly lasers) and how they’ve expanded the business.

                       Mr. Begneaud talks about his positive perspective on life; something he attributes to the way of life around here. He discusses his company and other companies, how they got through the bust, and what Lafayette looks like today. He also mentions the generation gap he sees today, how he is addressing it through the “TICE” high school program and his role in the Lafayette community as an employer and through outreach work he and his wife do.

Item 00863: 00863_Begneaud, Becca_MMS/BOEM
Item 00866: 00866_Bergeron, David_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Bergeron read the description of the study in the Courier article, and called to say that he wished to participate.  We met at the main Terrebonne Parish library for this interview. He regularly commutes to New Orleans for work every day, but had this Monday off so was able to speak with me. Mr. Bergeron has always maintained a separation between his work and family lives, travelling regularly and not sustaining many friendships from work. As a result his social network is made up entirely of family, with almost no work ties. He is proud of his work, however, and his knowledge of the industry and articulation make this an informative interview.

                         David was born in Houma in 1956, near Southdown sugar plantation where his father worked in the mill.  He graduated from Terrebonne High in 1974, and started as a roughneck for Wheless Drilling Co., based in Shreveport, a job he attained with the help of his future father-in-law. He made driller after three years of work, and toolpusher the following year. He enrolled in a seven and seven program in petroleum technology at Nichols State, finishing in 1980; adding a petroleum safety degree in 1982. In 1980 he took a job with Placid Oil, entering a drilling foreman training program later that year. After becoming a drilling foreman the following year, he worked on rigs throughout the Gulf until the company went bankrupt in 1994. He took a job with Eagle Consulting, but did not like the hours and began with Shell in 1996 as drilling supervisor, moving off rigs to the office, a position he currently holds

Item 00864: 00864_Ransonet, Abigail_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Abigail Ransonet at her home in Lafayette. Running into her since then at the post office, I gave her a call and we set up an interview at her company office, Abacus Data Exchange.

                      Abigail Ransonet was born and grew up in Loreauville, LA. She describes her community there as an agricultural (sugar cane) and boat building community. Her father started out in the oil industry and ended up with a job at Dow Chemical. All three of her brothers worked for Texaco. Her mother worked making dirty rice and other local dishes for offshore catering companies, which she helped with from 1976-1983. She did extensive marketing for the tourism industry in the area, including in preparation for the world fair at New Orleans in 1986. In 1975, she began serving on the New Iberia chamber of commerce. She raised two daughters and a son, two of whom still live in Lafayette. Abacus Data Exchange also services oil companies in the Oil Center and in Lafayette.

                       She starts off discussing the repurposing of the Oil Center and the building where her office is currently located. She discusses extensively the tenacity, dedication, and creativity that she finds the local Cajun and Acadian culture has lent itself to the success of (and indeed the shaping of) the oil industry in Lafayette and the greater Southern Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. She talks about the diversification of Lafayette, and the development of the city since that time. She also discusses the difficulties they faced with the 1980s booms and busts (including who stayed and who left) and the prosperity of the 1970s, and where the community is headed for the future. She also mentions Katrina and its effect on the Lafayette community as well as their unique response to the disaster, another thing she attributes to the culture here. She ended by showing me a few historical photos of her family as moss pickers and sugar cane farmers.

Item 00865: 00865_Berden, David_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

David Berden had contacted Preetam following the appearance of an article in the Meridian Star regarding the project. David and Preetam met a few days later at a local diner for an interview. David had somewhat of an unusual work history in that he had worked as a credit manager for nearly 13 years prior to going to work offshore as a sample catcher. He had worked as a mud logger during the majority of his time offshore and had eventually been laid off during the downturn of the late 1980s. Afterwards he went to work with an insurance company. When the oil industry picked again, David had been asked to come back and work offshore but had refused to head back out. He had enjoyed his time working offshore, especially the people that he had come into contact with, but said that he had been close to “burning out” at the time of the downturn and did not have desire to work in the industry again. Nevertheless, he considered working offshore to have been a very valuable learning experience in multiple ways.

Item 00867: 00867_Robinson, Delmar_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash and Kelly McLain

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Clenistine had suggested that we try to speak with Mr. Robinson about the history of the African American community in the local area. I contacted Mr. Robinson soon after Kelly had arrived in town. He was open to the idea of doing an oral history interview and we arranged to meet at his place in East Biloxi later on that day. We conducted the interview in Mr. Robinson’s living room.

                    Mr. Robinson had been born in 1937 in Biloxi, MS. He spoke in detail about the lengthy history that his family had in the area. A number of Mr. Robinson’s family members, including his grandfather, had been involved in the seafood industry at one time, but by the time he was born, African American involvement in the industry had declined considerably. Mr. Robinson’s father worked for the postal service after returning home from serving in WWII. Mr. Robinson described having felt it necessary to leave the area after graduating from high school due to the system of racial segregation which was in place along the Gulf Coast. He joined the US Army and travelled widely across the country. He attended college in San Francisco, but was eventually drawn back south by the onset of the Civil Rights Movement. Mr. Robinson lived in Kentucky and North Carolina for many years working for the National Park Service. He and his wife finally returned to Biloxi in the mid 1990s. Mr. Robinson has held several consulting positions since then which have focused on community development.

Item 00868: 00868_Sullivan, Dennis_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Dennis Sullivan at a radio station fundraiser event in the fall of 2010. He put me in touch with several other contacts. At one point we were able to sit down for an interview together at his house in Lafayette.

              Dennis Sullivan describes himself as an army brat that moved around all the time growing up. Born in 1951 in Germany, he is originally from Miami, Florida (this is, because, he says he lived there the longest) though he says Lafayette is truly his home. He graduated from high school in 1969. He then went on the University of Florida, obtaining his degree in English in 1973. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do next and took some time to travel around the U.S. He lived in Denver for about a year working for a newspaper. He then moved back to Florida to do research in microscopic soil born worms and their affect on crops. He worked there as a lab tech for two years. A friend in Lafayette told him how great it was, and he decided to move to Lafayette to give it a try. He read a TIME magazine article on offshore work and the benefits of the 7/7 schedule and decided to look for employment in the industry. He became interested in mud logging, and was hired by Baroid mud logging company in 1977. At one point, his wife requested that he come back onshore after their three children were born. He got an office job in 1990 or 1991, and still works for Sperry Son (now a part of Halliburton) to this day.

                He describes his first day offshore and process of training and getting into the job offshore. He discusses the impacts on his family and his lifestyle from working offshore. He talks about the social and economic impacts from the 1970s and 1980s in Lafayette as a community and how things look today.

Item 00869: 00869_Blanchard, Melvin_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Melvin was first interviewed in 2001 for the History II study, as EB046.  We met at his home on the north side of Houma – his wife sat in on the interview, and made several comments.  They were happy to receive a cd containing materials from the previous project.  Mr. Blanchard retired from Marathon in 1986, and has chosen to distance himself from the oil industry – saying he cares not to follow very closely what happens offshore now.  He is pleased that Houma has a diversified economy (health industry) and should be better prepared for swings in oil prices.

                Melvin was born in 1930, in Harvey LA.  His family moved to Houma when he was 1 year old – his father and uncle purchased farmland in the area.  Choosing the oil patch over farming, Melvin started as a roustabout in the Beaumont area, steadily advancing through his career to roughneck, driller, pusher and finally drilling foreman in 1979 – working mainly for Marathon on rigs between Cameron and Venice.  He was let go by Marathon during the mid-80’s downturn.

Item 00870: 00870_Thompson, Diana and Rodney_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Diana and Rodney Thompson had been recommended to me as two people in the area who had experience in both the seafood industry and the offshore oil business. I contacted Mrs. Thompson over the phone and after a few calls we set up a good time for the interview. Our interview took place in the living room of Mr. and Mrs. Thompson’s home in Coden, AL.

                Both Mr. and Mrs. Thompson were born and raised in the area around Bayou La Batre, AL. Both grew up in families which were involved in the seafood industry and gained experience working in this industry at an early age. They mentioned how various factors had contributed to the decline of this industry over the years and as well as to them shifting to working in offshore oil industry. These factors included the influx of imported shrimp, the entrance of non-locals into the commercial seafood industry, and pressure from environmental groups and recreational fishermen which resulted in increased regulations. Rodney had begun working on supply boats in the 1970s to supplement his income and to provide his family with the health benefits and stable paychecks which offshore oil work offered. Rodney described working in the offshore oil industry throughout the 1980s and said that he had never been affected by the general downturn which affected the industry as a whole during this time. Diana had begun working with Rodney co-captaining supply boats in the 2000s. They both agreed that there had been more husband-wife teams working in the industry some years ago, but that they were among the very few at this point. Following the 2010 oil spill, Rodney and Diana had worked on the VOO program, but they reported that offshore oil work had slowed down drastically in the aftermath of the spill. They were both currently employed by the same company for which they had been working for several years but expressed doubts about how long the company could continue to pay them and other employees without new work coming in.

Item 00871: 00871_Talbot, Merlin_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Merlin was first contacted during the History II study, after a Halliburton retirees’ breakfast, but was never interviewed.  We met at his home just north of Houma, on land which his father once used to farm cane and dairy.  He worked for Halliburton for 31 years; retiring in 1997 because he no longer wanted to deal with the terrible seasickness he experienced traveling offshore.  He continues to meet regularly with other Halliburton retirees for coffee at a local donut shop every other Tuesday.

Mr. Talbot was born in 1941 in Houma.  His father was from Napoleonville, and had received a land grant in Houma after the Depression to farm cane on.  In 1966, pressured by his mother to get a “real job”, Merlin started with Halliburton as a bulk hand.  He climbed steadily up the ranks, until moving from supervisor of a marine unit to the Halliburton Clean Gulf environmental department.  When this division was sold to the Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) in 1997, he retired.  His son Ricky presently works for Halliburton offshore.

Item 00872: 00872_Regan, Bobby_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Bobby Regan had been referred to Preetam by Johnny McKinsey, another Sandy Hook resident with a long history of working in the oil industry. When Preetam had interviewed Johnny a few weeks earlier, Johnny had mentioned that Bobby Regan might be another person in the Sandy Hook area who might willing to participate in the study. Preetam contacted Bobby the following week and they had arranged to meet a few days later at Bobby’s home in Sandy Hook. Bobby had started out working in the oil industry in the 1960s. He had spent a considerable amount of time working onshore, before making the transition to working on offshore rigs. During the interview he spoke about some of the differences between offshore and onshore work. He also discussed the importance of both onshore and offshore work for residents of Sandy Hook as well as other nearby communities. Bobby had stopped working offshore in the 1990s. He had taken a few years off and had been heavily involved in the construction of a church in the nearby area. He had then gone back to work for an offshore contract company as a dispatcher before getting out of the industry for good in the late 1990s due to health problems.

Item 00873: 00873_Sanzin, Michael_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had originally run into Mr. Sanzin while conducting another oral history interview in the area. I had spoken briefly with Mr. Sanzin at the time and he had said that he might be willing to do an oral history interview at some point. I had spoken with Mr. Sanzin a few times over the following weeks and we finally agreed to meet at his house in Gulfport to do the interview.

Mr. Sanzin was born in Gulfport in 1954. His father had come to the area from Yugoslavia after the Second World War. Mr. Sanzin described being raised in a shrimping and fishing community where even young children were expected to work and contribute to the household. He himself got started shrimping at a very early age and had gone to work full time on his father’s shrimp boat after leaving school. Mr. Sanzin recalled that the offshore oil industry had drawn some workers from the area during the 1970s but said that he himself had not had anything to do with this type of work during this decade. He remembered the 1980s as being the time when local people could make considerable money in the shrimping industry. Mr. Sanzin continued working as a shrimper until 2000, when he made the decision to go to work for the offshore oil industry as a boat captain. He described the difficulty that he had moving up in the industry as a person from outside of South LA, but expressed that he had always gotten along very well with the older generation of workers from that area. Mr. Sanzin had been taking some time off from work since the past year, and said that it had been a very good experience for him because he had finally had a chance to spend some time with his family. He was unsure exactly what type of work he would end up doing in the future, but expressed a desire to find something with a high degree of stability.

Item 00874: 00874_Boles, Robert (Donnie)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Afiliation: University of Arizona

Robert Boles was a resident of Stonewall, MS who had contacted Preetam shortly after the Meridian Star featured an article about the study. Robert was born in Stonewall, MS, about 15 miles south of Meridian. Stonewall and the nearby community of Enterprise were historically highly dependent on the nearby denim plant for local employment. Robert worked in the denim plant himself before another local, already employed offshore, was able to get him a roustabout job in the mid 1970s. Robert had continued to work offshore until 2008 when his health forced him to retire permanently. He spoke a great deal during the interview about the considerable changes that he had witnessed during his time working in the industry, especially the transformations in the work cultures of major oil companies during the 1980s and onwards.

Item 00875: 00875_Sevel, Michael_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Sevel had been referred to me by a couple who were involved in the seafood industry in Bayou La Batre, and with whom I had conducted an oral history interview a few months prior. They had described Mr. Sevel as someone who had a long history in the shrimping industry and who could give me some insight into this industry’s development along the MS Gulf Coast. I contacted Mr. Sevel in December 2010 but was unable to meet with him before I left the area for the holidays. When I returned I got in touch with him again and we arranged to meet on his boat in the Pass Christian harbor.

Mr. Sevel had been born in Laurel, MS in 1953. His father, who hailed from a shrimping family on the coast, remained in Laurel for a few years after Mr. Sevel was born, but had soon moved back to coast. Mr. Sevel had lived in Gulfport on the MS Gulf Coast since he was 2 years old and said that he had gotten his start in the seafood business when he was 5. He had done a little bit of oystering when he was younger but had mostly focused on shrimping throughout his career. After operating his own shrimping boat for a number of years, Mr. Sevel started up his own wholesale seafood business in 1993 and had a fleet of 5 boats working under him. His plant was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Since then, Mr. Sevel and his wife have worked on a single boat. Mr. Sevel discussed what he believed to have been some of the impacts of increased regulations, in-migration to the area, and other factors which had affected the local seafood industry over the years. He also spoke about the impacts of the 2010 Gulf oil spill and the potential effects that it might have on the future of the industry.

Item 00876: 00876_00876_Bosarge, Stephanie and Louis (Bubba)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had met Mrs. Bosarge at a meeting of the South Bay Community Alliance, a non-profit based in Coden, which had formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I had told her about the project that I was working on in the area and that I was hoping to conduct some oral history interviews with local people who had some knowledge of and experience in the seafood industry. She had told me that her family had been in the seafood business for many years and that she had grown up working in their oyster plant, and that she might be willing to do an oral history interview.

I contacted Mrs. Bosarge when I arrived back in the area in January 2011. After speaking on the phone a few times, we agreed to meet at her home in Coden. Mrs. Bosarge’s husband, Bubba, was also present when I arrived, and also participated in the interview. Both of them had been born and raised in the area around Bayou La Batre in families with long histories in the local seafood industry. They spoke about the history of this industry in the area as well its relationship with other industries, such as shipbuilding and fabrication and the offshore oil industry. Both agreed that the 1970s represented one of the halcyon periods of the local seafood industry, and were uncertain whether such prosperity would ever return. They had operated their oyster shop until 2005, when Hurricane Katrina leveled both the shop and their home. Since then, Mrs. Bosarge has become increasingly involved with non-profit activities in the area and Mr. Bosarge has begun to work as a truck driver for one of the major seafood processors in town.

Item 00877: 00877_Briggs, Don_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Diane Austin, Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Briggs was referred to us by Harold Schoeffler; A Lafayette native, president of the local Sierra Club chapter and friend of Mr. Briggs. Don Briggs is currently the president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA). We met with Mr. Briggs at the Petroleum Club in Lafayette, Louisiana.

A native of Miami, Florida Mr. Briggs moved to Lafayette to attend the University of Southern Louisiana (now ULL), graduating in 1964. He stayed in the Lafayette region after he completed his degree. Throughout college he worked for Owen drilling exploration doing odd jobs. After graduation, he worked inventory for them. In 1968 he got a job salvaging and refurbishing equipment selling it back to those in the industry. From that job in 1968 he built a conglomerate of companies he then sold it to New Park Resources in 1979 or 1980. He became the president of New Park Resources, but in 1992 he became discouraged with the current political state surrounding the industry and left his company to form LOGA (Louisiana Oil and Gas Association) with 12 of his friends to address the issues surrounding the industry, environment, and governmental regulations in the state of Louisiana.

In the interview, Mr. Briggs discusses the economic downturn in the 1980s (both in relation to the experiences of those in Lafayette and surrounding communities), and how his business responded to those challenges. He talks about his involvement in enforcing environmental regulations (cleaning up wells, working with the DEQ, etc.), and his engagement in politics of the state including environmental lawsuits the industry has faced. He remarks on the environmental movement, and the history of oil and gas policy in the state. He goes on to explain the role Lafayette plays in the industry as the “hub in the oil and gas world,” but mentions the transition to centralizing operations in Houston. He also discusses the overall climate of the industry in regards to Cajun culture, fishermen, what makes Lafayette unique, and other important people in the community of Lafayette, and the history of Lafayette (mainly in relation to the development of the Oil Center.)

Item 00879: 00879_Shirley, Floyd Stephen_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Diane Austin

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Steve Shirley has been a supporter of the research on the impacts of the offshore petroleum industry on communities along the Gulf of Mexico since 1998 when researchers from the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at the University of Arizona began conducting fieldwork in Morgan City. In addition to helping us understand Morgan City and east St. Mary Parish, Steve and his wife Jean, welcomed several generations of BARA researchers into their home. Throughout the years, though we had talked informally on many occasions, we had never pinned Steve down to an interview. In the course of gathering oral histories for the study of the deepwater era, though, I was finally able to get him to agree to a recorded interview. The interview was conducted at his home; Laura Ek from BARA was present as well.

Steve Shirley was born in … He moved with his family to Morgan City in 1973 and got a job at his father’s newspaper business, the Daily Review. In his interview, Steve describes life in Morgan City during the 1970s, the boom years, and then the 1980s, when the area went into what he refers to as a depression. His father worked to keep the paper in circulation during those difficult years . Steve and his brother became owners of the Daily Review in December 2001 when their father passed away; he became the editor and publisher at that time. He and his brother sold the paper in December 2010, shortly after this interview.

Item 00880: 00880_Brown, John Jr._MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had conducted oral history interviews with Mr. Brown’s father and brother-in-law earlier on in the week. I returned to the Economic Development Agency in Waynesboro to speak with his mother and to pick up a consent form from the earlier interviews. I told her that I was interested in carrying out more interviews during my time in the area and asked her to please let me know if she thought of anyone else in the local area who would might be willing to do an interview. She mentioned that her son also worked offshore and that he was in the area at the moment and might be up for speaking with me. She called him and Mr. Brown agreed to meet with me in the Agency building.

Mr. Brown had been born in Laurel, MS but had grown up in Waynesboro. Since his father had worked in both the onshore and offshore oil industries, Mr. Brown had gotten an early introduction to work in the oil fields, and recalled going out with his father to land rigs when he was a child. He described the timber and oil industries as the two major options for people in the local area when he was growing up. Mr. Brown had started working offshore immediately after he got out of high school. After working offshore for a year and had gone to work onshore, but had soon gone to work again working offshore. Mr. Brown had also worked construction at different points in his career and expressed preferring this to offshore work, and said that he had stuck with the latter because it was better for his family. He also described what he saw as general changes in the attitudes of workers since he started working offshore, specifically with regards to moving between companies in search of better jobs. Mr. Brown said that while offshore jobs had been easy to come by when he started out, they had become increasingly scarce in recent years and people hung on to what they had. Mr. Brown had worked as a roughneck for the majority of his time in the oil industry and stated that he desired to remain in this position.

Item 00881: 00881_Schultz, Thomas_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I originally contacted Mr. Schultz after speaking with PP425 who told me that he would be an important person to speak with in the area about the history of the shipbuilding and fabrication industry. When I contacted Mr. Schultz he readily agreed to meet with me at his house to talk about the industry as well as the impacts of the oil spill on the local community.

Mr. Schultz grew in Biloxi and had entered the shrimping industry in the 1950s and worked as a commercial shrimper for more than 40 years. He described the heavy economic fluctuations which had historically characterized the industry in the area. He also spoke about some of the difficulties that had marked the relationships between local fishermen and shrimpers and the Vietnamese who had immigrated to the area beginning in the 1970s. Mr. Schultz had stopped commercial shrimping in the early 2000s and had worked for Mississippi State University in its Coastal Research and Extension Center. He is currently serving on the Mississippi Gulf of Mexico Commission, which is intended to play a crucial role in devising short and long-term strategies to help Mississippi recover from the oil spill.

Item 00882: 00882_Broussard, Matthew_MMS/BOEM
yet to recieve a transcript
Item 00883: 00883_Brown, John Sr. and Pitts, Chris_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had spoken with Mr. Brown’s wife, who worked at the Economic Development Agency in Waynesboro, when I was in the area during the summer 2010. When I returned to the area this time I stopped by the Agency to see how things had been in the area since I had left. After we had talked for a little while, Mrs. Brown mentioned that her husband and son-in-law both worked offshore and that she could call them and see if they might be willing to be interviewed. She contacted them, and both agreed to meet me at the Agency office for an interview.

Mr. Brown was born in Wayne County in 1950. He recalled that when he was growing up in the area many people in and around Waynesboro had worked on land rigs and that the decade of the 1950s was when the oil industry started to assume considerable local importance. He discussed how the entrance of many local people into both the onshore and offshore oil industries had been partially motivated by the lack of other work options in the region. Historically, work in the oil industry had been “the best job you could get”. Mr. Brown had begun to work onshore in the 1960s after he had served in the US Army, and had switched to working offshore in the 1970s. He described movement between the onshore and offshore oil industries as commonplace amongst people in the area during the 1970s. Following the downturn of the 1980s, Mr. Brown left the oil industry to run a parts shop in Wayne County. He went back to work offshore in 1990 and had worked for several different companies before leaving the industry in 2009. Since then, Mr. Brown has worked in construction.

Mr. Pitts joined myself and Mr. Brown after we had already been talking for some time. He had started working offshore in 1986, a period he called “the end of the old era” of offshore work. Mr. Pitts spoke about some of the changes which the industry had experienced since he had begun working. Such changes included increasing numbers of people from the area going overseas to work, as well as increased automation and the introduction of high technology in recent years. Mr. Pitts had worked both onshore and offshore in the course of his career and currently worked as a directional driller, which meant that he could end up either offshore or onshore. He professed being happy with his current position and described directional drilling as where he wanted to be.

Item 00884: 00884_Bundy, Billy Ray_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Billy Ray was first interviewed in 2001 for the History II study, as AA011. We met at his home in Houma, which he recently moved into from the much larger house he built and lived in for 35 years – saying he and his wife needed fewer stairs. After a long career working in the oil industry, he dabbled with real estate briefly before retiring and traveling widely in his RV. He continues to meet with his friends from Otis and Halliburton over coffee several times a month.

Mister Bundy was born March 28, 1930 in Bossier Parish. His father had transferred from east Texas as a driller for Texaco, moving the family in 1932 to Golden Meadow, and later to Houma in 1937. Billy Ray struggled as a young Texan in the predominately French speaking town of Golden Meadow; his family had to be careful “not to get run out” by the Cajuns. He started working for Halliburton in 1948, then roughnecked for Texaco for six years before setting into a service industry career mainly with Otis Engineering.

Item 00885: 00885_Burney, Luther_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Mr. Luther Burney the Wednesday previous on 11/3/2010 at First Baptist Church in Lafayette at the weekly church dinner. Lillian Miller referred me to speak with Mr. Burney, saying he was a good person to talk to because of his knowledge of Lafayette history, especially around the 1970s and 1980s.

Luther Burney is originally from Monroe, Louisiana. He moved to Lafayette in April of 1967 for the first time, where he became the minister of music at First Baptist church in Lafayette. He attended the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and then went on to a seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, graduating in 1961. From 1963-1966 he was working on his Masters’ at the seminary, but was called to active duty for the Berlin crisis. He would hitch hike back and forth so that he could still attend to his Masters’ work in Shreveport, Louisiana. Though officially retired as of 2005, he still acts as the assistant to the current pastor, Steve Horn. In the interview, he discusses Lafayette as a town, what changes he has seen within his church congregation and the Lafayette community. To a lesser degree, he describes some of the ins and outs of his job, which included getting sponsorship from oil companies to put on some of the larger church productions. As a previous music minister, he contributed a unique perspective on the roll of the church through the 1970s onwards.

Item 00886: 00886_Byrd, Gary and Norma Sue_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I arrive at the Byrds’ house at 10, it's elevated. I park in back and climb the stairs. We sit and chat about the house and their grandson who is home sick from school. We sit in one large room which is a combination kitchen and living room. Gary sits with me in the living room, while his wife, Norma Sue, wanders between the living room, kitchen and laundry room. She contributes to the interview when she is around.

Item 00888: 00888_Carlos, Aubrey_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Carlos was referred by Merl Talbot, who was his co-worker at Halliburton.  We met at his home in Gray, just north of Houma.  His wife was present, but made minimal comments.  Mr. Carlos has battled cancer twice in the past ten years, but his health has recently stabilized.  He is a regular attendee at the Halliburton retiree breakfast, and recommended speaking with Herb Barret, who was interviewed in the History II study.  The audio files are split – JC311.1 is the first half, JC311.2 the second.

Mr. Carlos was born in 1941 in Houma.  His father was a tugboat captain for Superior Oil for most of his career, and the majority of his family went into the oil industry.  Mr. Carlos served in the Air Force from 1960 to ’63.  Upon returning to south Louisiana, he started working for Halliburton as a bulk cement truck driver.  In 1971 he was promoted to cementer, which he did until 1978.  From ’78 – ’98, he ran service tools in wells.   During this period he also ran well tests and worked in the office.  He retired in 2000, after having spent his last two years working in the office.

Summary

Born in 1941; north of Houma.  His daddy was a boat captain for Superior Oil.  Airforce from ’60 – ’63.  Started with Halliburton in 1965 as truck driver.  Promoted to cementer, worked from ’71 – ’78; to running service tools and well tests, from ’78 – ’98.  Mostly worked land rigs in area around Houma.  Always on 24 hour call.  Worked 6 days per week.  Regularly slept in a truck – work conditions not very good.  Family had to deal with him leaving all hours of the night.  Yet said Halliburton great place to work; benefitted from profit sharing, and a guaranteed 60 hour week.

Noted that safety was the most significant change during his career.  Early on, people were hurt regularly, not a major concern for foremen – workers were disposable.  Now safety is the number one priority on every job.  Working conditions improved considerably; deepwater platforms rival hotels – good food, TV, comforts.   Technology changes also significant.  Requiring more training and certification.  Service companies once needed to gain certification for each company; by 90’s skills development and certification standardized.  Service companies such as Halliburton requires personnel to live within 1 hour of office; most employees local, unlike oil company hands.  Noted that deepwater saved the region’s economy in 80’s; exploration kept many people employed, though still terrible.

Item 00889: 00889_Chapman, James_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had contacted Mr. Chapman after speaking with some of the staff members at the Waynesboro library about the project. They had mentioned Mr. Chapman as someone who might be willing to be interviewed. When I spoke with Mr. Chapman on the phone he readily agreed to meet with me at his house in Strengthford, cautioning that it was out in the country and that I might have a difficult time finding it. It turned out that the house was in fact a good distance from Waynesboro and somewhat difficult to find.

Mr. Chapman was born in Louisiana. His father had worked on land rigs while Mr. Chapman was growing up and his family had moved frequently in response to his father’s job, ending up in the area around Waynesboro, MS when Mr. Chapman was in high school. Mr. Chapman expressed never having thought about the possibility of working in the oil industry when he was a kid. It was getting married and having a child which had prompted him to ask his father to find him a job working offshore. He mentioned several times during the interview that there was very little else in the way of industry that someone who wanted to remain in the area could turn to for well paying work. Since beginning to work offshore Mr. Chapman had not worked in any other field. Both of his brothers had also spent considerable time working offshore. Mr. Chapman had started out working as a roustabout in the late 1970s and described liking the work right away. He had remained with the same company throughout his time in the industry. He had risen to the position of OIM working in the Gulf before heading overseas to Qatar in the mid 2000s. He had been forced to quit working offshore in the late 2000s because of health problems and expressed his desire to work in the industry again.

Notes: After I stopped recording, Mr. Chapman gave me the names of several people with offshore experience whom I could try to contact. None of them lived in central MS. He also mentioned that his oldest son was currently working as a welder offshore. He said that this son had tried to work in the local area doing masonry work and “some other stuff” but that “you just can’t make it around here”. He said that in the area a family where someone was not working offshore, both the husband and the wife would have to work to make ends meet. He mentioned that since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resultant oil spill, government regulators were “really tightening their belts”. He attested that MMS had always done its job in the Gulf of Mexico and that his interactions with them had always been mostly positive.

Item 00890: 00890_Charles, Leroy_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Charles was referred by EJ Aucoin, who was a co-worker of his with Unocal. I had told Mr. Aucoin I was having trouble contacting African-Americans who had worked in the oilfield during the project period, and he immediately recommended Mr. Charles, saying that he had a remarkable career with Unocal and would be very knowledgeable.  Mr. Charles agreed to meet with me at his office south of Houma. He requested that the audio and transcript of his interview not be made public, though he was fine with the material being used in reports.

Mr. Charles was born in 1948 in Houma. His father was a laborer and construction worker. He noted that African-Americans were not hired in the oilfield during his daddy’s day. Mr. Charles was drafted into the Army in 1969, and was stationed at Fort Polk, LA, and Germany. Upon his return in 1971, he started with Unocal as a roustabout, when Texaco did not offer him a job. He began working maintenance, then became a utility man after one year. In 1975 he made operator 2. In 1982 he was promoted to Operator 1, in charge of Unocal’s projects in the lakes of Terrebonne Parish. In 1991, he was promoted to special project foreman, supervising construction projects in the region. One year later Unocal reorganized and created a pool of foremen, sending Mr. Charles widely through the Gulf, doing construction inshore and offshore. In 2002 he went to well control school, and started working on drilling rigs, but this lasted only one year. From 2003 to 2005 he continued working construction, based out of his house. In 2005 Chevron bought Unocal and he retired. He worked as a consultant from 2005 to 2007, when he was hired by Chet Morrison’s company, Rooster Petroleum, as a production foreman.

Item 00891: 00891_Clanton, Duane_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

During the latter part of fieldwork, Preetam met with Bobby Jones, the director of the Wayne County Vo-tech Center. Bobby himself had spent some time working offshore and mentioned Duane Clanton as one of the others in the area with experience in the oil industry whom Preetam should speak with, although the majority of the time that Duane had spent in the oil fields had been onshore. Duane invited Preetam to meet with him at his house immediately outside of Buckatunna, a small community close to Waynesboro, MS. The first meeting lasted only about an hour, as Duane had to help a family member with some work around the house. Preetam returned to Duane’s home the following week and this second interview went on for a considerably longer period of time. Duane had been born and raised in Waynesboro, and his father had worked in the oil fields. Although he had spent very little time offshore, Duane shed light on some of the connections in the area between onshore and offshore work. He related how seismic work in the onshore fields had been a major source of work for locals in the 1960s and had often led to jobs actually working on onshore and offshore rigs. He remembered the movement of large numbers of local workers into offshore oil jobs as coming later on in the 1970s, when offshore work became considerably more attractive in terms of benefits and pay. Duane and his wife had eventually moved to Shreveport, LA in the 1970s, where Duane eventually went into business for himself building oil rigs. He and his partner managed to sell their business in time to avoid the impacts of the 1980s downturn and Duane had remained in the industry until 1991. Since then he had made his money playing the stock market. He acknowledged that the oil industry had been good to him but also said that with all of the changes over the years, it was not work that he wanted to go back into.

Item 00893: 00893_Cloutier, Rusty_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Mr.  Rusty Cloutier by Bill Bacque, whom I had an interview with the day before. President of MidSouth Bank (a local bank in Lafayette) he thought he would have something more to say on the economic history of the town. I called Mr. Cloutier, and he invited me to a presentation he was giving at the Petroleum Club. I attended the presentation, and later that day we had an interview.

Rusty Cloutier was born and grew up in Morgan City, Louisiana. He graduated high school and then went on to attend and graduate from the ULL. While in college (from 1966-1968) he worked for Gulf Oil as a dispatcher. He started MidSouth Bank in Lafayette with some friends in 1984 (officially opening in 1985) and became president, a position he still holds today. He recently wrote a book in May of 2009 titled “Big Bad Banks.”

In the interview, he discusses the economics of the 1970s and 1980s, the oil business and its relationship to the Lafayette community and in particular the hardships banks and their clientele faced in the 1980s downturn, and innovations and “Cajun ingenuity” to come out of Lafayette related to the industry. He shares his personal story of how he got into the banking business, how he got through the difficult times with a new bank in town, and the history of having a father who worked offshore for many years. He also shares his thoughts on the moratorium, the oil spill, and how he sees it affecting the Gulf Coast drilling industry.

Item 00894: 00894_Conner, Joel_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Conner was referred by Ronnie Rhodes; the two worked on many service jobs together. Ronnie said that Joel would be a good engineer to talk to. We met at Starbuck’s – there are two audio files for this interview, because we moved out on the patio to escape the noise of the shop, and the second file begins outside. Joel continues to work for Baker-Hughes, mostly in training, and has a large network of friends and colleagues in Houma through the oil industry. He was a willing participant in the project and provided valuable information.

Mr. Conner was born in 1946 in Abbeville, LA. His father was a career military officer, and Joel served in the Vietnam War. He attended Texas A&M, acquiring a degree in electrical engineering.  In 1969 he took a job with Dresser Atlas, doing electrical measuring and petro-physics.  In 1971 he moved to Lafayette as the offshore fields began to pick up.  Baker-Hughes bought out Dresser Atlas and he stayed on. In 1975, he attended a four month school in Houston to learn new technologies for measuring fields and production. In 1977 he worked testing new instruments and reporting equipment. By the late ‘80s and ‘90s, Joel began working as a trainer for Baker-Hughes all over the world. He was instrumental in building the company’s employee development program, and making it an important priority. He designed the company’s mentoring program in 2005.

Item 00895: 00895_Corbin, Robert_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mike Sanzin, a man I had interviewed in Gulfport, had originally recommended that I try to get a hold of Mr. Corbin for an oral history interview. I called Mr. Corbin and we arranged to meet, but the interview had to be put for various reasons over the next few weeks. We eventually met at Mr. Corbin’s house in Long Beach for the interview. Mr. Corbin’s numerous dogs circled around us for much of the interview. Mr. Corbin was born in 1938 in Steinhatchee, FL. His father was a commercial fisherman and Mr. Corbin started fishing himself at an early age. He eventually came to work for a commercial fisherman in the Florida Keys who also sold dolphins. Mr. Corbin started to work training dolphins and did this for a number of years before beginning to work as a shrimper around Long Beach. The high price of fuel, combined with increasing numbers of imported shrimp forced Mr. Corbin to leave shrimping in the early 2000s and start working in the offshore oil industry as a crew boat captain. Mr. Corbin had been forced to stop working in the industry recently due to health issues. He expressed his desire to go back out offshore but said that his health and age would make it difficult to do so.

Item 01033: 01033_Waldorf, Kenneth_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer : Tyler Priest

Affiliation : University of Houston

Kenneth Waldorf was raised in southern California, and attended both Berkeley and the U.S. Naval Academy.  After graduating, Waldorf went directly to work for Exxon in its marine engineering section, and later with Humble Oil.  Waldorf soon moved over to work at the Zapata Corporation, and was elevated to vice president of engineering.  Still in his early thirties, Waldorf took on heading up all marine service for Zapata.  Zapata sold its marine services group to Tidewater Marine Services in 1992, at a peak of 526 vessels.  With that success in hand, Waldorf retired.

Box 16
Item 00896: 00896_Crawford, Carl_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Carl Crawford was recommended to our study team by office personnel at Signal International. When contacted, he agreed to an interview. The interview took place at the Shell Landing Country Club.

Mr. Crawford was born in 1943 in Greenville, Mississippi. He worked for several equipment companies, including Caterpillar, in Mississippi and Louisiana before meeting J. L. Holloway, who shortly thereafter helped form Ham Marine. From 1981 to 1998, he was vice-president of marketing for Ham Marine, which was later rechristened Friede Goldman International (and at the time of the interview was Signal International). He discusses the history and growth of the company, their first contracts with ODECO, the importance of their contracts with Noble Drilling in helping the company go public, and their failed attempt to get into new builds. Important in growing the business were establishing a stable labor force and gaining the trust of customers. However, in the company’s formative years, they benefited from the historical presence of Ingalls Shipyard and the availability of a skilled workforce that could be hired and laid off in accordance with industry cycles. He also mentions the difficulties in bidding for drilling rig jobs, supply issues related to planning, the current problems recruiting skilled workers and the recent moves to subcontracting more of their labor force, the changes in the involvement of clients in their work and the necessity that fabricators become more sophisticated, and the consolidation of the drilling industry.

Item 00898: 00898_Williams, Dale_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I stopped in at Willams Fabricators to find out more about the company and was able to arrange an interview with Dale Williams. We met in his office.

Mr. Williams was born and raised in Fowl River, Alabama. His parents were commercial fishermen and when the seafood industry was slack, his father took various jobs in the shipyards. He discusses growing up around wooden boat builders and his entry into the industry at the age of 18 in 1969 with a shipfitting apprenticeship with Ingalls Shipyard. During his seven years with Ingalls, he learned many different skills and, importantly, had the opportunity to learn about mold lofts and become interested in design. He was laid off in 1976 and for the next 15 years worked a variety of jobs and even opened several businesses, before going back to work for Ingalls in the early 1990s in their engineering department. He quit that job and a few years later in 1998 reopened Williams Fabricators in which he built new boats (mostly fishing vessels) and developed a new framing system. At the time of the interview, they were getting into conversion work and he discusses repair work in general and plans to slowly grow and diversify. In terms of industry cycles, he says they are very difficult to predict and during down cycles (such as the one they were in at the time of the interview) you just have to live with the given situation, hope the quality of your work gets you through, and maybe diversify a bit. As a small yard, when they are busy they subcontract out a lot of the different skilled crafts, though when business is slower they do more in-house. Towards the end of the interview, he describes optical lofting and the use of computers in design work, and goes through the process from order, design, build, and testing. The gratifying part of the job is seeing the boats that they are able to make operational. The hard part is dealing with rising prices of materials.

Item 00899: 00899_Smith, David (Smitty)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Smith was first contacted during the History II study, referred by DJ Chauvin, but refused to be interviewed at that time. While he was suspicious and unwelcoming at first, through persistence he agreed to speak with me. We met at his home in north Houma. His wife continued to be very skeptical of the project, and read the consent forms several times before finally allowing Mr. Smith to participate. As the interview progressed, he became more comfortable and shared a wealth of information, demonstrating an uncanny memory of places, dates and names. He was an astute observer of evolving trends in equipment and technology in the oilfield, and named many people responsible for these innovations. Mr. Smith should be interviewed again.

Smitty was born in 1936 in Brookhaven, MS; his father was a roughneck for Marshall R. Young Co., Delta Drilling and Southeastern Oil. He came to Larose in 1954, to work for Southern Production, now called the Offshore Drilling Company. He started as a roughneck on inland barges, spinning chain on the floor- because his father was known as best chain spinner ever born. He moved to Houma in 1962. He was promoted to driller at 26 years old, and 6 years later became a tool pusher. He also worked on steam rigs for Standard Oil, until this was phased out in 1967. Mr. Smith then worked for Bay Drilling Company (owned by Texaco) as an assistant drilling superintendent, in an office on Bayou Blue in Houma. In 1987, after the downturn, he was moved back to the rigs as a toolpusher. Three years later, Bay Drilling was bought out and Smitty became the drilling foreman, aka “company man” for Texaco, and retired in 1999. He has been offered consulting jobs but has refused them.

Item 00900: 00900_Webb, Cathy_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Preetam had initially contacted Cathy Webb after speaking with Richie McCallister, the dean of occupation education at Meridian Community College. Richie had told Preetam that Cathy had a husband who worked offshore and who might be willing to speak with me. Preetam met briefly with Cathy who taught in the English Department at the college. She called Preetam back a few days after their first meeting, saying that she would like to sit down for an interview and that she could provide the perspective of an “oil field wife” even if her husband was not willing to participate. The interview took place at Cathy’s office at the community college. Cathy had grown up in the Mississippi Delta and had moved to Meridian area after meeting her husband. She talked about some of the challenges she had had to go through having been raised in a wealthy, upper class Delta family and having had to learn to fend for herself in various ways when her husband was working offshore. Overall, she held a positive view of offshore work and the financial stability it had provided her family.

Item 00901: 00901_Crowell, James III_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash and Kelly McLain

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. James Crowell, III was referred to us by our community partner. We first met him at an event held by a local community organization, at which he was honored for his commitment and contributions to the community. After following up with him, we arranged an appointment to meet at the Biloxi NAACP Branch office. After retiring from his civil service career at Keesler Air Force Base, Mr. Crowell was able to dedicate more of his time to the NAACCP. He succeeded Dr. Gilbert Mason, Sr. as the President of the Biloxi NAACP Branch President. He is also the Treasurer of the NAACP State Conference and a member of the Board of Directors for the NAACP National conference. He was responsible for coordinating emergency supplies delivery to Biloxi after Hurricane Katrina.

Mr. James Crowell, III was born in Columbus, Lowndes County, Mississippi, in 1950. Following his graduation from Mississippi Industrial College in 1971, he relocated to Biloxi for a job teaching electronics at Keesler Air Force Base. He was the first African American GS-13 ranked employee in the training group. He retired in May 2005 and went from part-time work at the NAACP to full-time. Dr. Mason served as his mentor and hand selected Mr. Crowell for his replacement as President of the Biloxi NACCP Branch. Since Hurricane Katrina, he has worked with the city and other local community organizations to develop plans for the rebuilding of Biloxi’s communities and its economy.

Item 00902: 00902_Datel, Louis_MMS/BOEM

Interview by: Diane Austin and Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Mr. Louis Datel by Dennis Sullivan. He counts him as one of the old timers in the service side of the oil and gas business, and had a successful company for many years providing drilling equipment. I met Mr. Datel, and he agreed to an interview at Lillian Miller’s home.

Louis Datel was born in 1934, and has lived in Lafayette since 1959. He graduated with a degree in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M in 1958. He worked 10 years for two different companies. From 1960-1965 he worked for PGAC (Which later became Atlas), then Eastman from roughly 1965-1970. He then went on to form his own tool company, supplying those in the oilfield with pipes of various thread sizes. He retired and currently works on his farm raising deer.

He discusses the generation gap he perceives, and shares his views on the history of the industry and what it looks like today. He also discusses the downturn of the 1980s, and the technological changes he’s seen over time that shaped his business, in particular Measurement While Drilling (MWD) and Logging While Drilling (LWD). He also talks about his personal life and his work offshore.

Item 00903: 00903_Davis, Ovide_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Ovide Davis and I had met a month or so ago at a local coffee shop. He showed me around town that day and we agreed to talk again. We called each other on the phone a few times setting up the meeting. He and I met at the Sr. Citizen's center on Delmas Ave in Pascagoula. I was introduced to everyone there at the time, we chatted for a bit, then we moved to the conference room in a lawyer's office a couple of blocks away. On the walk we chatted about the area and the weather, I told him a bit more about the project. He knows the lawyer and had made arrangements to use the room ahead of time. The office is all slate, leather, and dark wood. I re-introduce the study and answer a couple of questions before we started the interview.

Item 00905: 00905_Dempster, Robert (Joe)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

The interview took place in a meeting room of the Pascagoula Public Library. Joe Dempster is a tall man with salt and pepper hair and beard. We had met at a friend's easter egg hunt a few weeks earlier and made the arrangements to do an interview for the shipbuilding study, when we met I re-introduced that study, answered some questions, and introduced the oral history study. He agreed to participate and we started the interview. Since this will be transcribed, the recording was not used in typing up these notes.

The picture is a bit idyllic, but he recognizes that, and provides a more detailed image of his father after work than I've seen yet about any of the workers at this time.

Item 00906: 00906_Dickey, Ruby_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Kelly McLain

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I first learned about the Dickey family from KM406a, KM406b, and KM406c. I had met with Mrs. Ruby Dickey’s daughter a couple days earlier and she facilitated setting up the meeting date and time with her mother. We met at her home. The house is situated so that the funeral parlor and chapel sit in the front of the house which is closed off from the family living area. Her husband was the owner of Dickey Brothers Funeral Home. Mrs. Dickey worked as a cosmetologist for the funeral home but never really cared for it. Her primary occupation was her role as a mother of four children. She also taught Sunday school at her church for 32 years.

Mrs. Dickey grew up in Heidelberg, Mississippi, the daughter of a sharecropper. She graduated from the twelfth grade at Jasper County Training School. She is a member of Heroines of Jericho. Mrs. Dickey met her husband in Jackson, Mississippi while attending a Masons meeting. She moved to Biloxi, Mississippi after her wedding in 1962. She recalls her husband’s involvement in the wade-in protests at the beach during the Civil Rights movement. She is a determined advocate of respect for self and respect for others. Also, when Mrs. Dickey was younger she enjoyed playing basketball and today is very active in water aerobics and Zumba.

Item 00907: 00907_Dorman, Charles_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Charles Dorman was another local man who had contacted Preetam after reading the article in the Meridian Star concerning the project. It took a few days to find a time that would work for the interview but Preetam finally ended up meeting with Charles at his home in Enterprise, MS. Charles came from a family of electricians but had chosen to go offshore shortly after he graduated from high school in the area. He was somewhat unique in having decided to actually move down to Louisiana when he began working offshore. He had spent a number of years in southern LA and professed a love for Cajun culture and food and fondly remembered his time down there. He had moved back to Louisiana in the 1990s and had lived in Union ever since. Charles had begun working offshore in the late 1970s, following his brother into the industry. Charles eventually left offshore work in the late 1980s because of wanting to focus more on his work as an electrician. He had operated his own electrical business and had also worked for a number of large electric companies. He had moved back to the Union area in 1997, and had eventually gone back to work offshore in 2005. Having spent a considerable amount of time away from the industry, he was able to speak in some detail about the substantial changes in safety and overall work conditions between the industry of the 1970s and the current day.

Item 00908: 00908_Douglas, Allen_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Bobby Jones, whom I had interviewed while conducting fieldwork during the summer of 2010, had recommended several times that I try to speak with Allen Douglas. Mr. Jones had said that Mr. Douglas was someone who not only had long experience working offshore but who had also been instrumental in facilitating the entrance of many younger people in the area into the offshore oil industry. I tried contacting Mr. Douglas when I was in the area in 2010 but was unable to get a hold of him. I tried calling him again in 2011 and this time we agreed to meet at his home in Waynesboro.

Mr. Douglas was born in 1958 in Burris, LA, but his family had soon moved back to the area around Waynesboro. Mr. Douglas had had family members who worked for the offshore oil industry as he was growing up, but he had initially gone to work logging. He had been prompted to find a job offshore in 1980, out of a desire to provide increased stability for his family. Unlike the majority of others I had interviewed to date, Mr. Douglas had started out his career working overseas in South America and said that several others in the area had also gotten their start in the industry overseas. He had worked in a number of overseas locations throughout the course of his career, including in waters off the coast of England and Canada. While Mr. Douglas had gotten used to the offshore schedule fairly quickly, he discussed how his working in the industry had sometimes been difficult for his family. One issue that Mr. Douglas spoke about in some detail was the lack of training programs and other infrastructure associated with the offshore oil industry in Central MS, something which he saw as sometimes inhibiting the entrance of local people into the industry.

Item 00910: 00910_Taylor, Allen_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had stopped by Mr. Taylor’s marine supply business in Biloxi about a week ago to speak with him about how his business had fared since the Gulf oil spill. During this visit we had also discussed some of the history of Mr. Taylor’s business and the more general industrial history of the area. I had mentioned to Mr. Taylor that we were hoping to conduct some oral history interviews with people in various historically significant industries in the area. He had said that he would be fine with doing an interview and had told me to get in touch with him the following week. I called Mr. Taylor the next week and we agreed to meet at his business.

Mr. Taylor was born in Macon, MS in 1945 but he had moved down to the coast with his father soon afterwards, and had grown up in the area around Escatawpa. He remembered the significance that the local seafood and shipbuilding and fabrication industries had in the area historically, and his father had worked in a local processing plant. Mr. Taylor had worked in the plant himself while he was growing up in the area but had gone to work for a finance company after he had finished with school. He worked his way up in this company and had then gone to work for a marine equipment and supply company in the area in the late 1970s. He bought out the two company owners in the 1980s and has run the business ever since, dealing with the commercial and recreational shrimping and fishing industries as well as the offshore oil industry. He discussed how his business had changed over the years with concordant changes in these various industries, and also spoke about the impact that the oil spill had had on his business since the previous summer.

Item 00909: 00909_Odom, Charles E._MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Robert Boles, whom Preetam had interviewed early on during fieldwork around the Meridian area, had originally attempted to put him in touch with Charles Odom. Mr. Odom had initially found Robert a job offshore and both men had worked for varying amounts of time at a local denim factory which was the dominant employer in the area. However, at the time Charles had said that he would not be interested in participating in the project. Preetam ran into Mr. Odom and his wife several weeks later at a charity event in Quitman, and Mr. Odom spoke at length about his experiences working offshore and agreed to meet with Preetam for an interview the following week. Charles related how when he was growing up in the 1950s-60s some people in the local area had already begun to go offshore. However, it was in the 1970s when offshore work really picked up as a work option for people in the local area. Mr. Odom had initially gone to work for a drilling contractor in the 1960s and had proceeded to work for a number of contractors before finally settling into a permanent position at Shell in 1967. In the early 1990s, when Shell, along with most other major oil companies, began offering early retirements he initially chose to continue working, although it entailed a considerable pay cut and a move to the production side of work. He mentioned the great increase in use of computers offshore in the 1980s and 90s as one of the main reasons he eventually retired. After retiring from Shell in the early 1990s, he then took a job with a contracting company but quit after a few months because of the inferior quality of rig equipment and a lack of adequate knowledge of rig operations among this company’s employees. One of the significant changes that Mr. Odom mentioned having witnessed during his time in the industry was the shift from the informal, often kin based networks which characterized hiring and recruitment processes in the industry in the early days when he started working to much greater formalization. Among the major impacts of this shift was a decrease in the amount of power and influence that drillers, toolpushers, and others in mid to high level positions on the rigs had over the recruitment of the workforce.

Item 00911: 00911_Duhart, Dennis Jr._MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Dennis Duhart by Dennis Sullivan, a fellow Halliburton employee. Mr. Sullivan describes Mr. Duhart as one of the first African American men to be deployed offshore, and someone he worked with. I called Mr. Duhart, and we set up an interview at the apartment he stays at while working at Halliburton when he is away from his home and family in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Dennis Duhart was born in 1949 and raised in South Texas. He graduated high school and went to college. He dropped out in 1970 with the intention of going back and married his wife. He ended up being drafted in 1970, and he worked for the military for two years in Thailand, finishing his service in 1972. He began his 39 year career with Baroid as a mud logger 1972. He was offshore from 1976-1984. When things took a downturn in 1987, he went to working 14/7. Just recently, his schedule has gone back to 14/7 since the 1987 downturn. In 1992, he was transferred to the Lafayette district. He has stayed with Baroid since it was bought out by Dresser, and later Halliburton (since 2000). He raised his family in Corpus Christi Texas, and not wanting to move them, commutes between Lafayette and Corpus Christi on a 14/14 schedule, one he has held most of his life. He has three daughters and two sons.

He talks about the downturn of the 1980s, and how it was felt offshore. He discusses his career (including his first day offshore) as a mud logger and how it has changed over time. He discusses why he chose his career with Baroid, and his perspectives on life he has gained from his work. He also discusses some of his strategies for working in an environment that had few African American men employed (especially in his position) when he first began in the 1970s. He discusses education and training provided by the community, and changes in technologies, highlighting communications and logging while drilling (LWD).

Item 00912: 00912_Dungan, Brett_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had met Brett Dungan at a Working Waterfront Coalition meeting some months ago, and we finally were able to arrange a meeting. I met him at the Master Marine office on Shell Belt Road, it's a brick building, with the offices on the second floor. This is one of the few offices that has pictures on the walls and a normal amount of clutter for a 30-some year old business, unlike so many of those whose offices were taken out by Katrina and don't have many decorations or clutter. I introduced myself to the secretary/assistant in the front office, she called him and there was a few minute wait. She was probably in her early 20s, of Asian descent, and was wearing a Dartmouth T-shirt. I asked if she went there, she said no, but her brother [close friend?] did. BD: came out and asked me back, the office is divided into [at least] two sets of rooms by a long central hall. It's all wood paneled. We sit in a windowless conference room and he asks me a number of questions about the project, the difference between the two projects, and my own plans in life before we start the interview. He speaks quite fast, and I am having a hard time keeping up in my notes – trying to strike a balance between writing enough to get the gist, not leaving long pauses, and not skipping pauses and cutting him off. Somehow it's harder with him than it has been with others in the past.

Item 00913: 00913_Ellzey, Orvis (Bill)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Ellzey was referred by Jerome Meringue during the History II study, but was never contacted.  He is a retired high school teacher, an amateur historian and writes a column for the Houma Courier.  Mr. Ellzey took great interest in this project, and has provided support by describing it in his column, inviting community members to participate.  Subsequent columns have followed up on the project, providing updates and more detailed information to potential participants.  He also directed me to relevant library resources, and provided me with a number of contacts.  He will be a valuable ally.  We met at the main Terrebonne Parish library for this interview.

Bill was born in 1943, on a military base in Florida where his father was stationed.  The family was from north Louisiana, and returned there after the service.  After dropping out of LSU, he moved to Houma in 1964 to work offshore but hurricane Hilda struck and shut down the oilfield.  While waiting for operations to resume, he took a job as substitute teacher, then began working as a reporter for the Houma Courier newspaper.  After two years with the paper, he began teaching in the Houma school system, which lasted 20 years.  Then he wrote news for a local radio station, and later conducted historical research for a local utility company.  Now retired, he writes two columns each week on history related themes for the Courier.

Item 00914: 00914_Eschete, Louis_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Eschete was referred by Paul, a ranger I spoke with at the Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge, west of Houma. Mr. Eschete has a farm near the Refuge, and volunteers there. Paul said that Lou was a Shell retiree who had worked overseas, and was very knowledgeable about the industry. Mr. Eschete was eager to participate, and invited me out to his farm for the interview, where he also showed me the grapes and oranges he was cultivating. I later returned for a photo interview, documenting his photographs from when he worked in Cameroon and Brazil.

Mr. Eschete was born in 1939, in Houma, on the Southdown sugar plantation, where his father was a foreman, as was his grandfather before him. Mr. Eschete went to LSU on a football scholarship, but left to study agriculture at McNeese College. In 1956 he started as roustabout for Jumbo Construction during the summer while in college. After farming for several years, he took a job with Shell in 1965 for the better pay. He spent two years in the office, and then went into the field as a production foreman, mostly working in the East Bay area of the Louisiana coast. In the late-70s he began working on a Shell project in Cameroon, taking the job because he was “ready for a change.” He also worked on a project near Salvador, Bahia, in Brazil, in 1982. He worked in Cameroon on and off until 1987, saying he was glad to be in Africa during the bust on the Gulf Coast. For the remainder of his career, until retiring in 1996, he worked out of Morgan City. Mr. Eschete has been married and divorced three times, and spends his time since retirement working on his farm and restoring old sugar mill machinery.

Item 00915: 00915_Fisher, James_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jim Fisher had contacted Preetam after his father had read the article regarding the study in the local Meridian Star.  Preetam and Jim had arranged to meet in Lauderdale, about 20 minutes away from Meridian. Preetam ended up interviewing Jim at a local gas station/deli on Highway-45 in Lauderdale.

Jim was born and raised in Meridian. He spent 10 years on active duty in the Air Force and also served in the National Guard Reserves. Before beginning to work offshore he held a local government job. Insufficient and irregular pay led him to look for work in the offshore industry. His search was facilitated by the fact that his wife had several family members who worked offshore. He started working offshore in 2001 and left the industry in 2004. He reported enjoying working offshore, in particular, the camaraderie which he felt existed among offshore workers. Adjusting to offshore work schedules and other aspects of the industry was fairly easy for him, partly because of the time he had spent in the military. However, he also repeatedly mentioned the importance of support from family members, particularly spouses, if one had plans to stay in offshore work over the long term. Jim left offshore work in 2004 due to a combination of personal issues involving his family and a negative experience with the last offshore company that he worked for. He went back to work for the state government, in addition to being in the National Guard reserves and holding an additional third job. He said that he would love to go back to work offshore at this point, but was prevented from doing so due to an injury he had incurred during the time since he last worked in the industry.

Item 00916: 00916_Flechas, Mike_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Mike Flechas while visiting one of his customer's boats on the drydock. [see fieldnotes] He came up to discuss when they planned to launch and we were introduced. His customer told him about the study, he seemed interested, and when he dropped by later in the afternoon to speak with the boat owner, he told me that I should drop by his office later and we could do an interview.

It took me a little while to find the office – the shipyard is spread out on a couple of different pieces of property, and while I knew where the second piece was it took some time to find the office door – there was no sign, just an outdoor light on the outside of a tan metal building. I walked around to where I heard someone working – it wasn't VP070, so I walked back to the building and knocked again, I finally heard a voice from inside.

We sat in his office – yet another shipyard office with all the pictures in boxes on the floor. [I realized the other day that of all the offices I've been to, only 2 have had pictures hanging on the walls, a sign of post-Katrina repairs.] I introduced both studies, he wasn't sure about the OH but agreed to participate in the shipbuilding study and to think about the other.

Item 00917: 00917_Williams, James_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Bobby Jones at the Wayne County Vo-Tech Center had mentioned James Williams as one of the people in the area that Preetam should try to contact for an interview. Preetam and James met at James’ house a few days after speaking on the phone.  James was one of the few people that Preetam interviewed in MS who had spent a substantial part of his career working overseas. He had attended junior college for two years and had then worked in the lumber industry until a friend had told him about the opportunity to work onshore in the late 1970s. He had worked onshore for several years until informed by another friend about the increased pay and other benefits offshore. The rig he had started out working on for Chevron had soon moved overseas to Argentina in the mid-1980s and he had decided to go overseas with it. Since then, he had worked in Brazil, the Middle East, Trinidad, and Nigeria, among other places. He reported greatly enjoying most of his experiences overseas, stating that the Middle East was the only place he worked where he had felt uncomfortable and somewhat unwelcome. He had eventually worked his way up to Offshore Installation Manager (OIM). He discussed the importance of keeping work life and home life separate given the sometimes extremely stressful nature of offshore work at higher management levels and the fact that one was away from home for a month at a time. He had left offshore work in 2005. Afterwards he had consulted for a short period of time for onshore rigs, but had not cared for onshore work, where he claimed efficiency was lacking.

Item 00918: 00918_Fondren, Tobe_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mrs. Fondren contacted me after seeing the project description in the Courier, saying that she wished to contribute to the study by sharing her story. We met at her house, where she served me pie and coffee. She continues to work as an accountant, and maintains relationships with many people in town by doing their taxes, and through the church. Her husband Jim is a Texaco retiree, but they did not socialize with other Texaco families to a great extent, other than at the country club. This said, she said that Houma was a good place to raise children, and she feels that people are generally nice.

Mrs. Fondren was born in 1929 in New York City. Her father died when she was five years old, and her mother raised their family by working in garment factories. She met her future husband in New York after he returned from WWII, the day of the victory parade – he was in the 101st Airborne. In 1946 they were married, and moved to Jackson, MS, where Jim got a job with the Burris Corp. servicing business machines. The company moved them to Houma in 1951, and several years later he started working for Texaco. At first she struggled with being alone his seven days out, but got used to it. She was in charge of the family’s finances, and filling the freezer with food. The year before Jim retired in 1981, she started an accounting firm, and developed a large clientele for tax preparation, which she continues to run.

Item 00919: 00919_Ford, Liz and Reena_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

We arranged to meet at Reena Ford's house. It's currently a MEMA cottage just north of Beach Blvd. The original house was on the boulevard, but it was destroyed in Katrina. We snacked on pizza and some wine while we talked.

Item 00920: 00920_Gates, Otis Sr._MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash and Kelly McLain

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Preetam was referred to Mr. Otis Gates. We met at his home in Pass Christian, Mississippi. He entered the United States Army in 1952 as a cook. The Army sent him to school for both his GED and LPN degrees. He had met his wife in the Army early in his career and her family was from Pass Christian. After his retirement from the Army in 1972, they settled their family in Pass Christian. Mr. Gates then worked for the VA Hospital for 18 years continuing his nursing career. Mr. Gates is a member of Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church and operates the Pass Christian community food pantry out of a space that the church has donated for over 20 years.

Mr. Otis Gates was born in LaGrange, Georgia. The United States Army took him several stations in the U.S., but also to Korea, Germany and Vietnam. He was met his wife at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey only three months after entering the Army. His first trip to Pass Christian was in 1954, to meet his wife’s family. Her father was a commercial fisherman. Mr. Gates acquired a love for the water and shrimping and settled his family in Pass Christian in 1972.

Item 00921: 00921_Gazzier, Richard_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was given Mr. Gazzier’s phone number the day before by an acquaintance. When I called, his daughter/secretary said he had time to meet with me, so I should come over. About 10 minutes later we met in his office at his shipyard in Bayou la Batre.

Mr. Gazzier was born in 1947 and built his first boat when he was 13. Both his father and grandfather were in the boat building business. He ran his own shrimp boat and opened a shipyard in the mid 1970s to build shrimpboats for himself and others. In about 1979 he was approached by a seismograph company doing work in Mobile Bay to repair their vessels. Several years later he designed and built new boats which he leased to the company and significantly increased their production. Around the same time, he also took on projects for boats working overseas. He got out of the new boat building business in the late 1990s and he talks about workforce issues he faced. The seismograph boats were last used in oilfield work in 2000 and he discusses changes in seismograph work, particularly the internationalization. The boats are now used in coastal restoration projects. At the time of the interview, he was semi-retired, and his business was doing a variety of things: operating a seafood processing plant, repair work, coastal restoration, etc.

Item 00922: 00922_Glover, John_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

John was referred by Gerald Atkins during the History II study but never contacted. We met at the Coco Marina in Cocodrie, which Mr. Glover owns and has built up since acquiring it in 1974. While he always envisioned the Marina to be a sport and recreation facility, he needed oil industry money to finance the business. Therefore, he serviced industry boats through the 1970s and 1980s, only recently focusing on sport and commercial fishing. As a result of his business and a political career, Mr. Glover is knowledgeable about the oil industry’s operations in south Louisiana since the 1970s.

Mr. Glover was born in New Orleans in 1943, and moved to Houma at the age of 1. His father was a car salesman. John became a pharmacist and ran a drug store, until buying the Coco Marina in 1974, which eventually became his full-time enterprise. His marina had a crane and heliport, and he provided jack up boats and other oil industry vessels with a variety of services. He was State Representative for Cocodrie from 1988 to 1992, and also served as Police Juror numerous times in Houma. Presently he is expanding his marina as a sport fishing business, bulkhead and restaurant, while also selling real estate.

Item 00923: 00923_Golden, Ruben Lee_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Golden was referred by David Smith; Mr. Golden was Smitty’s boss at Bay Drilling for many years.  Smitty spoke about Mr. Golden in reverent terms, noting that he was a tough boss, that he had invented the Kelly Spinner, an important tool, and that I would be lucky if he would talk to me.  Mr. Golden agreed to meet with me at his home, after some persistence on my part.  He has had health problems and has rarely left his house in several years.  Reticent at first, Mr. Golden opened up through this interview, sharing much from his fascinating life story, and commenting on the changes that took place in the oilfield through his career.  He asked me to shut off the recorder at one point to make a comment; the second file finishes up the interview.

Mr. Golden was born in 1927, in Robeline LA.  His father was a rambler, taking his family across the country as he gambled and worked odd oilfield jobs.  Mr. Golden went into the Navy after high school, and was heading to Japan during WWII when the atomic bombs were dropped.  Back in the States, he took a job in California with Butler Manufacturing, then worked as a roughneck for several companies back on the Gulf coast.  He said he never liked the marshy coast, but was driven to it by the “ghost of starvation”, and stayed because the money was good.  He began with Bay Drilling in 1957 as a driller, one of the company’s first hires.  Mr. Golden spent the rest of his career as a driller and drilling superintendent for Bay, bought by Texaco, retiring in 1989.  In the late 60s, he invented the Kelly Spinner, a tool to quicken pipe connections that is used all over the world today.

Item 00924: 00924_Goodell, Kim and William (Bill)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Referred to the Goodells by Gary Hernandez, I met with them at their home in Lafayette one evening for an interview with them both. Both originally from New Orleans, they chose to move from New Orleans to Lafayette in 1996 for Kim’s job. They met each other working for Amoco oil in New Orleans and got married. Kim is currently retired (since 2005) from her 23 year position in securing offshore drilling leases for deepwater contracts. Bill currently works in environmental law dealing strictly with cases involving the oil industry. This past Fall semester of 2010 he taught a course at Tulane law school on the Bp oil spill of April 20, 2010 and the litigation surrounding the event.

Bill, a native of New Orleans, was born in 1952. He went to college in Mobile Alabama for English, graduating in 1973 or 1974. He worked odd jobs, going back to school to study law in 1977. He graduated in 1980. Bill began working for Amoco in 1981 until about 1986 or 1987. Amoco supported his second degree, so he went on to LSU in environmental law. After leaving Amoco, he went on to Tulane in New Orleans to pursue his Master’s in environmental law. He began practicing law by working for the attorney general’s office in Baton Rouge on cases in conservation and representing landowners.

Kim graduated from the University of Southern Louisiana with a degree in business and a concentration in petroleum land management. She continued graduate studies at USL. After graduation she moved back to New Orleans to work for Amoco in 1983. At Amoco she got her start in dealing with offshore leases by working with companies such as Exxon, Mobil, and Shell, among others. Around 1991/1992, Amoco consolidated with BP. She moved to Lafayette to work for a smaller independent company in 1996 (Flories and Rucks.)

Together Kim and Bill discuss their personal work histories, their reasons for moving to Lafayette, experiences in the oil industry, coastal erosion, the politics of the environmental movement, and how they manage two seemingly opposing careers. Bill talks about cases he has had over the years, and Kim describes the process of securing deepwater leases and how it changed, including the “excitement of prospects.”

Item 00925: 00925_Hagan, William_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Mr. William Hagan at a SPWLA (Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts) meeting at the Petroleum Club a week before. He approached me and gave me his card, and we set up an interview at his office at Stratagraph.

William Hagan was born in Lafayette, and lived here until moving to Baton Rouge at age nine. He went to high school there, graduating in 1993. He moved to Shreveport for college and finished with a B.A. in political science and a minor in business in 1998. He went to work in the field doing survey work in 1998 for Stratagraph (the mud logging company begun by his father in 1961), and continued through 2000. In 2000, he came into the office and worked as a dispatcher for mud loggers, operations assistant, and interviewer. He has been the vice president of business development since ~2002.

In the interview, he discusses the history of the Stratagraph mud logging company, what got him to work in the business, growing up with a father that owned a company, and the nature of the work they do in mud logging (including changes to communication in the business, which he sees as one of the most fundamental changes in the industry since he started). He also discusses where they get their workforce from and their involvement in education.

Item 00926: 00926_Munson, King_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Diane Austin and Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Laura was referred to King Munson by Steven Anderson, a fellow geologist in the oil center who had collaborated on projects with Mr. King in the past.

King Munson grew up in New Iberia, Louisiana where he still lives today. He has an independent geologist consulting business in the oil center where he currently works. He graduated high school in 1976. He left the state to attend college and graduated in 1982 with a degree in geology.  In high school and college, he did work for his dad’s surveying company in oil and gas and other general surveying . Right out of college, he got a job with a major oil company working offshore. From there he left to pursue his own independent company. He is married and has children.

He talks about his fellow peers entering the oilfield and its effect on their education. He also discusses the history of Lafayette, the oil center, and the nature of the independents in the industry here in Lafayette, the family support he describes that is needed to pursue the kind of job he has (mostly he attributes this to support from his wife), and his family in the industry. He also discusses technological advances in his work, such as 3-D seismic and how they've shaped what he does.

Item 00927: 00927_Harrison, Frank_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Referred to Frank Harrison by several previous interviewees as an important person to speak with on the history of Lafayette, I called Mr. Harrison and set up a meeting. We met at his office at Optimistic Oil.

Mr. Frank Harrison was born in 1926 in Michigan. He served in World War II, and then in 1950, Mr. Harrison moved to New Orleans. He then went to Baton Rouge to attend LSU, where in 1951 he began studying geology. His original intent was to study petroleum engineering, but the excitement of geology as a way to “use the imagination and be more liberal in thinking, and less worried about numbers” motivated the transition. At some point, he got his doctorates from ULL In 1956, and he moved to Lafayette, what he describes then as: “A boom town for oil and gas” due to Maurice Heymann’s foresight to create an oil center. He then opened his own business. Mr. Harrison’s company, Optimistic Oil, has been operating in Southern Louisiana since 1960 or so. He retired officially in the mid-late 1990s, but at 84 is still running his business and employing about 6-10 people at any given time. In 1981, he became the president of the American Association of Geologists, traveling extensively around the world. He also served as president of United Way in 1984 and 1983, and is still active with them today. His son owns a drilling company, which began in New Orleans with Amoco in 1992. After moving their center to Houston from which to base their offshore operation in the Gulf of Mexico, he has apparently been successful ever since.

He discusses the company profiles in Lafayette and development of the oil center. He also touches upon recent events and effects on the Lafayette and oil community since the moratorium in August, and the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in April of 2010. He talks about the development of offshore and deepwater drilling in the Lafayette, Morgan City, and Houma communities from his perspective of the 1950s-onwards. He sees Lafayette becoming more of a commercial center with less reliance on oil, but at the same time discusses how Lafayette is a key player in the industry in terms of workforce, education, and skill. He is an influential member in both the industry and the community of Lafayette, and describes his role in both communities over the years.

Item 00928: 00928_Schoeffler, Harold and Sarah_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek, with Lillian Miller

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Harold and Sarah Schoeffler through David Goodwyn. He referred me to them as long-time social and environmental activists with the Lafayette community. After being introduced to them, I set up an interview with them at their home a few days later.  Lillian Miller was invited and accompanied me to the interview.

Harold Schoeffler is from Lafayette, Louisiana. His grandfather, grandmother, and father came here in 1910 across the Atlantic from Germany. His mother’s side is Cajun French. He has lived here his entire life except for four years when he was in the Air Force. He joined the Air Force in 1961 and got out in 1965. He became his father’s partner at his Cadillac dealership and took over management of the business in June of 1965. He is retired from the Cadillac business now. He is extremely involved in the local boy scouts and has been since his own childhood. He has also been active in the Sierra Club since 1968 and is active in developing wind energy in Texas and Louisiana. He has also played an integral part in implementing recycling in Lafayette, was involved with opposing the shell dredging, and coastal restoration. Sarah Schoeffler, his wife, is originally from Franklin, Louisiana. She works actively for the Live Oaks Society, the local Sierra Club chapter, and several other organizations. They have several children, all middle age adults. One of their sons whom I met at dinner is a landman, and apparently is doing very well in his job.

They speak extensively of what Lafayette looked like from the 1980s onwards, and the effect of the offshore oil and gas industry both on the environment, the community, and the economic impacts. They both discuss the future of energy in Lafayette, and the nature of the “family oriented” community of Lafayette. They also talk about the impacts of the BP oil spill, their roles in the community, and major turning points in history for the town (such as desegregation and environmental policies).

Item 00929: 00929_Millet, Frank_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Millet is a family friend of the interviewer’s friend, David Davis, who grew up in Houma. After a dinner at the Millet’s house, Mr. Frank agreed to be interviewed about his career in the oil field service industry. Georgette, Frank’s wife, was also supportive of this project, and offered to help obtain statistics and historical documents from the study period, through her position with the City of Houma. Mr. Millet and I met at his office on Venture Blvd. Afterwards, he introduced me to other service industry managers over lunch.

Mr. Millet was born in New Orleans in 1951. His father was a career postal employee. When he was still young, the family moved to Houma, where Frank has lived since. He first began working in the oil industry in 1973, taking a job with Wilson Supply. The company provided daily shipments to rigs and platforms, supplying basic necessities and light equipment rentals. In 1975, he took a position with TBW Industries, which manufactured and distributed tanks and winches to be used offshore. This company went bust in 1982, and he went to work for Alfa Laval, a company based in Sweden with an office in Houma, which built and sold centrifuges, designed to separate drilling muds. In 1994, he started his own company, FM Equipment, which distributes Alfa parts and services these machines on drilling operations in the Gulf.

Item 00930: 00930_Nolan, Herman Ray_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Nolan had been referred to me by a few others whom I had interviewed in the area around Bayou La Batre as someone who had experience in both the seafood and offshore oil industries. I contacted Mr. Nolan and explained that the connection between shrimping and fishing and the offshore oil industry was something that I was hoping to gain more insight into. Mr. Nolan agreed to meet with me for an oral history interview and we ended up meeting at the Community Center in Bayou La Batre.

Mr. Nolan had been born in Mobile, AL in 1951. His father was in the Air Force and the family had moved around when Mr. Nolan was growing up. The family had moved back to the area when Mr. Nolan was in high school. Mr. Nolan went to school for instrumentation after graduating from high school and had begun shrimping when he was finished with this training. A number of his family members had worked in the shrimping and fishing industry. Mr. Nolan had gotten his start working as a deckhand for one of his uncles. He had eventually come to own and operate his own shrimp boat before deciding to go to work in the offshore oil industry because of the stability of this work compared to shrimping and fishing. Mr. Nolan remained involved with both the seafood and offshore oil industries over the years, and had also operated his own trucking business since the late 1980s. Mr. Nolan discussed how the 2010 Gulf oil spill had drastically impacted his trucking business, as well as impacted his plans and options for the future. He had been looking for work in the offshore oil industry since the previous summer but had had little luck locating anything. He expressed having enjoyed working in both the offshore oil and shrimping industries, although he emphasized that the latter was characterized by a high degree of instability.

Item 00931: 00931_Harrison, Robert (Bobby)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Bobby Harrison was one of the offshore workers who responded to the article that Preetam had placed in the Meridian Star on April 19th, 2010. Bobby contacted Preetam the following afternoon. He initially seemed uncertain about when a good time to get together for an interview might be, but called back in the evening and said that it would be fine for Preetam to come over to his place in Collinsville that night.

Bobby started working offshore in 1974 and stayed in the industry for seven years, leaving for good in 1981. He grew up around the Meridian area and worked for a bread company before he managed to get a job offshore through someone that he knew in the area. He started out working as a roustabout and eventually worked as a crane operator. He refrained from trying to advance into higher positions because of the additional responsibility they entailed. He eventually had to stop working offshore in 1981 because of a back injury. After spending a few years recovering from his injury, he went to work for a landscaping contractor and closed out his career in this line of work. Bobby had a book and a framed assortment of photographs on the kitchen table when Preetam arrived and leafed through the pages of the book throughout the interview, occasionally pointing out something that caught his eye.

Item 00932: 00932_Rel, Gabriel_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had met Gabriel Rel sometime earlier, he is related to some friends of mine and owns a Mexican restaurant in town with their niece/cousin. We had met in person a few times and spoken on the phone to arrange the interview. We had originally made arrangements to do the interview with a friend of his who had worked in offshore oil since the 70s, but something came up that day and he couldn't make it. We met at his restaurant and sat in the kitchen. As we talked he was cutting, cleaning, preparing for that evening's dinner. Periodically his partner and their employee would pass through and work for a while.

Item 00933: 00933_Heathcock, Walter_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Heathcock had contacted Preetam after viewing the article in the Meridian Star concerning the project. They had spoken for a short while on the phone concerning his history in the offshore oil industry and had subsequently arranged to meet at his home in Quitman, MS. Mr. Heathcock had been born and raised in the nearby town of Stonewall, MS and had entered the oil industry in the late 1950s after spending some time in the Air Force and working for his father who owned a well known general store in the area at the time. He had started out working as a contract roustabout for California Oil Company, which later became Chevron Oil Company. He moved to Venice, LA in 1959 and had remained there until the 1980s. For much of his career he had worked a 5 on-5 off schedule on the supply side of the offshore industry, but also had experience working the more typical 7 on-7off schedule on the actual oil rigs. During the 1980s and 1990s Mr. Heathcock had also been involved in operating his own crew boat business. He left the offshore oil industry in the early 1990s, following a back injury. Throughout the interview, he emphasized the dramatic changes in safety which had taken place in the industry since when he had started out. He was very positive about his experiences working offshore and particularly thankful for the consistent income that working in the industry had provided. Walter had moved back to the Clarke County, MS in the mid-1980s and has lived in the area ever since then.

Item 00935: 00935_Hernandez, Claire_MMS/BOEM

Interviewers: Laura Ek and Lillian Miller

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Laura was referred to Claire Hernandez by her brother Gary Hernandez. She worked offshore as a roustabout for Exxon for just over a year. Laura called her and set up an interview at her home in Carencro, Louisiana. Claire sat with Laura and Lillian in her living room and pulled out a few photos and an article which Laura borrowed to scan and add to her archives. Claire was looking forward to speaking with Laura and Lillian since her brother Gary mentioned he’d referred them to her. She lives on her family’s property along with Gary, their mother, and another brother.

A French and Cajun by descent, Claire has resided in Carencro all her life except for a five year period she when she was in France. Claire graduated from college in 1964 and moved to California (near San José) where she got married and had a child. She was part of an artist’s colony there where they were followed sustainable living. Claire was also very involved in the anti-war movement. She then moved with her daughter to Mexico for a year and lived in a “grass hut.” She began working for Exxon in 1977 and quit in 1978. She was the first woman hired out of the Lafayette Exxon office to work offshore. She showed us a newspaper article that highlighted her work offshore. She also gave us a picture of the first rig she worked on offshore.

After she came back to Lafayette from France, she worked as a teacher for 30 years, and worked as an advocate for CODOFIL as well. She currently works at rehabilitation clinic for abusive spouses, counseling husbands and wives. Her work offshore, while only about a year and a half in time, made a lasting impression on her. She describes her experience and work offshore, and what ultimately led her to leave that work. Observing a lack of safety practices within in the industry, she saw an accident as inevitable if she continued working for Exxon. She held Exxon stock until several years ago when she decided she didn’t want to invest money in Exxon.

Item 00936: 00936_Ware, Sally_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Sally Ware when I was in Lafayette last fall. She has worked for LAGCOE (Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition) since 1980 as their primary employee. The trade-show runs every other year in the fall, and she is in charge of setting it up and coordinating the event.

Sally Ware is originally from Duncan, Oklahoma. In the 1940s, her family moved here because her father was in the oil business. She graduated high school in 1962. She said there were several occasions when they moved away from Lafayette when the industry wasn’t doing well, but after she came back for college at ULL (graduating in 1967) she decided to make Lafayette her permanent home. She worked for Superior Oil Company beginning in 1967, and then moved on to Lion’s petroleum (an independent exploration company) where she worked for 10 years.

In the interview, she discusses what LAGCOE is, what they do to promote it as well as what it means to have it in the Lafayette community. She speaks about the community of Lafayette and how it has changed over the years, in particular the oil center, and the Petroleum Club. She also describes the work she did for the oil companies she worked for, and how she got into the job. She also talks about why she enjoys living in Lafayette and what she likes about her job.

Item 00937: 00937_Hernandez, Gary_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Gary Hernandez at a KRVS local public radio fundraiser with Lillian Miller one evening. After being introduced to and interviewing his sister, Claire Hernandez, Gary and I had an interview together at his home in Carencro just outside Lafayette.

Gary Hernandez was born February 12, 1951 in Lafayette, Louisiana. His family is from Carencro and he and his sister, brother, and mother still live on the land their family purchased back in 1848. (He describes himself as French on one side and Spanish on the other.) Mr. Hernandez is currently an artist, a carpenter, and cares for his elderly mother. His employment history is very diverse. He went to work for a pipe laying company, testing miles of pipelines. He was let go from that job and went to work for Tubascope for 4-5 months doing a job he describes as “difficult,” testing for radioactive dust. He worked for Kelly Brown and Root running anchors for seven months, worked for Water Marine for a while assisting divers checking gaslines, and as a welder for a short time on Gooseneck trailers and making sculptures. In 1975 or 1976, he worked on a crewboat as his last oilfield related employment. He left the University of Southern Louisiana in 1975. He then went to work as a printer for a reading research foundation for 7-8 months. From there he went on to testing childhood learning and early development. He moved away but came back to the area. He was part of the Beau Soleil band from 1977-1978. In 1978, he moved to France where he met his wife and they had a daughter. He moved back to Carencro in 1983, but returned to France again in 1987 where he lived until about 2000.

Mr. Hernandez and his wife opened a French immersion school in the Lafayette area just before the industry went bust and describes the challenges they faced. He discusses in-depth the oil industry and its negative impacts on Cajun culture, especially in relation to the various jobs and the strenuous day-to-day affects of that work on young men and family men in the industry. He also mentions the racism and sexism that existed in the industry when he worked.

Item 00938: 00938_Hernandez, Randal (Randy)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Diane Austin, Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Dennis Sullivan referred Laura to Randy Hernandez. He described him as someone who works for one of the major oil companies designing safer platforms. Diane and I met at his home in Lafayette.

Mr. Hernandez was born in 1958 in Lafayette, Louisiana. He graduated from North Side high school in Lafayette. During high school he did electrical work. After his high school graduation he went to USL for a short time, but took a break for a while and continued his electrical work. At his father’s barbershop, he got an offer to apply for a job with an oil company. In the 1980s, he got an interview with “one of the majors” and has worked for them for the past 30 years. His employer supported an educational program, so he went back to school full time for the industrial technology program on the 7/7. Eight years later he held his degree in industrial technology. He originally held a position as a maintenance specialist, and worked his way up to higher technical positions, then technical project management positions. He moved into his house in Lafayette in 1989. He has a wife and two children.

In the interview, he discusses his participation in the 7/7 programs in industrial technology at ULL (then USL) before it was phased out. He describes the workings of the major company he works for, and the benefits in the way he finds they do their work. He talks about major changes in technology in his work over time, how he prepared himself to do other work, and how he contributed to safety programs within his company. He briefly discusses the role of women in the industry, including who he worked with and what sectors of the industry they were in. Towards the end of the interview, he shares some of his thoughts on the BP spill, and on the future of oil in Lafayette.

Item 00939: 00939_Hilliard, Paul and Maley, Steve_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Referred to Paul Hilliard as a “Good authority” on the history of Lafayette by many previous interviewees, I met with Mr. Hilliard at his office at Badger Oil. An employee of his, Steve Maley, (petroleum engineer) joined our conversation.

Paul Hilliard is from Wisconsin. He began pursuing studies at the University of Wisconsin, but joined the military soon after. He went into the service from 1943-1946. Upon returning from the war, he finished his university studies at the University of Texas with a degree in law in 1951. He was hired on by Chevron and began work in New Orleans.  In 1954 he went to work for H.L. Hunt. Around April of 1955, he was let go from Hunt and went to work for a small independent company as a landman from 1955-1958. He then made the decision to begin his own independent company, and in 1959 he opened his business. He discusses the move of Hunt Oil to Lafayette during the 1950s and the reasons for this impetus, as well as the business strategies and federal regulations and how they have changed over time.

Steve Maley calls himself “Second generation oil patch.” His father moved here from Kansas. His parents both worked in the oil business; his mother worked as a bookkeeper for a drilling company, and his father was a draftsman for Skelly Oil Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Mr. Maley did not see himself going into the industry himself until he took a geology class in Oklahoma. While pursuing his university studies, he worked for Skelly and ended up graduating in 1978 with a degree in petroleum engineering. After graduation, he took a job in technology advancement with Shell and moved to New Orleans. He discusses differences in working for major and smaller independent companies, life in Lafayette currently, and the TEFRA bill of 1986.

Both Mr. Hilliard and Mr. Maley discuss the transition from on paper to 3-D seismic and computers, how the oil embargo of 1973 was felt by those in Lafayette, changes in drilling policies throughout the 1980s, and the business of oil in Lafayette. They also speak in-depth on the wealth of the 1980s and the consequential decline in the 1980s in relation to culture, the climate of the real estate market, and the future of the oil business in Lafayette.

Item 00940: 00940_Trahan, Ronald (Ronnie)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Trahan was referred by his wife Carline who works at Songy’s Sporting Goods store in Houma. Ronnie knows many of the contract companies working in the Houma area; as operations manager for a major welding company, he negotiates contracts with major oil companies as well as small shops. He agreed to be interviewed in his office at Marine Fabrication Company on Venture Road in Houma.

Mr. Trahan was born in 1955 in New Orleans, but his family moved to Houma when he was one year old. His father worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Ronnie took welding in high school, and started his first job with Delta Iron Works after graduation. A year later he began working for a family-owned business, repairing rigs, boats, barges and pipes along the coast. He drove a welding truck constantly, doing “dockside” work, making welding repairs that kept rigs in operation. In the late ‘70s he began going offshore on repair jobs. He also worked in shipyards during this period. In 1992 he started Marine Fabrication and Repair with other partners. He is currently operations manager for the company, after his brother bought him and the other partners out six years ago.

Item 00941: 00941_Holland, William (Bill)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Diane Austin

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Victoria Phaneuf had been referred to Mr. Holland by local residents who were aware that he was one of the last remaining wooden boat builders in Biloxi. She contacted him and asked if he would be willing to do an interview. He agreed, so Tory and Diane Austin arranged to meet him at his boat yard in Biloxi, which is located next to his house. The interview took place in the enclosed construction area of his yard. Diane led the interview with Tory present taking notes.

Mr. Holland was born in 1946 in Biloxi, Mississippi. He began his boat building career at the age of nine and spent time with many of the local boat builders, including the Kovacevichs who built oilfield boats. After high school in 1964, he went to work for Ingalls where he learned to weld and burn. His tenure lasted until 1970, but was interrupted by a stint in the Coast Guard during the Vietnam Crisis. He worked other construction and layout jobs, but always built boats outside his work hours. Both his daughters work in his small yard and he employs about two full time employees. They renovate and build all different types of wooden boats, though their specialty is carvel round bottom boats. He notes that after doing more repair jobs than usual the previous year, they had done few in 2007 and he attributes this mostly to the rising price of materials and people being unable to afford boat maintenance. Especially since the ‘90s and after Hurricane Katrina, wood for boat building has been increasingly difficult to procure. He also talks about the stress and expense in recovering from Katrina and his disappointment and shock in the lack of assistance he received from religious groups and companies. This was different than their experience after Hurricane Camille. He discusses what he sees as the end of the wooden boat building craft and describes his dedication to teaching people about it.

Item 00942: 00942_Peatross, Robert (Bob)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Bob Peatross by Joseph Beck at Halliburton. Joseph Beck referred me to him as someone with perspective on the smaller mom and pop operations in the Gulf of Mexico around the oil industry. I called him, and a week later we set up an appointment to meet at his office.

Bob Peatross has worked for Halliburton for the past 38 years. He graduated from high school in Fallbrook California, and then from Texas A&M with his geological engineering degree. A year after graduating, in 1967, he joined the Marine Corps. He served in Vietnam until 1967. He graduated from the University of Missouri with a geological engineering degree in 1972. In 1972, he got a job with Wellex (later bought by Halliburton in 1989, the company was established in 1947) operating a logging truck. He moved to Houma (where his wife is from) in 1973. He joined the sales at Halliburton in 1974 as a way to get out of the rain, and says he preferred it. He moved to New Orleans in 1975 to do servicing for Shell oil. In 1985 he moved to Shreveport to work in sales there. He moved back to Lafayette in 1993, and currently resides there with his wife and three sons.

In the interview, he discusses his work, how it has changed over time (due to changes in technology; the biggest change he says, being communications). He also mentions seismic and LWD. He talks a little about the Lafayette community and what he does in his spare time, and at the end of the interview touches upon some of the ways his company has responded to their employees with the moratorium from the summer previous. Another thing he talks about is the “Wildcatter mindset” of the 1970s, and how that had changed when he came back to Lafayette in 1993. He also talks about his own job, and the nature of the industry.

Item 00943: 00943_Rhodes, Ronnie_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Ronnie was first contacted during the History II study, referred by Richard Goodroe, but was never interviewed. We met at his home in north Houma. He worked for Unocal, retiring in 2003. The following year he took a position with Measurement Technologies, as a salesman for the oilfield service company, which he currently holds. He maintains ties with many of his former Unocal co-workers, and provided me with numerous contacts.

Mr. Rhodes was born in 1950, in Houma, and has spent almost his entire life there. He was drafted to go to Vietnam, but was released due to a shoulder injury. He was married in 1971, and that same year started as a roustabout for Unocal Oil Company. Ronnie moved up the ranks until becoming a production foreman by the late 70’s, in charge of three offshore fields. In the mid-90s he was moved to construction foreman, a position he held until being forced into retirement in 2003 when Unocal was bought out and management positions were liquidated.

Item 00944: 00944_Johnson, Johnny and Paul_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had stopped by the crab and oyster processing plant operated by Johnny Johnson, his son Paul, and other members of their family early on in the fall of 2010. At the time I had spoken with them about some of the impacts of the Gulf oil spill on their business. I had mentioned to them that I was hoping to conduct some oral history interviews with people in the area who were involved in the seafood industry, and they had indicated that they might be willing to sit down for an interview. I got back in touch with Johnny in early January. He said that he would be willing to do an interview and we tried to get a proper time scheduled. I ended up swinging by their processing plant one day when I was in Coden, and ran into Paul. He called his father, who drove over, and we ended up talking on the floor of their plant.

Johnny and Paul had both been born in and raised in Heron Bay, a community around Coden. They discussed coming from a family with a long history of working on the water, and spoke about the earlier days of the seafood industry in the area. The family had historically owned a crab shop where the processing plant was currently located and Johnny, Paul, and Johnny’s other son had officially taken over operations in 1994. Over the years since then, they described having slowly built the business up. However, over the years a variety of factors, including increased regulations, Hurricane Katrina, and most recently, the Gulf oil spill, had taken a heavy toll on their business. Among their major concerns at the time of the interview was how difficult it had become to obtain oysters since the spill, and the loss of much of the customer base, which they had built up over the last 15 years.

Item 00945: 00945_Redmond, Richard (Fuzzy)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Redmond was referred by Burleigh Ruiz, both men being Texaco retirees and friends. Fuzzy meets with this Texaco group for coffee semi-regularly. Mr. Redmond lives on Presque Isle, near the Houma airport, which is where the interview took place. His son, Richard Jr., lives in Montegut and currently works on deepwater platforms for Chevron. Richard Sr. said his son would be able to speak about the industry after his retirement in the early 90s. Mr. Redmond was proud of his work overseas, and provided valuable information about this experience.

Mr. Redmond was born in Montegut in 1937, and during his youth the town was entirely dominated by Texaco. He worked with his father in a machine shop as a young man, then started working for Texaco in 1956. He began in the kitchen, then worked as “extra board”, filling in for hands that were out all over the region. After two years he started as roughneck on a rig that used and tested experimental equipment. After drilling for one year, he moved to toolpusher, working on rigs throughout Terrebonne Parish. In 1972, he went to Nigeria for seven months on a job. In ’76, he worked on land rigs in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Through the rest of his career, until retiring as a drilling superintendent in 1994, he worked a 21 and 21 schedule, travelling to Columbia, Bolivia, Argentina, Venezuela and Tunisia.

Item 00946: 00946_Jones, Bobby_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had met with Mr. Jones during the time that I had spent in the area during the summer of 2010. Mr. Jones was the Director of the Vocational Training School in Waynesboro, a position he had occupied since 1995. When I arrived back in the area in 2011, I contacted Mr. Jones and we spoke about what had transpired in the area since I had been away. I mentioned that I was hoping to conduct more oral history interviews with local people about their experiences working in the oil industry. He had said that he would be willing to speak about his time in the oil industry, although he had only spent a short time working offshore. I stopped by the school a few days later and we conducted the interview in Mr. Jones’ office.

Mr. Jones was born in Georgia in 1955. His father had worked for Shell Oil Company and the family had moved around when Mr. Jones was growing up, but he had spent a good portion of his early years in the area around Waynesboro. He mentioned the timber and oil industries as constituting two of the major sources of employment in the area. His father’s family had been in the logging business. Mr. Jones had begun working in oil field construction onshore during summers when he was in high school and had continued working in the oil field while he was attending college. When he finished college Mr. Jones had no desire to teach so he went to work for his family’s logging business until an injury forced him to quit and take up a school teaching job. Soon after, he went to work in the onshore oil fields as a roughneck. He had worked in onshore oil field construction for the majority of his career in the industry and had only worked offshore for the last 6 months in the mid-90s. He mentioned being very impressed with the safety standards that were prevalent in the offshore industry at the time relative to onshore work. Mr. Jones said that he had stopped working in the oil fields and returned to the education field in the mid-90s because he wanted to be with his family. He still missed working in the offshore oil industry and said that he thought about going offshore “every day”.

Item 00947: 00947_Jones, Jerry and Jeremy_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had met Jerry at a book signing a couple of weeks earlier. We'd agreed to meet and do an interview for the project. We had arranged to meet at 9, I was about 15 minutes late because of traffic, but I had called him so he showed up at the same time I was. We met at the shop where his grandson, Jeremy,  was working as the manager. I was introduced and we started with a tour of the facility. In the front of the building is a shop selling a variety of marine gear, fasteners, hooks, ropes, cables, etc. I didn't get a very close look at what they were selling. Trawl boards used to be 100% of the business, but now it's more like 40% (or 60, I can't read my handwriting), oil is a good bit and the rest is repairs, cabinets they build on the side, or wire they sell for crab traps. They used to sell cables for shrimpboats, had a horse trailer for it, but they got out of that. The business started in an old horse stall then they added on and then added on a second building, now all those wooden buildings are being used for storage out back and the shop is in a big metal building. I was given a tour of the front building first, the shop floor where they make the trawl boards, wood and aluminum, then out to the back building where it all started. We came back into the front building and I saw the part of the shop where they do work for the shipyards – hatches, the piece that holds the mast, air intake panels. It's only about a quarter of the shop that they're using to build the pieces for the shipyards. Then they took me out back where they did the cabinetry work, a long shop separated from the main one that primarily houses wood and varieties of cabinet doors. They will fabricate anything, at one point they built horse trailers. The family had horses, they used to have more stuff for the yards outside in the drive, a storage area between the new and old shops. They don't have as much now, they're lower now, the yards just picked up a lot of it. Usually there is only one guy working on the trawl boards, now there are 4 because the season starts at the beginning of June. On the yard, aside from the two interviewees, I saw six men. All were in their 30s-50s (most on the upper side of that). They were welding, burning, cutting, doing stuff I didn't understand or couldn't see well. Out of the six one was African American. He was cutting and burning.

I sat with the two men in the front office/kitchen. Periodically throughout the interview one or the other would get up to answer a phone call or a question from someone.

Item 00948: 00948_Navarre, Joe (Sonny)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Sonny was first contacted during the History II study, referred by Pauline Moniet, but was never interviewed. We met at his home in north Houma. His wife Judy served us coffee and made several comments. He worked for Pure Drilling, which later merged with Union Oil, retiring in 1989. Presently he spends most of his time carving decorative fowl, showing his products at conventions and teaching soap carving to youth around the region.

Mr. Navarre was born in 1929 in Gueydan, LA. Beginning in 1946, he entered the Navy for two years. Afterwards he worked several jobs around St. Louis before returning to Louisiana to begin working for Pure Oil Company. He roustabouted on inland gas field jobs. He was transferred to Houma and took up residence here in 1965 after Pure merged with Union. He worked in production until 1970 when he moved to the drilling department and did jobs both inland and offshore from Alabama to Texas.

Item 00949: 00949_Jordan, Jill Chiasson_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Jill Chiasson-Jordan through Dennis Sullivan. Dennis and Jill used to work offshore together (Dennis was Jill’s boss), and he thought Jill would be a good person for me to talk to regarding work offshore in the 1970s.

Jill graduated from high school in Lafayette in 1974. She was born and raised in Lafayette; her parents are both from Lafayette as well. She went to University of Louisiana at Lafayette (then University of Southern Louisiana) and received an Associate’s in secretarial sciences in 1976. She became a secretary, but wanting to make more money she began looking elsewhere for employment. This led her to find work offshore. In 1977, she was hired on as a mudlogger by Emrata Hess oil for two years. She then went on to work for Penzoil as a roustabout in production the last year she worked offshore. She left work offshore in 1981 to get married to her husband who she met offshore. She said she began having children and starting a family (she has 3 sons). In the 1990s, her family moved to Cotton Valley for four years, and then moved back to Lafayette where they have been for the past 9 years. Today she works as a secretary a few days a week at her Catholic church. She said one of the biggest benefits to working offshore is her understanding of her husband’s work (he works for Hunt Oil), which she said helps their relationship.

She talks about her work offshore between 1977-1980 for Emrata Hess Oil Company and Penzoil doing mud-logging work. She describes her reasons for going offshore, her experiences, and the reactions of her friends and family to her choice. She also discusses the moratorium and the effects she’s seen, and the history of the community of Lafayette

Item 00950: 00950_Keene, Patrick William_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Patrick Keene at his house on Beach Blvd. It's actually a double wide trailer, the house was destroyed in the storm. The garage is still standing, but is damaged. I was met out front by a little fluffy dog, I learn later a Bichon Frise. His wife decided it was her turn to pick the dog after generations of labs. We settled in the living room with our glasses of ice water and he asked a number of questions about the study before I began. The OT was incorporated into the beginning of the interview, as this isn't really a worker interview, but it isn't really a scoping interview either. The interview was mostly recorded except for a couple of parts at the end.

Item 00953: 00953_Kelly, John_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Kelly was referred by John Monteiro, who had hired Mr. Kelly to work for him briefly in the mid 80s.  He has wide ranging experience in construction, operations and sales with numerous sectors of the oil industry.  As a result, he knows many of the contractors and service companies that have risen up in Houma since the 1960s.  Mr. Kelly provided insightful comments on the transitions in the industry through his career.  His wife joined us for segments of the interview, and makes several comments.  We met at their home on El Paso Drive in Houma.

Mr. Kelly was born in Ada, OK, in 1930.  His father worked for Kerr-McGee and therefore John was familiar with the oil industry from a young age.  He was married in 1950, then went to Korea in the Marines.  Upon his return in 1952, he began working for Associated Rentals, which serviced the oilfield of the Louisiana coast.  He then took a sales and operations job with Drilling Tools Co. based in Lafayette in 1957.  He moved to Houma in 1959 to work for Delta Ironworks, in fabrication and construction.  In the early 70s he took a job with Luke Construction, laying pipeline and constructing offshore facilities.  Luke went bankrupt in the early 80s, and Mr. Kelly worked for John Monteiro and finally the Dupres Brothers, in operations and sales before retiring.

Item 00954: 00954_Monteiro, John _MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Monteiro was referred by Bill Ellzey, who described him as a major contractor and businessman in the region for the past forty years. We met at his house on Bayou Black west of Houma. He was living in the small house on the front of the property, because a fraudulent woman had offered to buy the massive house on the back of the sizable acreage, causing the old man to move his furniture out while his wife was dying; but the woman had no money and forged bank notes. Mr. Monteiro is a dynamic and mercurial person, having tried many different oil-related ventures through his long career in the area, some which succeeded and other went bankrupt. He was very active in the community during the 70s and 80s, serving on the chamber of commerce, numerous boards, and running a boy-scout troop. He continues to work despite failing health, mostly on small engineering contracts.

Mr. Monteiro was born 1927 in New Orleans. His father was a civil engineer. John got an engineering degree from LSU in 1952. Before going to college he was in the Army during the final years of WWII. During college, he worked summers for McDermott on pilings barges on the Gulf coast, and the California Co., now Chevron. He met his wife during one of these summers; she was a Houma native, and they moved to Houma permanently in 1953. Shortly afterwards he took an engineering job with Schlumberger, which he held until 1962, mostly working in shallow water offshore. He then worked for Houma Valves in sales, later for Lane Wells as logging manager, before starting his own companies. Mr. Monteiro, with his sons, operated companies ranging from construction, to boat building, to air transport, to measurement, to engineering consulting. In 1985 he went bankrupt and has never fully recovered. This interview is full of opinion and slander, but is rich as a look into the project period in Houma.

Item 00955: 00955_Kennedy, Sean_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Sean Kennedy on board his yacht which was in Pascagoula at a dry dock for a coast guard inspection. I had been given a tour of the yacht by the captain. Mr. Kennedy showed up in the afternoon after doing some errands around time. He is energetic, bouncy, always appears to be thinking about 100 things at the same time and jumping from subject to subject. While I had been visiting with the crew in the morning he would call them every 30-40 minutes to ask a question about this or that, they were never sure what he was working on, thinking, or where he was. They didn't know when he was going to come back, either, and he just arrived at some point mid afternoon. I explained the study and we sat at the counter in the kitchen for the interview. It was uncertain if he thought it was an oral history interview, he said he'd talk to me more over the summer in NY. [Note later: I did go and meet Mr. Kennedy in New York City at Chelsea Pier, where his boat is docked. We had a miscommunication so only had a few minutes to talk, but he pointed out a few things and signed a consent form for the oral history study for this interview. We didn't have time to continue it, however.]

Item 00956: 00956_Nelson, Sheila_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Sheila Nelson while mapping the oil center with Lillian Miller back in September. We were walking around and stopped in the MedcoEnergi office to look at their paintings in the lobby, and Sheila was introduced to us. She seemed very willing to talk and I stayed in touch with her in the hope that we could set up an interview upon my return to the area.

Sheila Nelson was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana. Her family is from Scott and Carencro, and she describes her family as poor Creole sharecroppers who were not well educated. She was among the first in her family to complete high school (1978), and went on to college before leaving after 3.5 years to take care of her ailing mother. She said she had no regrets about leaving for her mother, because family is important to her. In 1981 she was married to her husband. He comes from New Iberia and she described his family as a long line of sugarcane farmers. From 1981-1982 when the bust began, his family encouraged them to move to New Iberia because it was in a better location and they found work there. Sheila got a job at Sears to supplement their income and they lived in an apartment to save money. Her first job in the oil industry was with Fireboss, whom she worked for from 1986-1990. Her duties for Fireboss included being a receptionist and training workers with their safety glasses. From 1986-1988 she and her husband and two daughters moved to New York for work because jobs in Lafayette were not available. In the 1990s, she and her husband and two daughters moved to California for about a year. Her husband stayed to work, but they came home to Lafayette. She worked for the Daily Iberian in the early 1990s (a newspaper out of New Iberia).She became one of the first female and Creole lay ministers in her Catholic church 1978 or 1979. She recently became actively involved with her church again because she enjoys it and has a strong faith.

She worked for CSI Service Tech, American Oilfield Divers, and Schlumberger. At American Oilfield Divers, she was involved in operations directly with 6 project managers, calling divers to their locations. At Schlumberger, she was a data coordinator where she converted raw data from offshore to supply to MMS.

She began in a temp agency and they eventually placed her at MedcoEnergi (first Darcy Exploration then Louisiana Oil and Gas before it became MedcoEnergi in 2005). She is currently in charge of human resources at MedcoEnergi. She said it was a milestone for her to be working in the industry and has provided an open door of opportunity to her and other members of her family. She discusses the moratorium, the culture of this area, and what keeps her coming back.

Item 00957: 00957_Lagrone, Wayne_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Preetam had met Wayne Lagrone while visiting the Workforce Development Program associated with Meridian Community College in Meridian, MS. Wayne was currently the workforce project manager at the community college. He had spent the greater part of his career in management in a variety of industrial settings, but had been introduced to Preetam by one of the instructors at the Workforce Development Program because he had worked offshore in the early 1970s. Preetam contacted Wayne the following week and they arranged to meet at Meridian Community College. Wayne had worked offshore for just a little over a year, and so could not speak to many of the long-term transformations that had affected the industry. However, his perspective was somewhat unique in that he had entered the industry with a college degree. He had been born and grew up in Alabama but had gone to college in Mississippi and entered Shell Oil Company’s training program for recent graduates soon after receiving his degree. Wayne discussed the unique aspects of his experiences offshore in light of the numerous positions that he had worked in since that time.

Item 00958: 00958_Luke, Stanley David_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had stopped at Mr. Luke’s ice and fuel plant before to speak with him, his son, and wife about how their business had been since the oil spill. Mr. Luke’s son ran a business unloading shrimp out of the same location as the ice and fuel plant. I had spoken with Mr. Luke a few times after this initial meeting about getting together to do an oral history interview. I decided to stop by the plant today to see if I might catch him there. Mr. Luke turned out to be in the office and agreed to do the interview that day.

Mr. Luke was born in Dulac, LA in 1940. His father had worked as farmer and trapper and had eventually become involved in the seafood processing business and had moved the family down to Dulac from Franklin, LA at this point. Mr. Luke had briefly attended college, before joining the Marines in the late 1950s. He worked for the oil industry, both on a rig as well as in a warehouse, for a few years before going to work in the seafood processing business in the mid-1960s. He had operated his father’s processing plant until 1981, when he handed this plant over to his brother and started his own. In 1994, Mr. Luke had opened the ice and fuel plant in Biloxi where we met for the interview. He had been motivated to do so in part by the fact that it was often difficult for Louisiana fishermen and shrimpers to get fuel and ice at locally owned plants. In 2000, Mr. Luke had sold his processing plant in Dulac and had since then operated just the plant in Biloxi. His business had suffered considerable damage during Hurricane Katrina and had been powerfully impacted by the oil spill as well.

Item 00959: 00959_Prosperie, Werlien (Moose)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Prosperie was referred by his friend Leland Crochet, who sat in on the interview and makes several comments through the course of it.  We met at the Jolly Inn, a Cajun restaurant and dance hall owned by Mr. Prosperie.  The dance hall is decorated with photos and artifacts from Houma’s early days – oilrigs and crews, hunting and fishing in the bayou, and the town itself.  Retired from work in the oil field, he now runs the Jolly Inn and plays accordion in a local band.  He spoke proudly of his career with Texaco and later in the “fish and tool” support industry.   

Mr. Prosperie was born June 19, 1935 in a houseboat on the bayou south of Montague, Louisiana.  He and his mother moved to Houma after his parents divorced when he was seven years old.  He shined shoes and did street performances starting at this age, while his mother worked in a sugar refinery.  At the age of 18, he began working in the oilfield which continued for 45 years, until his retirement in 2000.

Item 00960: 00960_Lynn, Robert Jr._MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had spoken to Robert Lynn, Jr. on the phone and we set up a time to meet. His machine shop is tucked in next to part of Flechas' shipyard, behind a large overgrown fence. I arrived and parked next to one of the doors. The shop is in a large metal building and surrounded by overgrown vegetation and some small piles of scrap metal. Inside the shop there are a number of very large machines and piles and piles of metal – some rusty, some new, some that looked like they had been (or were) tools and others that looked like scraps or pieces of metal to be used for something. We introduced ourselves and Mr. Lynn explained that he was still cleaning up from the hurricane, the shop wasn't usually in such bad condition but he had to pull apart all the machines, clean them and put them back together, and he was still going through everything else to see what was worth saving. He found a folding chair for me and he sat on a roll of wire near one of the doors where we could have a couple of fans pointed in our direction. Once I explained the project he was very open to talking with me, much more interested than I had suspected from our first conversation. He was wearing a set of blue coveralls and a hat with sneakers – one shoelace untied. He's a tall man with graying hair and glasses. He's 72 years old.

Item 00961: 00961_Rhodes, Wilson (Tut)_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Rhodes contacted me after seeing the Courier article, stating that he would like to participate in the study. He said that he wanted to be sure I was getting people to “tell it to me straight” about the role of the oil industry in the area. He spent his entire career working in the industry, and wished to share his perspective. We met at his house in Houma. Mr. Rhodes was considerably more critical of the oil companies than most of his peers in the area. In addition to speaking about his experience working for an oilfield service company, he commented at length on the corruption at all levels of the industry in south Louisiana, and the mixed impact it has had on the people of the region.

Mr. Rhodes was born in Houma in 1933. His father was a fisherman and oysterman. Mr. Rhodes trawled for shrimp when he was younger. His two older brothers worked for McDermott, on derrick barges. Mr. Rhodes studied for two years at Nichols State, and then went to Korea with the 101st airborne division from 1957-59. Upon his return to Houma he was married, and began working for Dresser (later bought out by Halliburton). He began with the company as a rigger, running wire line and logging. The second half of his career was spent in sales and service, finally as an operations superintendent. He retired in 1991.

Item 00962: 00962_McGoffin, Gary_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Gary McGoffin through David Goodwyn. David referred me to Gary because he sees him as an active community member (he’s been involved in boy scouts his whole life), is a civic award recipient, and has worked in the oil center since the 1980s.

Gary’s parents moved him and his family to Lafayette, Louisiana from Kansas when he was 10 years old in 1962. He graduated in 1970, but went back to law school for his Master’s and stayed to get his Doctorate, which he received in 1976. He says he stayed in school during that time because he wanted to avoid the draft. He worked as a clerk for one year in Saint Landry parish. He then worked as a landman for two years from 1977-1979 in the New Orleans area. He said he had a lot of fun, but didn’t see it as a future career. So in 1979 he began working in legal services and has been working as an attorney since.

He discusses the deteriorating education system and negative race relations, which he sees as the most critical issues facing Lafayette today. He talks about Lafayette over time and how it has changed in industry, culture, and economics. He also describes the current effects felt from the moratorium and the BP spill.

Item 00963: 00963_Spencer, Robert_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I arranged to meet Mr. Spencer on the last day of classes for the year at Moss Point High School, where he instructs students in welding. He had played some of the students the CD of his previous interviews that I had given him the week before, and they were interested in meeting the woman who did the interviews. During the first interview he discussed his working life and during this interview he discussed his early life.

Mr. Spencer was born in 1942 and grew up on a farm in Coy, Alabama, before moving with his family to Mobile in 1957 when his father got a job with Alcor Aluminum. He graduated from Central High School in 1960 and took two years of schooling each at Bishop State Branch of Alabama State Teacher’s College and a vocational school, where he got his certificate in welding. He was drafted into the military and was released in 1967. During the last half of the interview he discusses his family’s subsistence off the land during his childhood and his love of hunting and fishing.

Item 00964: 00964_Savoy, George Allen_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Jacob Campbell

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mr. Savoy was referred by Emory Beltaine, who refused to be interviewed but said Mr. Savoy would provide good information.  He has a wide network of contacts in the oil industry in the region, due to his decision to work only for himself throughout his career – he ran a welding and construction business, working for many different companies.  He spoke about working through the challenge of not being from Houma, and competing for contracts in the tight-knit community.  Mr. Savoy has bred and raised beagles for rabbit hunting since retiring.

Mr. Savoy was born in Cameron, LA, in 1928.  His father was a farmer, and served as a French interpreter in WWI.  In 1948, Mr. Savoy started with McDermott as a roustabout, working between Sulphur and Cameron, LA.  He joined the military, serving in Guam and California from ’50 to ’54.  In 1955, he returned to the region and began again working for McDermott, laying pipeline and driving piling.  He quit in 1972 due to problems with new management, and that year started a welding and pipe fabrication yard.  He capitalized on contacts with major companies accrued through his time with McDermott, and had work right away, mainly with Conoco.  He built a reputation for good work, and got contracts this way rather than through payoffs, which he said was common.  Mr. Savoy sold his company in 1982, just before the bust hit, saying he saw the writing on the wall.

Item 00965: 00965_Rodriguez, Joseph_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I dropped in on the Bayou La Batre office of Rodriguez Boat Builders. It's a small trailer set at the edge of the parking lot, cream and wood inside. I knocked and walked in, there was only one person there when I showed up. It was Joseph Rodriguez, the president, I explained the study and gave him the description. He said he had just a few minutes to talk with me before lunch, and then I could come back another day. However, the interview ran longer than that. Periodically when I asked him if he had to go he said no, I could ask a few more questions. He's in his early 50s and very energetic. There are frequent interruptions, at many points it seems like he's the only person in the office so he periodically answers the phone when it rings, and once has to check an email that came in to see if it was important or talk to a worker who came in to discuss something.

Box 17
Item 00966: 00966_McIlwain, Thomas_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I met Dr. McIlwain at his office at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL). We had spoken on the phone but never met in person. I had first introduced myself and the study some weeks before, and he mentioned he had been giving it some thought before the interview.

He has been a resident of Ocean Springs, Mississippi since 1966. He grew up in Pascagoula, living behind Ingalls where his father worked for 44 years. He discusses what life was like in Pascagoula during and after World War Two, and provides some details about a union strike and pressure to join the union. He also worked in the Ingalls yard from 1958 to 1959, first as a machinist apprentice and later as an aid in the nuclear power department, in between taking college courses and joining the army. He discusses the work that he did in those sectors (e.g., on USS Blueback, Sculpin, and Snook). He graduated with a B.S. degree in biology and psychology, and later an M.S. from the University of Southern Mississippi. In March of ’65 he began working for the GCRL, which is part of USM. He received his doctorate in 1978. He discusses the year he took off to work with then Congressman Trent Lott in 1983, as a legislative assistant on marine issues and his role in the creation of the MARFIN Program. He continued at the GCRL lab, acting as director from 1989 until he retired in 1994. Then he worked for NOAA and also again as a leg assistant with then Senator Lott (Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act). Since 2003 he has functioned as the program coordinator for the development of the Cedar Point Campus and more recently was appointed to the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council.

Item 00967: 00967_McKinsey, Johnny_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Johnny McKinsey, who lived in the far southwestern corner of MS, had originally been referred to Preetam by Walter Heathcock who had been previously interviewed for the study. Mr. McKinsey had acted as a mentor of sorts for Walter when the latter first entered the offshore oil industry in the 1970s, and Walter credited Mr. McKinsey with imparting to him much of the basic knowledge which enabled him to stay safe and to succeed in his work in the oil field. Johnny’s wife was present for much of the interview, which took place in the sunroom of their home. Johnny had initially begun working for a local contractor in the industry in the 1950s after graduating high school. He and his wife had lived in Chalmette, LA for several years while Johnny worked onshore for a contractor. During a temporary lull in the onshore oil industry, Johnny took advantage of the availability of an offshore job with Chevron to move back to Marion County, MS in the late 1950s where he and his wife were originally from and where they had always intended to return. He had worked his way up from a roustabout to drilling supervisor during his time with Chevron. He remembered the late 1960s-1970s as the time when many people from MS had initially gone to work offshore. Johnny was generally positive about the changes that he had witnessed during his time in the industry, saying that the oil field had become “much more educated” over the course of time. He had retired from working offshore in the early 1990s, during a time when Chevron and other major oil companies were offering many of their longstanding workers retirement packages. Since then, he had worked at a variety of different jobs, including driving trucks for a friend’s construction company, as well as raising horses on his own property.

Item 00968: 00968_Owen, Thomas_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had met Thomas Owen at the Jazz Club some months ago. Sometime after that we met at the bar at the La Font Inn and I told him about the study in more detail and he agreed to participate. He's a shorter man, balding, with gray hair sometimes covered by a baseball cap. I see him most often in a black leather bomber jacket and often run into him at the Jazz Club. The interview was conducted at his house in Pascagoula, a one story, brick building a couple of blocks from the water. He is still in the process of finishing the work post-Katrina, so we did the interview in the living room. The kitchen has no furniture and there are still wires dangling from unfinished light sockets, though it is almost completed. The living room has few knick-knacks, mostly utilitarian objects, though there are a couple of pieces of nice wood furniture that he had re-done after the hurricane. We discuss the study briefly and begin the interview.

Item 00969: 00969_McRoy, Arthur and Juanita_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had met Mr. and Mrs. McRoy earlier in the spring at the Historical Society booth at the Blessing of the Fleet. We made arrangements to meet at the historical society museum for an oral history interview. They were just pulling up when I arrived, they're both older, slight, with gray hair. The historical society museum is a historic house just outside of town. It's set back a little from the road, with oak and bushes shielding it slightly from 188. The back two rooms are packed full of stuff, including an old cash register that used to be at one of the drug stores downtown. They started talking almost immediately after I met them, it took a bit to get them to listen to what I had to say long enough to get them to sign the OH forms. In the meantime they told me that Irvington was founded by citrus industry workers, then at the turn of the [last] century there was a big freeze and a white-fly infestation that killed the trees. After that they raised tongue oil. They think I should read “Whistling women crowing hens” by Julien Rappaport, he's dead now. He was a Joe Cane supporter. The book is a collection of stories and tales from the Bayou. It's been out of print since the 50s.

Item 00970: 00970_Miller, Lillian_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Laura Ek

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Lillian Miller, a previous history study participant and current independent contractor on the Post Deepwater Horizon project contracted with BARA discusses her feelings about being involved in, and the subject of, a short film on her life and work in both peace activism, her offshore work, and her thoughts on both. Laura and Lillian discuss the process of their collaboration and making the video.

Item 00972: 00972_Zirlott, Jeremy_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jeremy Zirlott had been referred to me by his parents who had been involved in the local seafood industry for a long time. They had said that Mr. Zirlott operated large freezer boats that went shrimping in the deep waters of the Gulf and that he could give me some insight into the historical and current state of this particular facet of the seafood industry. I had tried contacting Mr. Zirlott soon after speaking with his parents but he was out on the water at the time. After I interviewed Mr. Zirlott’s brother in February, I attempted to contact him again and this time we agreed to meet at his home in Coden for an interview.

Mr. Zirlott was born in 1972 and had grown up in Coden. He recalled that both the shipyards and processing plants were important to the local economy while he was growing up in the area. Mr. Zirlott had grown up working with his parents on the water and had gone to work shrimping full time after he had gotten out of school. Mr. Zirlott regretted what he perceived as the steady decline of interest among younger people in the area in the local seafood industry. In response to the rise in imports, increased fuel prices, and other factors which had impacted the industry over the years, Mr. Zirlott had gotten further into the retail side of the seafood industry. He had recently purchased his own dock space and maintained storage space to stock his own shrimp. In the course of the interview he expressed his uncertainty about what the oil spill might portend for these investments and for the future of the shrimping industry more generally speaking.

Item 00973: 00973_Zirlott, Patricia and Victor_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I had been told some time ago to contact Patricia and Victor if I wanted to learn more about the history of the fishing and shrimping industry in the area. I eventually called and spoke with Patricia who was enthusiastic about the idea of meeting for an interview and told me to come on over to the house later on that day to speak with herself and her husband Victor. I interviewed Patricia and Victor in their kitchen. Victor still goes out crabbing and shrimping and they still operate a seafood processing business from behind their home.

Patricia and Victor were respectively born in 1953 and 1951 in the Coden area and had lived and worked there throughout the course of their life. Both of their families had a lengthy history in the seafood industry. Victor’s father had also worked running supply boats for the offshore oil industry for much of his career and Victor discussed the events that had resulted in his father beginning to work for the industry. Victor had worked offshore very briefly and expressed not having enjoyed the work. Since the late 1980s Patricia and Victor had operated a seafood shop which they had expanded upon in various ways over the years. Originally they had only processed seafood, but had over the years had come to market a variety of gourmet products. They said that these efforts had worked for a long time but that more recently numerous factors had contributed to making it increasingly difficult to make a living in the seafood industry.

Item 00974: 00974_Zirlott, Robert Chris_MMS/BOEM

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Arizona

I was referred to Chris Zirlott when I had asked about people in the area who might be able to speak about the history of the local shrimping and fishing industry. I had called Chris a few weeks later and had spoken with him and his wife. He had said that he would likely be available to do an interview the following week. When I called back the following week, Chris said to come on over to his house in Coden, where we spoke at his dining room table.

Chris had been born in Coden in 1949. He had grown up fishing and shrimping and had also learned the basics of shipbuilding when he was younger. He had worked for a short period of time in the shipyards and the paper mill in Pascagoula and Moss Point before deciding to go back into shrimping and fishing full time. Like his younger brother, Chris had worked on an offshore supply boat briefly before deciding that it was not for him. He discussed how many others involved with the local seafood industry had begun to work for the offshore oil industry over the years as it became more and more difficult to make a living. Chris described the 1980s and part of the 1990s being a good time for shrimping and fishing. However, in recent years, hard economic times had hit the industry forcing Chris to start selling used cars on the side in order to make ends meet.

Item 00975: 00975_Zirlott, Simon_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Preetam Prakash

Affiliation: University of Houston

I had interviewed Mr. Zirlott’s parents for the oral history project a few months prior and they had mentioned that they had two sons involved in the shrimping and fishing industry whom I might try to interview as well. I actually happened to arrive at Mr. Zirlott’s house by accident, while I was searching for an oyster processing plant. Mr. Zirlott and I had spoken for a while on this occasion about the current state of the fishing industry in the area after the oil spill, as well as some of the history of this industry in the area. I had asked Mr. Zirlott if he might be willing to do an oral history interview at some point and he had said that he was planning on heading up to central AL to go hunting for a few weeks but that I could contact him in February. I got a hold of Mr. Zirlott a few weeks later and we agreed to meet at his house.

Mr. Zirlott was born and raised in the Coden area. He had worked with his parents in the seafood industry while he was growing up and had decided at an early point in his life that this was how he wanted to make his living. He had quit school and gone to work as a fisherman in his mid-teens and did not regret having done so. Mr. Zirlott described himself as being among the few people in the area who focused almost entirely on commercial fishing, and said that he had been attracted by the particular challenges presented by fishing relative to shrimping, crabbing, or other pursuits. Mr. Zirlott said that while fishing had been relatively less impacted by imports and falling prices, increased regulations had played a major role in affecting his ability to make a living. Mr. Zirlott was confident about the Gulf’s ability to recover in the aftermath of the oil spill and believed that the greatest damage to the seafood industry after the oil spill had come from the negative media attention that was focused on the area.

Item 00977: 00977_Baker, Larry_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Larry Baker II followed his father into the offshore fabrication business at the Orange, Texas yard of the Levingston Shipbuilding Company, where Larry Baker, Sr., had worked since 1948.  Larry Baker II started out in the 1960s as a pipefitter helper, rising quickly through the ranks.  After spending several years in Singapore on assignment for Levingston, Larry Baker, Jr., returned stateside to find himself without a job.  After a brief stint with Bethlehem Steel, the two Bakers founded Baker Marine in the mid-1970s, which grew during the remainder of the decade and into the 1980s to become an international leader in the fabrication of jack-up drilling rigs.

Item 00978: 00978_Baugh, Benton_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

BentonBaugh was born and raised in Houston, where he decided he wanted to be an engineer.  After graduating from the University of Houston, Baugh nearly went to work for NASA in 1965, but delays in acquiring a security clearance pushed him towards working for Camco and Cameron in the offshore petroleum industry.  At Cameron, Baugh installed computer hardware on drilling rigs. After about five years, Baugh went to work for Vetco Offshore (AS Ventura Tool Company), and was the firm’s third Houston employee hired.  Nine years later, Baugh started his own consulting firm, Baugh Consulting Engineers, where he remains active at the time of interview.

Item 00979: 00979_Benoit, George_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer:  Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

George Benoit hailed from Lafayette, Louisiana, and signed up with Tennessee Gas Transmission Co. (Tenneco) in 1960. There, he assisted in surveying and clearing the right-of-way for the Muskrat line.  After being promoted to a corrosion technician at Tenneco in 1965, Benoit finished a degree at the University of Southwestern Louisiana.  By 1972, Benoit was transferred to Houma, to work in Tenneco’s engineering department.  There, he helped to profile the subsea valves in the Gulf of Mexico, working to eliminate protrusions that would snag the nets of the local shrimpers.  From 1974 to 1981, Benoit worked as chief inspector for several of Tenneco’s major pipeline systems in the Gulf of Mexico.  By the 1990s, Benoit worked as a superintendent in several districts for Tenneco.  Benoit retired in 2008, after forty-three years in the business.

Item 00981: 00981_Brandt, Ivar_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Ivar Brandt was raised in the suburbs of Oslo, Norway, and after university was hired in 1974 by SINTEF, a large research and development organization. There, Brandt called upon knowledge gained in nearly two years spent in the Norwegian navy, working on naval architecture.  At SINTEF, Brandt helped to develop and market several sophisticated software packages used by offshore oil and gas operators for large-scale data acquisition, management, and interpretation.

Item 00982: 00982_Brown, R.J._MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Robert J. Brown found his first job in the petroleum industry in 1950, working as the tail chainman on a Tennessee Gas pipeline survey crew.  His tenure with Tenneco took him between sites in New England and Texas, and then on to the Muskrat Pipeline in the marshes of Louisiana.  By 1969, Brown left to serve as chief engineer for the Collins Construction Company, and in that position he took on work as far afield as Venezuela and the Persian Gulf.  Brown earned a master’s degree in civil engineering at Stanford University in 1962, and seven years later he and two partners formed R.J. Brown and Associates.  There, Brown oversaw work on designing and fabricating lay-barges; pipeline towing operations in the North Sea and elsewhere; and innovative work in the Canadian Arctic in the mid-1970s.  As of the interview date, Brown’s company, a subsidiary of Technip, was named R.J. Brown Deepwater.

Item 00983: 00983_Burton, Curtis_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Curtis Burton grew up in both Mississippi and India, and graduated from the University of Texas in 1979 with a degree in engineering.  Burton took on with Otis Engineering, and was able to work on the landmark Argyll floating production system in the North Sea, the first of its kind.  Next employed by Seaflo, Burton relocated to London to help establish its office there, and became involved in the Balmoral development in the North Sea, and TLP projects like Snorre. Burton later worked alongside Petrobras on electro-hydraulic control systems in the Campos Basin of Brazil.  In the early 1990s, Burton became involved in contracting with Texaco and the nascent DeepStar group, helping to get the deepwater oil and gas industry on its feet in the Gulf of Mexico.

Item 00984: 00984_Caraway, Newsom_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]
Item 00985: 00985_Carter, John_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

John Carter’s father worked for a quarter of a century as a production manager for Burma Oil, and his son followed him into the oil business.  Living in Glasgow, Scotland, Carter studied mechanical engineering and graduated in 1964, then promptly joined Shell.  He soon went to work in the North Sea, and then served in various positions in the United States, Asia, and beyond.  He worked on the landmark Castellon FPSO off of Spain, the first of its kind.  After many more years of FPSO-related work, Carter then went into general gas management in the UK, with Shell, and remained there until he retired.

Item 00986: 00986_Glenn, Chance_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Glenn G. Chance was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1930, and enlisted in the Marines when he came of age during the Korean War.  He returned in 1951 to work for the Lee C. Moore corporation, manufacturing drilling tools.  A few years later, Chance started his own firm, Chance Sales & Service.  He was soon after scooped up by Drilco, and Chance relocated to Morgan City to oversee a manufacturing shop.  Chance, in 1976, started another firm, named Chance Collar Company.  By the 1970s, multiple firms were licensing Chance’s patented drilling innovations.  He sold the company in 1982, luckily cashing out before the big slump in the business during the mid-1980s.

Item 00987: 00987_Cheramie, Depp_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Depp Cheramie went to work for Texaco in his native Louisiana in 1971, when he was 19 years old.  After a decade with the firm, Cheramie moved on to Shell Oil in 1982, working as a senior operator on an offshore platform located in Eugene Island.  After focusing on training in electronics, Cheramie was tapped to work on the landmark Auger tension-leg platform (TLP) project in 1992.  In 1999, he was transferred to work on Shell’s Ursa TLP, sometimes known as “Auger’s big sister.”  By 2005, Cheramie moved to work with Shell’s gas pipeline business, and stayed with it after Enbridge acquired the group from Shell.  There, his portfolio included overseeing the commissioning of the 120-mile offshore Nautilus pipeline.

Item 00988: 00988_Christ, Robert_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Rob Christ attended Louisiana Tech University and emerged with dual degrees in aviation and accounting.  After a stint as a CPA, Christ joined up with the work of his father, C.J. Christ, in the subsea diving and remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) industry along the Gulf Coast.  Hired by Oceaneering as an ROV technician, Rob Christ was also able to assist with his father’s historical work in the Gulf of Mexico, including the search for the sunken German submarine, U-166, lost in July 1942 in more than 5,000 feet of water.  Upon leaving Oceaneering, Rob Christ founded his own company, Video Ray.  After building Video Ray’s annual revenues to about $6 million, Christ sold his interest in the firm and founded SeaTrepid, which focuses on small- and medium-sized tele-operated robotics and ROVs in subsea exploration and engineering.  After the catastrophic hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005, Christ’s firm was flush with storm clean-up and scientific work.

Item 00989: 00989_Cloyd, Marshall_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Marshall Cloyd studied engineering at both Berkeley and Southern Methodist University before finishing a master’s at Stanford and Harvard Business School.  In 1959, Cloyd began working in Mississippi for Brown & Root.  Before long he followed the firm into the early platform design efforts in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, engineering parts of the heavy drilling barges needed in the Arctic environment.  Cloyd later returned to Gulf Coast work for offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, before transferring to California to manage the Santa Barbara platforms.  There, he and other groups within Brown & Root helped in the clean-up after the 1969 well blowout and oil spill at Santa Barbara.  Cloyd later saw work in the North Sea as well.  Cloyd purchased a small boat service company in the early 1980s, and remains Chairman at the time of interview.

Item 00990: 00990_Curole, Windell_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Windell Curole served as the General Manager of the South Lafourche Levee District for over thirty years, overseeing hurricane and flood protection projects.  Previously, Curole worked as the Assistant Director for the Lafourche Parish Emergency Preparedness.  Curole’s involvement in coastal activities has led him to serve on various committees and organizations including the Governor’s Coastal Restoration and Conservation Advisory Commission (between 2002 and 2006) and on the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. He also served on the Lafourche Parish Coastal Zone Management Committee for over 13 years and was the CZM Administrator.  Curole attended Nicholls State University, where he earned a degree in Biology.

Item 00991: 00991_Curtis, Lawrence Buck_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Lawrence B. “Buck” Curtis graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in 1949 and promptly went to work for Conoco in its Wyoming oil fields.  Curtis soon wound up leading a burgeoning engineering group for the company in its New York City office, overseeing international efforts.  At the Fetah area in Dubai, Curtis helped to pioneer the use of underwater oil storage domes in the 1960s.  In 1972, Curtis was transferred to Houston, Texas, to head up Conoco’s Production Engineering Services (PES) group.  Curtis, widely heralded as the “father” of the tension-leg platform, or TLP, recounts his efforts to pioneer the system at the North Sea Hutton field as well as at the Gulf of Mexico’s Jolliet development.

Item 00994: 00994_Danenberger, Elmer_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Elmer “Bud” Danenberger III has a long and distinguished career as an offshore oil and gas expert in the U.S. Department of the Interior.  Trained as an engineer at Pennsylvania State University, Danenberger took a job in 1971 with the now-defunct Conservation Division of the United States Geological Service.  Danenberger played a key role during a busy period in which the Outer Continental Shelf program was opening frontier areas for leasing for the first time. Work included writing new regulatory orders, reviewing exploration and production plans, and performing inspections. At the time of his retirement in January 2010, Danenberger was the chief of offshore regulatory programs for the MMS.  After the Deepwater Horizon incident in April 2010, Danenberger served as an expert and senior advisor to several of the resultant investigations into the oil spill, including the White House-chartered National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.

Item 00995: 00995_Enze, Charles_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Charles “Chuck” Enze grew up in South Dakota, where he attended South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, graduating in 1975 as a civil engineer.  Enze took on with Shell Oil at the start of 1976, eager to work on offshore platform designs for the Gulf of Mexico.  In 1977 he was tapped to assist the design and construction team for the Cognac deepwater platform.  After stints with Shell in Houston; California; and on the North Slope of Alaska working on Shell’s offshore efforts in the Chukchi Sea, Enze returned to the Gulf of Mexico as Shell ramped up its efforts in the nascent deepwater basin.  From 1987 to 2006, Enze served in a number of capacities for Shell in deepwater, from overseeing the development of the Auger tension-leg platform from construction to its installation in the early 1990s, to overseeing the work of multiple Shell business groups from 2000 until his retirement six years later.

Item 00996: 00996_Frankhouser, Homer (Frank)_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Frank Frankhouser attended Lehigh University, where he earned a degree in civil engineering before serving as a company officer in the U.S. Army in the Korean War.  Come peacetime, Frankhouser signed on with the Dravo Corporation, doing heavy civil construction and engineering. When Dravo expanded into the offshore business in 1969, Frankhouser was tapped to be the vice president and general manager of Dravo Ocean Structures, newly established in New Orleans.  In 1972, he joined Brown & Root, and was soon sent to London to help manage the Forties development.  Thereafter, Frankhouser managed the major Stratfjord-B project.  In 1989, Frankhouser returned to the states, and retired in 1992.

Item 00997: 00997_Freire, Wagner_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Wagner Freire was born and raised in Brazil, where he completed five years of civil and nuclear engineering education in 1957.  After graduation, Freire quickly joined up with Petrobras, the country’s national oil company, starting out by progressing through a two-year course in the nascent field of petroleum geology.  From that point, in 1960, Freire served in roles pertaining to both surface geology and seismic acquisition and mapping.  In 1968, Freire was appointed chief geophysicist for Petrobras, where he pushed for the adoption of advanced seismic tools and data processing capacity.  He oversaw the firm’s first digital seismic survey, shot in the Espirito Santo basin; he also managed the company’s later concerted efforts in the Campos Basin, which yielded major finds in the 1970s and 1980s.

Item 00998: 00998_Frisbie, Richard (Dick)_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer:Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Dick Frisbie was born in California but grew up in South Africa.  He attended Virginia Tech, gaining a degree in mechanical engineering before working for Pratt & Whitney for three years.  After several years in the U.S. Army, including time spent in-country during the Vietnam War, Frisbee returned stateside.  At Old Dominion University, he earned a master’s degree in physical oceanography.  He took on with a firm called Ocean Systems, based near Washington, D.C., working as a diving systems engineer.  There, Frisbie was involved in some of the very first industrial uses of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) for both general offshore and marine petroleum uses.  Frisbie stayed with Ocean Systems as the firm became part of Oceaneering in 1984 after an acquisition; by then Frisbie had become general manager for ROVs.  Frisbie continued to work for Oceaneering for decades, in a multitude of roles.

Item 01000: 01000_Godfrey, Dan_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest and Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Dan Godfrey moved to New Orleans in 1968 after completing a master’s degree in structural engineering at Washington State University.  Godfrey soon signed on with Shell Oil.  Some of his early engineering work focused on introducing saltwater disposal methods, newly required by federal environmental laws passed in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Other stints included work from The Hague on North Sea platform installation, and in a Houston research center on methods for drilling in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea.  At the sanction of the Cognac fixed-jacket production platform in the mid-1970s, Godfrey was tapped to supervise its fabrication work.  By the early 1980s, Godfrey had come to manage Shell’s offshore engineering and construction group in Houston, after which he served as a production superintendent for multiple Gulf of Mexico block areas. Come 1987, he also worked briefly in Brazil as a Shell manager with multiple responsibilities. Godfrey returned stateside in 1990 to work on the deepwater Gulf of Mexico Mars project early on in its development, shepherding it through a changing economic climate and challenging technical issues.

Item 01001: 01001_Gregory, John_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

John Gregory attended college at Stevens Institute before joining the U.S. Navy.  Gregory’s career then took him to Boeing, to work on gas turbines, before working for the Naval Research Lab starting in 1958.  By 1977, Dick Krahl recruited Gregory to join the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to help make sure that offshore operations were done in accordance with the requirement that they use the "best available and safest technologies.”  In the 1980s, as the USGS Conservation Division was merged into the new Minerals Management Service (MMS), Gregory helped establish a well-control test facility, or laboratory, at the Louisiana State University.  Gregory stayed on with MMS for a distinguished civil service career and induction into the Ocean Energy industry Hall of Fame.

Item 01002: 01002_Hubble, Elmo_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Elmo Hubble grew up in the oilfields of Illinois, and graduated from Oklahoma University in 1958 with a degree in petroleum engineering.  Hubble worked for the Federal Power Commission in Washington, D.C., for part of the 1960s, but found the U.S. Geological Survey far more amenable to his background and interests.  After a stretch in New Mexico, Hubble transferred to New Orleans in 1964.  There he helped to establish the Lafayette office of the USGS Conservation Division—later merged into the Minerals Management Service—and was elevated as MMS District Manager for Lafayette, covering offshore operations.

Item 01003: 01003_Huff, John_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

John Rossman Huff played football at Rice University and Georgia Tech in the 1960s, and he graduated with a degree in civil engineering from the latter.  After graduating in 1968, Huff joined the Offshore Company before signing up with Zapata in 1970.  At Zapata, Huff was involved in major business operations, where he especially enjoyed the marine side of the work.  Huff moved to Oceaneering in 1986, at the nadir of the economic slump in the petroleum business.  At Oceaneering, Huff rose steadily through the company and retired around twenty years later as its president.

Item 01004: 01004_Johnston, Dwight_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Dwight Johnston grew up in Dallas, Texas, into a family full of engineers.  He attended Texas A&M University, and graduated with a degree in civil structural engineering.  In 1978 he went to work in the oil patch with Shell, and remained with the company for over 32 years.  Johnston served in Houston and California, but landed in 1988 in the New Orleans area for good.  There, Johnston got on the ground floor of the industry’s push into deepwater in the Gulf of Mexico.  Johnston worked as a manager of technical services for such landmark developments like Mars, Brutus, and Ursa.  Afterwards, Johnston moved into the position of operations manager for both the Mars and Ram-Powell tension-leg platforms.

Item 01005: 01005_Jones, O.O._MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Ollie “Double-O” Jones grew up near Nacogdoches, Texas, where he finished high school in 1949.  Soon after graduation, the Tennessee Gas Transmission Co. (Tenneco) came in to survey a pipeline path, and Jones joined the company that August.  Jones moved so as to follow the progress of the work, and stayed on, surveying other lines like the Grand Chenier in the early 1950s.  While still in his mid-20s, Jones worked as a “rod man” on the Muskrat line from the Atchafalaya River eastward, clearing the way through the brush and vegetation.  After a long career with Tenneco, Jones retired in 1996, having accrued an impressive forty-seven years with the company.

Item 01008: 01008_Lagers, George_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

George Lagers was born in Maastricht, Germany, in the middle of the Second World War.  Lagers eventually became interested in naval architecture, and in 1968 earned his degree from Delft University.  Lagers’ first job was at a shipyard near Rotterdam, one engaged in offshore work (including fabricating jack-up rigs).  After nine years, Lagers left the yard in 1977 after having analyzed primarily dynamic positioning systems.  Then at the Ocean Minerals Company, Lagers worked on dynamic positioning issues in 1978 for a seafloor manganese nodule mining concern.  In 1992, Lagers formed his own one-man consulting company.  In the late 1990s, Lagers gained fame in the historical community when he co-published Fifty Years Offshore with Hans Veldman.

Item 01009: 01009_Lochridge, Joe_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Joe Lochridge grew up in central Texas, and attended Rice University on a Navy ROTC scholarship.  He served aboard an active-duty destroyer during the Korean War, and then had the opportunity to transfer to teach at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.  An engineer, Lochridge moved to Brown & Root after leaving military service.  He first worked in the marine design group, working on offshore structures primarily for Lake Maracaibo and the Gulf of Mexico.  Lochridge was briefly detailed for Brown & Root work in Libya, but returned to Houston in time to start working on the landmark Project Mohole in 1962.  During the remainder of his time at Brown & Root, Lochridge became involved primarily with pipeline work, including line laying and maintenance.

Item 01010: 01010_Mosing, Keith_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer:Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Mr. Mosing began working for the family company, Frank’s Casing Crew & Rental Tools (later, Franks International) in 1965 at age 14. He established the company’s first office outside of Louisiana, in 1974, and then led the expansion of its operations across North America and into South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Australia.  The international operations were formally organized into a separate company in 1981, with Mr. Mosing serving as the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Mosing was named Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of all the U.S. companies in July 2011, upon the retirement of his father, Donald E. Mosing.

Item 01011: 01011_Martini, Allan_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Allan Martini was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on January 11, 1928, where he attended Minneapolis public schools. Martini served in the military and followed this with attendance at the University of Minnesota, where he received his degree in Geological Engineering in 1951. After his studies, Martini began work as an exploration geologist with the California Company, a firm which would serve as a stepping stone to the formation of Chevron. His work in the field began in Casper, Wyoming, and over the course of the next 17 years he participated in exploration assignments in the Rocky Mountains / Williston Basin, the Louisiana Gulf Coast, and in California.

After his explorations in these areas, Martini became the Vice President of Exploration at another Chevron precursor, Western Operations Inc. In 1980 Martini became the president of Chevron Overseas Petroleum Inc., responsible for the exploration and production operations in foreign locales not including Canada, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. Allan would rise to become vice president of Chevron USA, a position he held from 1984 to 1986. After his presidency he was elected as a director of the Chevron Corporation, gaining responsibility for the company’s global exploration and production. He would retire from the company in 1988.

Item 01012: 01012_Nelson, Kenneth_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Ken Nelson’s father and his partner founded the Waldemar S. Nelson and Company in 1945. Ken grew up working in the Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and gas community from the get-go.  Much of the firm’s early work pertained to offshore sulfur extraction. The company also began to specialize in the design and build of fixed platform structures and topsides.  In 1999, Waldemar S. Nelson and Company, Inc., opened up a Houston office, eventually transferring about one-third of its business there from its headquarters in New Orleans.  At the time of interview, Nelson was a senior vice president for the firm.

Item 01014: 01014_Patterson, Robert_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Robert Patterson grew up just south of Jacksonville, FL, and he remained in his home state to attend the University of Florida. There he earned a terminal Doctoral degree in engineering science and mechanics.  Patterson abandoned his initial aim of becoming a professor after a chance encounter with a Shell employee, and he soon joined up.  Some of his early work included designing catenary pipeline arrangements for steel risers, to hang off of a floating structure.  That work took Patterson to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, where he worked on the Auger tension-leg platform designing its novel production riser and tensioning systems.  Patterson later worked on the Mars TLP as well.  In the late 1990s, Patterson was instrumental in the re-formation within Shell of a Deepwater Projects division.

Item 01015: 01015_Michel, Drew_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Drew Michel was born a native of south Louisiana, where he naturally gravitated to the oil patch.  Michel left his home in Morgan City in 1960 to join up with the U.S. Navy, after which he worked for both Honeywell Electronics, in California, and NASA.  On a trip back through Louisiana, Michel heard about an open position at Ocean Systems, having to do with deep diving, and he joined up.  Michel soon moved on to Taylor Diving in 1968, and stayed there for eighteen years.  Taylor deployed both divers and early-generation ROVs at Shell Oil’s massive Cognac fixed platform in the Gulf of Mexico in the late 1970s.  Michel was also involved with the installation of the Auger tension-leg platform, and continued to provide ROVs and subsea expertise to the offshore oil and gas industry for decades afterwards.

Item 01016: 01016_Peart, Doug_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Doug Peart graduated from Tulane University in 1977 with a degree in mechanical engineering.  He promptly went to work for Shell in New Orleans.  After working onshore on production projects for a number of years, Peart became a production superintendent offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.  As deepwater drilling began to rise in the early 1990s, Peart was called to become a deepwater project manager for Shell’s subsea systems, heading up the first such group, chartered in 1993.  Peart helped to bring major Shell projects like Tahoe, Auger, Popeye, and Mensa from design to first production.

Item 01017: 01017_Montague, David & Shannon, Mark_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewers: Tyler Priest and Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Dave Montague was trained at the Colorado School of Mines in petroleum engineering, but soon moved into petrophysics.  Shell soon hired him in that capacity, and by 1984, Montague’s career focused on unlocking the geological secrets of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.  As a member of Shell’s deepwater exploration group, Montague helped to discover major finds like the Auger, Mars, Ursa, Mensa, and Brutus fields.  Tapped in 1988 to work on Shell’s interdisciplinary “Turbidite Task Force” (organized to advance the firm’s knowledge of turbidite geology), Montague aided in the discovery that deepwater sands could produce oil and natural gas at strikingly high rates.

Mark Shannon began at Shell as a chemical engineer, before being informally drafted by the petrophysics team.  His work with Shell took him to California, the Gulf Coast, and beyond.  At the beginning of Shell’s serious efforts to understand the geology of the Gulf of Mexico beyond the edge of the continental shelf, Shannon was tapped to be one of three co-heads of Shell’s internal Turbidite Task Force in 1988.  There, he worked with colleagues like Dave Montague and others to decode the geology of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

Item 01019: 01019_Rabinowitz, Philip_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Dr. Phil Rabinowitz is a former professor of Oceanography and Geology & Geophysics in the College of Geosciences, at Texas A&M University.  Throughout his career, Rabinowitz has taught and completed extensive research in the areas of marine geology and geophysics, plate tectonic reconstruction, and scientific ocean drilling. He was named a Regents Professor by the Texas A&M Board of Regents in 2004 and held the D. B. Harris Chair in Geophysics.  Rabinowitz came to Texas A&M University in 1981 as a professor of Oceanography. Prior to that, he was a senior research associate at Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University in Palisades, New York, where he earned his doctorate in marine geophysics. After joining the faculty at A&M, Rabinowitz served as director of the Ocean Drilling Program from 1983 to 1995, was named professor of Geophysics in 1988, served as interim head of the Department of Geophysics from 1993 to 1994, and was head of the Department of Geology & Geophysics from 1994 to 1998.

Item 01020: 01020_Reggio, Villere_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Dolly Jorgensen

Affiliation: University of Houston

Villiers Reggio joined the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in 1976, where he aided in covering the leasing aspect of the offshore oil and gas program in the Gulf of Mexico.  Reggio worked on National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) assessments, and was an early proponent of the rigs-to-reefs idea.  In 1987, he published a small book that addressed the policy options for platform abandonment and reefing disposal, which would prove to be a foundational text for the rigs-to-reefs movement.

Item 01022: 01022_Rike, James (Jim)_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Jim Rike was born and raised in Malakoff, a small Texas town.  His career began at Kilgore Junior College, from which he transferred into Texas A&M University.  Rike only got through a few years at A&M before he was called up to serve in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War.  There he served as an aviation electronics technician’s mate.  After the war, Rike completed his degree in electrical engineering and joined Humble Oil.  By 1956, Rike had returned from a stint in West Texas back to the Houston area, where he continued his work at Humble on pipe engineering, helping to develop coiled tubing.  Rike helped Humble secure multiple patents on downhole or well engineering practices.  In 1970, Rike went on to found his own company as a consultant, Risk Services, primarily training the oil and gas workforce.

Item 01023: 01023_Rodrigue, Myron_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Myron Rodrigue was born and raised in Thibodaux, Louisiana, in 1947.  Rodriguez earned an engineering drafting certificate and joined the U.S. Army reserves, and in 1958 joined up with McDermott.  After a few promotions, Rodrigue attended night college for several years, learning cost analysis and gaining more engineering experience.  Rodrigue worked as a field engineer in McDermott’s fabrication yard, and then as a project engineer for the massive Shell Oil Cognac fixed platform in the 1970s.  He later worked for another fabrication firm on platforms for the North Sea, but returned to McDermott in time to work on Shell’s landmark Bullwinkle structure.  Rodrigue later worked for Aker, building large structures for deepwater projects in the Gulf of Mexico, including Conoco’s Jolliet tension-leg well platform.

Item 01026: 01026_Sevin, John_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

John Sevin graduated from high school in 1982, took a degree in petroleum engineering technology from Nichols State University, and began working for McDermott in 1988 at its Amelia yard.  Sevin worked on some of the pipe machining for Shell Oil’s landmark Auger tension-leg platform in the early 1990s.  When Shell began to fabricate the even larger Mars tension-leg platform, Sevin was appointed as head engineer for one of the facility’s five topsides modules—the process module.  Sevin also worked on Shell’s Ram-Powell, Ursa, and Brutus TLPs, rounding out his career with Bay Offshore.

Item 01028: 01028_Stallworth, Bill_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Bill Stallworth was born in Rosebud, Texas, in 1932.  After attending Tarleton for a few years, Stallworth transferred to Texas A&M University in 1951.  After two years spent in the U.S. Air Force, Stallworth went directly to Brown & Root in 1956.  He first worked as a cost engineer for a good amount of time in the Middle East on onshore-based petroleum projects.  Stalwart was involved in major British Petroleum projects in the North Sea during the 1980s and 1990s, including BP’s Forties field.

Item 01029: 01029_Sterling, Gordon_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest and Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University of Houston

Gordon Sterling was raised in Ontario, Canada, and quickly developed an interest in engineering. He earned a master’s degree in structural engineering at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania in 1965, and soon ended up with Shell Oil in Houston. Two years later, working out of New Orleans for Shell’s central engineering group, Sterling began working on major design projects for platforms in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. From there, Sterling gained experience at the Bellaire Research Center, and then worked on designing the early deepwater fixed platforms, including Shell’s Cognac and Bullwinkle developments. Gordon was then named manager of “Project X,” which turned out to be the Mars tension-leg platform development. Gordon retired from Shell in April 2000.

Item 01030: 01030_Swoboda, John_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

John Swoboda’s parents immigrated from Czechslovakia, and John was born in Galveston, Texas.  When a third party showed Swoboda’s father plans for an offshore drilling rig, John helped with its fabrication—on the workover rig that became known as Skytop.  During College, Swoboda worked for Collins Construction Company, helping to lay offshore pipelines in the late 1950s.  After college, Swoboda landed a job building military equipment for jet airplane munitions, at the start of the 1960s, and later assisted with an offshore diamond mining concern.  Doing business as a small firm back in the United States, Victoria Machine Works—which his father had founded—Swoboda was able to acquire several contracts from McDermott for barge fabrication.  His firm worked on a wide array of projects over the decades, including the U.S. Navy’s historic SEALAB habitat.  By the 1990s, the firm employed over 200 people.

Item 01031: 01031_Van Calcar, Hank_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Hank Van Calcar grew up on a ranch in Oregon, and attended Oregon State University to study power engineering.  With an additional master’s degree from OSU in hand by 1959, Van Calcar worked on control and feedback systems for TRW Systems.  After several years, Van Calcar relocated to Seattle to work for Honeywell, where he became involved in building dynamically-positioned ships for the offshore drilling contractor SEDCO.  Over his long career, Van Calcar worked on the landmark Shell Cognac fixed platform, as well as on the Exxon first-of-its-kind Lena guyed or compliant tower.  Van Calcar retired from Honeywell in 1992.

Item 01032: 01032_Vincken, Leon_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Leon Vincken was educated in the Netherlands in mechanical engineering, and joined Shell Oil in 1955.  Vincent was immediately sent to Venezuela, where he spent the next decade of his career. Upon returning to Europe, Vincent was assigned to the research section of Shell, on a p project working to determine the ultimate depth limit of a human diver.  Two and a half years later, Vincken was dispatched again—this time to the South China Sea.  Come 1975, he returned to The Hague to head up Shell’s offshore research group.  Vincent retired from Shell in 1989, and began his own senior management consultancy firm, before joining a commercial bank.

Item 01035: 01035_Vance, George_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer: Tyler Priest

Affiliation : University of Houston

George Vance grew up in Brooklyn, and from high school shipped off immediately to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.  Vance would end up spending twenty years in the Coast Guard, the first half as a shipboard engineer—primarily on an icebreaker—and the second as a professor back at the Academy.  Vance earned his doctorate while at the Academy, from the University of Rhode Island, focusing on modeling vessel behavior in ice.  For three years, Vance was able to test scale models of icebreaker designs in a custom-built ice tank built by the Army Corps of Engineers.  Vance soon retired from the Guard and took on with Mobil, in their Ice Engineering section, where he helped design the landmark Hibernia platform.  Vance also served as Mobil’s designated representative in the DeepStar industry consortium.  When Exxon and Mobil merged in 2000, Vance retired, having spent twenty years in the Guard and twenty at Mobil.

Item 01036: 01036_Weber, Denis_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer : Jason Theriot

Affiliation: University Of Houston

Denis Weber was born and raised in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, and took an engineering degree in 1975 from Nichols State University.  The following year, he was hired by McDermott as a cost estimator, and through a career of thirty-four years with the firm, worked in a number of capacities.  Weber served as a senior project manager for Shell Oil’s Auger tension-leg platform in the early 1990s, helping to oversee its fabrication and assembly.  In 1993, as the Mars TLP development began to come into shape, Weber was tapped to be the overall project manager for Mars.  At the time of interview, Weber was a Division Chief Engineer for McDermott.

Item 01037: 01037_Wheeler, Steven_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer : Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Steven Wheeler hailed from Montana, from which he followed his father’s career into the oil industry and eventually to Houston.  Wheeler earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M, and promptly joined Texaco in 1975.  He spent twelve years with Texaco in the North Sea, where he was introduced to subsea production technology, and worked especially on several record-setting subsea tie-back systems.  In 1988 Wheeler returned to the Gulf of Mexico, and helped form a team that projected Texaco’s potential future in expanding into deepwater.  After management declined to fund a program up to perhaps $70 million, Wheeler and others at Texaco used a smaller amount of money to begin setting up a joint industry research group, known as DeepStar.  The DeepStar group is widely recognized as helping to advance deepwater and subsea technology rapidly in the early 1990s, and thus contributing to the deepwater boom that followed.

Item 01038: 01038_Wilbourn, Phil_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer : Tyler Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Phil Wilbourn studied at Tennessee Tech University on a baseball scholarship, and graduated in 1966 with an engineering degree in hand.  In 1967, Wilbur signed on with Texaco, and worked for two years focused on shallow-water platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.  Wilbur worked for Texaco across the Gulf Coast and in Saudi Arabia.  He worked on the design phase for the LOOP port off of Louisiana as well.  Wheeler worked with Curtis Burton and Steve Wheeler in investigating the future of technology in deepwater; after Texaco management declined to fund a program up to perhaps $70 million, Wilbourn and others at Texaco used a smaller amount of money to begin setting up a joint industry research group, known as DeepStar.  The DeepStar group is widely recognized as helping to advance deepwater and subsea technology rapidly in the early 1990s, and thus contributing to the deepwater boom that followed.

Item 01039: 01039_Wilkerson, Lou_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]

Interviewer : Jason Priest

Affiliation: University of Houston

Lou WIlkerson grew up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and he took a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arkansas.  Subsequently, Wilkerson went to work for Shell in 1961, and later completed a master’s degree in chemical engineering.  Wilkerson worked on a thermal project in East Texas, Arctic design projects, but predominantly on subsea and deepwater activities in engineering management.  He helped to deploy Shell’s first subsea manifold experiment in the Gulf of Mexico in the late 1960s.  Wilkerson also worked on the pipelines for the landmark Shell Cognac fixed platform.  In the 1990s, Wilkerson was tapped to be the project manager for the massive Ram-Powell tension-leg platform.  Wilkerson retired in 1999.

Item 01041: 01041_Bendiksen, Kjell_MMS/BOEM [available online - see Digital Library]
Item 1043: 01043_Abshire, Adriel_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

While attending a Desk and Derrick meeting with Lillian Espinoza-Gala, I met Adriel Abshire. Through talking to her, Lillian and I learned that Adriel had worked for Schlumberger since 1967. Because she had been in the industry for such a long time, we thought it would be a good idea to interview Adriel for the oral history project. At the end of the meeting, I asked Adriel for her contact information and asked if she would be interested in doing an interview. She agreed. I called her to schedule the interview and we agreed to conduct it at her house on July 20th.

Adriel moved to Lafayette in 1963. She started out with Drilling and Service, which was bought by Hycalog. The well logging part of Hycalog was bought by The Analyst, which was eventually bought by Schlumberger. Adriel stayed with Schlumberger from 1967 until her retirement in 1991. She worked on the administrative side of the industry. From 1967 up until the time of the interview, Adriel had been a member of Desk and Derrick.

Item 1044: 01044_Anderson, Edward James_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Edward J. Anderson found out about the oil history research project on the KATC3 News segment with Morgan Lundy. Laura Loewer responded to Edward and they set up an interview over the phone at the Petroleum Club in Lafayette. Edward was accompanied by a friend of his, Patrice, and she speaks briefly towards the middle of the interview, but leaves to get to work with about 30 minutes left in the recording.

Edward James Anderson was born in 1958 and is originally from Lafayette, Louisiana. Edward James (also known as “EJ”) did not graduate from high school, and began working offshore September 1st of 1976 for Teledyne Oil and Gas. He worked for 10 different companies throughout his career. When he sustained an injury on the job and had to have back surgery, he was unable to return to work and retired around 2000.

Item 1045: 01045_Barker, Frank_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Frank Barker contacted the team after he learned about the oil and gas oral history project in local the news. He was interested in being interviewed. We agreed to meet on July 17th at the Petroleum Club.

Frank is originally from Jennings, LA. He got his degree in engineering and worked for General Electric and in chemical engineering. He moved to Lafayette and started working in the oilfield in 1977. Frank was in the industry for 27 years, primarily working for Chevron specializing in gas turbines in production. He continued living close to Lafayette after he moved out of town. Frank retired from Chevron in 2004.

Item 1046: 01046_Bellaire Jr, Alvin (Al)_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

When the research team arrived in Lafayette, Lillian Espinoza-Gala brought us to a Desk and Derrick meeting. While there, we met a lot of women who work in the administrative side of the oil and gas industry. We received contact information and shared ours with the meeting-goers. After the meeting we received a call from a Desk and Derrick member, Kay Gotte. Kay wanted to schedule a time for us to interview her boss, Al Bellaire. Al is a vice president at Sierra-Hamilton. We agreed to meet at Al’s office to conduct an interview on June 22nd.

Al Bellaire is from Lafayette. He started his career in the oil and gas industry as a production foreman at Shell. After serving in the Vietnam War, Al continued working for Shell. For a time he worked as a mud engineer. He then moved to Lafayette and started working in drilling. He and a few other men started a consulting business; that business was eventually sold and merged into other companies. At the time of the interview, Al is the vice president at Sierra-Hamilton

Item 1047: 01047_Benjamin, Darren_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Darren Benjamin was referred to the oil history project by his brother. Though there may have been some miscommunication, as Darren thought it might be an interview for a job opportunity as he had been recently laid off in the slump in the industry, Darren agreed to the interview.

Darren Benjamin is from Lafayette, Louisiana. He first began working offshore in May 2010 as a cook. He worked mainly in deepwater and had never experienced life offshore before. His brother, having been in the industry for 20 years, encouraged him to apply and go offshore and he worked for Taylor’s International Catering Service in his first job.

Item 1048: 01048_Boudreau, Michael Stephen_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Mike Boudreau heard about the oil history project through the news special on KATC3 Lafayette. He emailed and scheduled an interview at the Petroleum Club.

Mike Boudreau’s father was in the oil industry and was transferred from to Lafayette from Houston in the 1960s. Mike attended high school and college in Lafayette. He initially went to work for service companies in Lafayette. In 1978 he started working at Exxon, retiring in his 37th year in February of 2015. He worked 28 years offshore, and 8 years in Angola. At the time of the interview, Mike had been married to his wife, a Lafayette native for 36 years.

Item 1049: 01049_Broussard, Martial R._MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Lillian Espinoza-Gala recommended that I interview her friend Martial Broussard. I had met him before at a gathering at Lillian’s house, at which he had given me his contact information. A few weeks later I called him asking if he would like to do an interview. He agreed to participate. We did the interview at Lillian’s house.

Martial, a Lafayette native, started his career in the oil and gas industry during the 1980s with Teleco developing measurement while drilling (MWD) tools. He also worked doing directional drilling and served as an international consultant. He then worked for Schlumberger for a few years before retiring in 2006

Item 1050: 01050_Broussard, Wayne J._MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

When I first arrived in Lafayette, Lillian Espinoza-Gala took me and Diane Austin to a Desk and Derrick meeting. The club tries to have a guest speaker at every meeting. Wayne Broussard was the speaker for the meeting we attended. He gave a presentation about safety and communication. At the time I did not know what Wayne’s official position was, but some of the ladies recommended we interview him for the oral history project. I was going to email him after the Desk and Derrick meeting, but he emailed me first sharing a story about someone else. In my response, I asked if he would be willing to do an interview with me. He agreed. We arranged to conduct it at his office. Before the interview Wayne sent me some documents regarding his work.

For the last 15 years, Wayne Broussard has worked for Wood Group PSN as the training manager. At the time of the interview his work focused on training offshore workers. It included creating and gathering information, graphics, and animations about training and safety to share with anyone who wanted to use it. Prior to that position he was a troubleshooter for equipment on platforms. Wayne also had been the operations manager for a manufacturing facility

Item 1051: 01051_Camos, Walter_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Walter Camos July 15, 2015 Lafayette, LA Type: .mp3 Interviewer:  Laura Loewer Transcriber: Morgan Lundy Editor: Allison Stuewe Ethnographic Preface: Laura Loewer knew Walter Camos through the Lafayette community, and he expressed interest in the oil history project. We set up an interview at his office, where he was working as a practicing licensed professional counselor. Walter Camos is originally from Lafayette. He graduated from ULL with a degree in petroleum engineering. He began working in high school for an oilfield service company in 1973. In 1985 he made a transition out of working in the oil industry to spend more time with family. He owned a general contracting company for several years.  At one point, he decided to return to school and became a Licensed Professional Counselor in Lafayette. At the time of the interview he had been married to his wife for 38 years, and they had two daughters.

Item 1052: 01052_Cart, Sarah A._MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Sarah Cart was referred to the research team by Phil (James) Lacasse, a neighbor and someone who had worked with Sarah. After re-scheduling once, Sarah met with Laura Loewer at her house in Iota, Louisiana.

Sarah Cart is originally from Iota, Louisiana (West of Lafayette). She was born in 1958. Sarah graduated high school and began work in a sewing factory in Crowley, Louisiana, as a secretary. For two years after that, she went to work for a plant in Lake Charles called “Hercules” as an operator producing polymer plastics. At the age of 21 in 1980, Sarah was hired full-time with Exxon (now ExxonMobil). Her career spanned 34 years, and she retired in November of 2014 as a board operator. During her career with Exxon, she was exclusively offshore except for 7 years working inland waters and 7 months in the Exxon office putting together conferences on safety for the company.

Item 1053: 01053_Castille, Michael_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Lillian Espinoza-Gala’s friend, Cherlyn Hebert, recommended I talk to her friend, Michael Castille. Michael has been in the oil and gas industry in Lafayette since the 1980s. Interested in hearing his perspective, I got Michael’s contact information from Cherlyn. I called Michael and we arranged to have the interview on July 22nd at his home.

Michael is from Lafayette and started in the oil and gas industry in 1980. He worked in the drilling side of the industry, specifically with Measurements While Drilling (MWD) and Logging While Drilling (LWD) tools. He also helped develop the field operation support center while working at Pathfinder. Michael retired from Pathfinder, which was owned by Schlumberger, in 2013.

Item 1054: 01054_Comeaux, Andre_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Lillian Espinoza-Gala put me in contact with Andre Comeaux in order to schedule an interview with him. At the time of the interview, Andre was the vice president of Region’s Insurance, but he had a background in drilling. Interested in hearing his story, I called Andre and scheduled an interview at his office for July 31st.

Andre is from Lafayette and went to school at USL/UL, where he earned his degree in mechanical engineering. He worked for Amoco until the 1980s downturn. After getting out of the oil and gas industry, Andre started working in the insurance industry; part of his work included insuring oilfield companies. At the time of the interview, Andre was running for a seat in the Louisiana state legislature

Item 1055: 01055_Cornay Jr, Howard_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Leslie Davis called the team after reading the article about the oral history project in the Daily Advertiser. She informed us that he father, Howard Cornay Jr. used to be an insurance executive who worked with oil and gas companies. With Leslie’s help, we scheduled an interview with her father at his house for June 23rd. Howard and his wife invited us to stay for lunch after the interview. Howard, Leslie, his son Steve, and his wife were all present at the interview. We also interviewed Steve after lunch.

Howard Cornay Jr. and his family are from Lafayette. Howard’s father worked in the oil and gas industry. Howard started his career installing natural gas appliances in people’s homes. He then got into the insurance business with his brother; they created insurance packages for independent oilfield companies. Howard also helped start LAGCOE and was on the first board of directors. Howard retired at age 79.

Item 1056: 01056_Cornay, Steve_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Steve Cornay is the son of Howard J. Cornay Jr. Steve’s sister, Leslie Davis, had seen an article about the Oil and Gas Oral History in the Advertiser. Leslie called the research team to set up an interview with her father, who had been an insurance executive working with the industry. When we arrived to interview Howard, Steve was there as well. We quickly realized that it would be great to interview Steve about his own experiences in the industry. After we interviewed his father, we interviewed Steve, too.

Steve received his degree in marketing from Southeastern Louisiana University but worked in the oil and gas industry. At the time of his interview, Steve had been in the industry for over 30 years, working primarily in production. He worked onshore for six years before going offshore in 1988.

Item 1057: 01057_Cornell, Phyllis_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

After I interviewed Bob Cornell, he emailed me suggesting I interview his wife, Phyllis. She has traveled and lived around the world with Bob and their children. Bob thought it was important to get his wife’s perspective of life in the oil and gas industry. I called Phyllis and arranged to do an interview with her at the Cornell home.

At the time of the interview, Phyllis and Bob were living in Lafayette, but they had lived all over the world due to Bob’s job with Schlumberger. They lived in Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Texas, and New Mexico. Among other points of interest, Phyllis reflected on raising her children abroad, changes in the industry, and her role in the Schlumberger Spouses Association.

Item 1058: 01058_Cornell, Robert (Bob) Kirk_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Bob Cornell emailed the research team stating he was interested in being a part of the oral history project. After a few emails, we scheduled an interview for June 29th at his home in Lafayette. He thought his wife would be home to sit in and add to the interview but she was at the store during our visit. After the interview he emailed the team and recommended we interview his wife, too, which we did.

Bob was born and raised in Louisiana and is a third generation oilfield worker. After graduating from UL in 1968 with a degree in geology, Bob worked as a geologist primarily for Schlumberger. He lived and worked in many places domestically and internationally, especially in South America. He retired in 2009.

Item 1059: 01059_Crawford, J.B. (Jim Bob)_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Jim Bob Crawford contacted the research team through email after reading the July article in the Daily Advertiser about the oil history project. He and Laura scheduled an interview at the Petroleum Club in Lafayette.

Originally from Ged just south of Vinton, Louisiana, Jim Bob Crawford came to Lafayette in 1962 with the oil industry. He had been in the oilfield since he was 17 years old and worked his way up to vice president of NOWSCO Well Services. In 1976, he went to work for Air Products International as a general manager. In 1981 in Lafayette he opened Nitrogen Pumping and Coiled Tubing, LLC, and in 1993 he started Crawford Technical Services, Inc. At the time of the interview, Jim Bob was the president/CEO of his company, Crawford Technical Services, Inc. He held 25 patents related to coil tubing and nitrogen services, and was the author of 7 books. He had been on the board for many organizations including the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition (LAGCOE). A graduate of the military academy, Jim Bob went into the Army during the Korean War in 1954.

Item 1060: 01060_Daly, Tyrelle M._MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

After KATC 3 news aired a story about the Lafayette Oil and Gas History project, the research team received many calls and emails from people wanting to be interviewed. One email came from Tyrelle Daly. She worked for ExxonMobil from 1978 until 2004. Interested in her story, the research team setup a time on July 14th to interview Tyrelle at the Petroleum Club. Tyrelle is from Glenmora, Louisiana but was living in Lafayette at the time of the interview. From 1978 until 1999, Tyrelle worked on offshore production platforms. She even worked offshore while pregnant with her son. From 1999 until her retirement in 2004, she worked onshore at a gas plant for ExxonMobil. As a woman working offshore, Tyrelle faced challenges in the industry. Despite those challenges, Tyrelle enjoyed her career with ExxonMobil and had notable achievements, including a job as a fire safety instructor.

Item 1061: 01061_David, Aaron Matthew_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

After the KATC 3 news story aired on television on June 30, 2015 I immediately received phone calls and emails from people wanting to participate in the oral history project. The first call was from Aaron Matthew David. He briefly told me about his experience in the oil and gas industry and voiced his excitement about our project. We agreed to meet at the ULL student union on July 9th.

Aaron Matthew David was born in Lafayette and grew up in New Iberia. He was the first in his family to work offshore. Aaron started in the oil and gas industry in the late 1990s doing wire line work. He also worked in production and in instrumentation controls. After being laid off in 2010, Aaron permanently left the oil and gas industry and started attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He is currently in school and majors in pre-law.

Item 1062: 01062_Durel Jr, L.J. (Joey)_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

In order to get a wider perspective of the oil and gas industry in Lafayette, the research team decided it would be important to interview community leaders, in addition to oilfield workers. The team reached out to several government officials including Joey Durel, the Lafayette City Mayor and Parish President. We called his office and explained the oral history project to his secretary, Becky Perez. Becky helped us schedule an interview with Mr. Durel on July 29th at his office.

Joey Durel was the Lafayette City Mayor and Parish President at the time of his interview. He was serving his third term. Mr. Durel was born and raised in Lafayette, attended ULL, and began his career in business. He became Chairman of the Board of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce in 2001 and began serving his first term as mayor and president in January 2004. Mr. Durel shared his perspective on how the oil and gas industry developed and impacted Lafayette.

Item 1063: 01063_Foreman, R.J. (Bronc)_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

The general manager of the Petroleum Club recommended that we interview Bronc Foreman. He called Mr. Foreman and set up the interview at the Petroleum Club.

Mr. Foreman was in his 90s at the time of the interview and had decades of experience in the oil and gas industry. In his career he owned four land rigs and contracted them out to oil companies for drilling. He sold his last rig in 2013.

Item 1064: 01064_Gerard, Robert_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

After hearing about the oil and gas history project from the news, Robert Gerard contacted the research team and shared that he would be interested in doing an interview. He also knew Steve Hebert, who had done an interview with us and encouraged Robert to contact us. Robert agreed to meet for an interview at the Petroleum Club on July 20th. He brought some pictures, company newsletters, and timesheets to share with the team.

Robert is from Scott, Louisiana and was living there at the time of his interview. He worked in the oil and gas industry from 1977 to 1986 as a gas compressor mechanic. He worked onshore and offshore. He left the industry in the mid-1980s because he was unhappy about the time he had to be away from his family. After leaving the industry he worked primarily in the medical industry in refrigeration.

Item 1065: 01065_Gillock, Ronald (Ronnie)_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Having heard from many interviewees about LaFonda’s, a Tex-Mex restaurant that has been in Lafayette since 1957 and is famous as a gathering place for people in the oil business, Laura stopped by to find someone to speak with about the oil and gas industry and its effects on Lafayette. Ronnie Gillock was the assistant manager at the time and had worked at LaFonda’s since 1965. He was interested in an interview and shared a book on the history of LaFonda’s. The interview was scheduled at the restaurant, and while it was partially recorded, the recorder died during the course of the interview. The restaurant was so loud and crowded that the recorded audio was barely audible, so the interview summary was produced from written notes. Throughout the interview, because he knew many people who came into the restaurant, Ron stopped to say hello to his customers.

Ronnie Gillock is originally from Indiana, and came to Lafayette in 1965 when his father, who was in the Marine Corps, was transferred to Lafayette. His father needed a supplemental income, and when he went to work for LaFonda’s, his two sons (including Ronnie) were offered jobs as bus boys. Ronnie began as a bus boy at LaFonda’s in 1965. In 1966, he was drafted into the Marine Corps, and he served until 1972. He attended ULL (USL) for a short time in pre-med, then nursing, but found he made so much money working at LaFonda’s that he quit school and retuned to the restaurant business. He went back to LaFonda’s, working as a waiter and began serving as the assistant manager around 2000. A LaFonda’s margarita called the “Ronnie Rita” was named after Ron.

Item 1066: 01066_Hawkins, Dolores_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Morgan Lundy met Dolores Hawkins at a Desk and Derrick meeting. She was interested in an interview, and scheduled an interview with Laura Loewer at the Petroleum Club.

Dolores Hawkins is from Louisiana but also lived in several other states. In July of 1981, she and her husband moved to Lafayette. Dolores got a job working for Philips Petroleum in July of 1981 as a clerk and retired as a senior administrative assistant in 2000.

Item 1067: 01067_Hebert, Daniel (Dan)_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

After the news piece about the oil and gas history project that aired on KATC 3, I received many calls and emails from people wanting to be interviewed. One of those calls came from Dan Hebert. We scheduled the interview for 9:00am at the Petroleum Club on July 8th. Dan brought his laptop to show me pictures he had collected over the years.

Dan Hebert began in the oil and gas industry at age 17, working in a wide variety of positions including roughnecking, rig support, diving, and salvage work. His father had worked in the oilfield, as had his uncles and cousins. He moved all around southern Louisiana while working in the industry. Originally from Franklin, at the time of the interview, Dan had just recently moved to Broussard.

Item 1068: 01068_Hebert, Edmond_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Lillian Espinoza-Gala recommended we interview Edmond Hebert. She met him through the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Edmond was set to leave to Saudi Arabia for work, so I quickly contacted him and set up an interview before he left. We conducted the interview on July 21st at the Petroleum Club.

Edmond Hebert is from Carencro, LA and began in the oil and gas industry in 1996. He started out in filtration and then worked in fluid engineering and fracking. His specialty was in completions. In 2015, year Edmond established his own LLC and was working as a consultant at the time of the interview. During his interview, Edmond reflected on changes in the industry, working in deepwater, and the impact of technology in the oilfield.

Item 1069: 01069_Hebert, Jocelyn_MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

While I was working in Lafayette, Lillian Espinoza-Gala took me to two Desk and Derrick meetings as a way to meet people in the industry and find potential interviewees. At the second meeting I attended, Lillian and I sat at a table with several women who used to work in administrative positions at different service companies. I got the contact information for two of the ladies to schedule interviews. One of those ladies was Jocelyn Hebert. I called Jocelyn to schedule an interview. We agreed to meet the Petroleum Club on July 31st.

Jocelyn Hebert is from New Orleans. Her father worked in drilling for Humble Oil. Jocelyn remembered growing up in the oilfield environment. She worked in administrative positions for a few service companies. She retired from Schlumberger in 2004. Although Jocelyn retired, she remained an active member of Desk and Derrick

Item 1070: 01070_Hebert, Steve G._MMS/BOEM

Affiliation: University of Arizona

Steve Hebert found out about the offshore history project through the June 13, 2015 article in the Daily Advertiser and contacted the research team. We scheduled the interview to take place at the Petroleum Club in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Steve Hebert began working in the oil industry in 1972. He retired in 2007 after he developed a health issue and decided it was time to leave. At the time of the interview, Steve was living with his wife of 39 years in Scott, Louisiana


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