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Le Petit Caporal, a sailing boat built c. 1850
Le Petit Caporal, a sailing boat built c.1850, was later motorized to serve as a shrimp boat. Photo: Adrian Gaithier

A LaFourche Legacy: Center for Traditional Louisiana Boat Building

The Center for Louisiana Boat Building was established in 1979 at Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, Louisiana, to record the history of and focus attention on the craftsmanship that was and is in jeopardy of fading to extinction. It is a craftsmanship that has its roots in the culture of several groups of settlers, particularly the Acadians, who came to Louisiana in the 1700s. The Acadians became master boat builders, and their ingenuity produced the priogue, the Lafitte skiff, lugger, trawler and other craft designed for fishing as well as for transportation of passengers and freight. These craft were equipped for rowing or sailing before the advent of the gasoline engine. The rich cypress forests of Louisiana provided an ample supply of timber, especially tidewater red cypress, the wood of choice, and these rugged boat builders provided the construction know-how to produce the vessels that plied the local waters. Today, the few boat builders who know how to construct the traditional wooden boats are sharing their knowledge with others at the boat center on the Nicholls campus.

Originally submitted by: W.J. (Billy) Tauzin, Representative (3rd District).



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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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