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Interviewee: Sandra Boquet

Role: Seafood processor & daughter of a shrimper

Date of Interview: 12/29/09

Collection: Louisiana Sea Grant Oral Histories

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: Sandra Boquet shares how she recovers from storms and how the number of Vietnamese shrimpers has grown over the years.

Transcript:

Sandra Ann Matherne Boquet

Not that's it's affected us any more – in a way of the size of the shrimp. After the storms passed the boats had trouble going back out, and clearing out the waters and get the junk out so they can catch the shrimp. And we wash our shed and sterilize it and ordered new heaters and we're back in business. We're always, you know, we're ready to go sometimes before the power gets back on. We just don't let it sit. People sit back and wait for FEMA or for somebody to come help them. We don't do that. We get over here we get our food, clean up, you know. Take pictures, and then worry about the insurance after. Get ready to work, and that's what we did.

Over the years the numbers have, I guess you can say have gone down. It's kind of switched around from… Used to have the old shrimpers, the old trawlers and people used to chase sea bobs in the wintertime – that generation's either retired or died. Most of the shrimpers, like the ones who just wouldn't really into it I guess and couldn't make ends, meet have gone on jobs. The majority of our shrimpers here right now are Vietnamese. It's like it just did a complete turnaround. I would say like three quarters of our shrimpers are Vietnamese right now. And if it wouldn't be for them, we could probably shut the place down because it wouldn't be enough to keep going.

Some live in town they leave their boats tied up here. There's not many of them that'll have a place to put their boat. But um, some of them even live in New Orleans that come around. Depending on where I guess a good spot is they work and they stay and uh, sometimes they'll work towards the east depending. And in this area they sell to us. When they go to the other end, they go to Leeville or um, Venice.

They travel, wherever. Wherever the shrimp are – that's where they go.

To read Sandra's full transcript, click here.