Interviewee: David Carmadelle

Role: Commercial Fisherman

Date of Interview: 8/5/09

Collection: Louisiana Sea Grant Oral Histories

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

Abstract: David Carmedelle shares how he began fishing as a boy and the value of his knowledge of the waters off Grand Isle, Louisiana.


I'm David Carmadelle. I was born in 1956, born and raised in Grand Isle, and you know um, I come from a good family. My father and all moved here in 1946, 1947, was a fisherman, lived in Cheniere Caminada. The whole family – the whole family was fishermen at the time – on both sides. On my mother's side and my father's side. And uh, having a shrimp boat, still having a shrimp boat, learning the uh, the waters off of Grand Isle. I think I know them better at night than in the daytime. No radar, no spotlights, whatever. In fact, sometimes the Coast Guard still uses me to go on rescues at night, and they got radars, they got whatever the modern equipment – we don't need all that. Just go for that light. But um, you know, just being a Cajun guy, you know, just, just uh, um, born and raised around the waters and learning the hard way of life and the easy way of life – the way I look at. It's, I guess, all we want to do is make a living on the waters and it's like a farmer from up north, and we're farmers of the sea, and we know what type of nets, and what type of equipment we need, and to crab, to fish. Type – any type of species to catch, that's what we were raised in the waters.

By the time I got my shrimp boat – well my brother and I, we started, my brother was fourteen, I was probably ten years old. Ten, twelve years old. And we used to get out get off the school bus and take our good clothes off. "Mama, couldn't wait no more, we're going shrimping"

So we got on a little skiff every evening after school – couldn't wait no more to go shrimping, and right there in the backyard. We tried to make a dollar. We were learning if you could make a dollar, you know, we'd have some money and maybe we could save for a car one day when we're in high school.

So as we got older, we learned to shrimp, to crab, to fish, and learned the ways to make a living. Then we helped our dads, and at that time – my dad, and my brother and I – uh, finished school, and went to trade school and graduated from trade school, my brother went to college and came back, and shrimping was good in the 70s and 80s. It was real good. Um, I wind up buying me a shrimp boat because my whole family on both sides were shrimpers, and I had a degree in refrigeration and air conditioning, but it was so plentiful and I knew the money I could make.

To read David's full transcript, click here.