February 19, 2002 - Gar Fish Flowers

Can you make a silk purse out of a sow's ear? Maybe not, but one West Baton Rouge Parish woman can do something even better.

Lucille Dupont points out a weird looking item on her kitchen table. "This scale here is from the spine of the gar fish," she says. "You can take this one scale and make a flower like a tulip." All it takes is a little imagination and, of course a stem for your tulip.

Lucille has an answer. "To get my stem for the flowers I have to use the rib bone from the little sac au lait fish. None of my friends or family can eat fish without thinking about me." Lucille has been showing off the decorative flowered boxes that she makes in her kitchen. They're really pretty, but would you believe what those leaves and petals are made out of? The gar fish, that ugly critter!

"They're very ugly," agrees Lucille. "That hide is ugly and not very nice to fool with. You have to boil it until all that falls apart. Then you take it and wash it in Clorox water, the scales, and then you dye them with Rit's Dye." It may not be possible to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, but Lucille Dupont has proved that you can get something gorgeous out of a gar.

Lucille sells her decorative boxes at the New Orleans Jazz Fest and the Festival Acadienne in Lafayette -- along with her husband Huey, who makes willow furniture. If you can't wait for either of those events, you can call Huey or Lucille at (225) 627-6180.