July 5, 2002 - "Whittler From Livingston Parish"

He's a Michelangelo of mallards -- this whittler from Livingston Parish.

Ivan Guidry and his trusty pocket knife work wonders in tupelo wood. His house, his son's house, the homes of dozens of friends are filled with his work. Ivan himself couldn't tell you how many ducks he has carved over the years, but he can tell you this. "It takes about 30 hours to complete one. Then my son paints them."

Ivan's Son Gary adds, "Take a guy that carves a poor duck, then take a great painter, and he can make a good piece out of it. But my dad does it by his carving and burning technique alone. One day I hope to be that good."

Ivan says he's been at this hobby for a long time. "I had a pocket knife in my pocket since the time I was about nine years old. World War Two was going on, and you couldn't buy toys."

Ivan didn't let wartime shortages stop him. He made his own toys. "I always did like to whittle," he says. "I love to whittle, man!"

And his whittling has carved out great memories for himself and those around him. This dedicated whittler says, "If I ever carve a duck that I'm satisfied with, then the game's over with!"