August 27, 2002 - "Lockwood Boats"

One-hundred years ago they did it all -- took the family to church, mom to the store and the kids to school. They were dad's work boat, fishing the waters of the basin.

They were the sleek craft known as the Lockwood Boats and between Plaquemine and Bayou Sorrel there's a man working hard to preserve their memory.

Orie Mendoza has been around boats nearly all of his life. Now that he's retired, he builds Lockwood Boats the way they were built 100 years ago by hand.

He says, "We go to the camp every now and then, just to ride. We go to different wood boat shows. My grandfather made a living with it. We do it for pleasure."

Orie, his dad and granddad make three generations of boat builders. Orie's son and grandsons work with him to make it five generations, and the whole family is counting the days till 10-month-old Gavin picks up a hammer and makes it six generations of boat builders.

It takes Orie about two weeks to build one of his hand-crafted cypress boats. The hard part is finding and restoring those Nadler motors which haven't been made since 1951. They're what make Orie's Lockwood Boats authentic.

"We like to use them because we used them when we were coming up, and we just like to run 'em," he explains.

And while he's doing it, Orie Mendoza is keeping alive a vanishing piece of our culture.

Orie and his family are putting on a Lockwood Boat gathering at their camp in Bayou Sorrel on Sunday, September 8th. They say, "Y'all come!" If you can get to Bayou Sorrel, anyone can direct you to the camp.