These oral histories were collected by students at Southeastern Louisiana University. In 2005, the students were tasked with collecting oral histories concerning the Lake Pontchartrain Basin. The 2012 oral histories relate to the history of the Wooden Boat Festival. Please enjoy the audio and transcripts below. For further research, contact us.
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Oral Histories
Mr. Donice Bulloch, Jr. – Born in Covington, Louisiana in 1934, Donice Bulloch, Jr. participated in boat racing in St. Tammany Parish until he was drafted into the Navy in 1956. He later worked as a Louisiana State Trooper, a fuel supplier for Shell Oil Company, and, more recently, a horse breeder. Interviewed by Robert Barrilleaux, April 2005
Mayor Peter Gitz – Born in 1935, Mr. Peter Gitz is a fourth generation native of Louisiana. As mayor of Madisonville since 1977 and owner of Badeaux’s Drive-In since 1974, Gitz is active in the community. Gitz describes the history of Madisonville, the creation of the Wooden Boat Festival, and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum. Interviewed by Sherlette Tyson, March 2005
Mr. Delbert Lipps – Born in Nebraska in 1931, Delbert Lipps graduated from LSU and stayed in Louisiana with his job. Mr. Lipps volunteered with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum and avidly supported the restoration of the Tchefuncte Lighthouse. Interviewed by Stephanie Baudot, April 2005
Ms. Claudia Gagnard – Ms. Gagnard lived in Madisonville all her life. Her grandfather drove a dredge for Jahncke Shipyard. Her father worked at Jahncke Shipyard and her brothers worked at Equitable Shipyard before it became Trinity Shipyard. Interviewed by Katie Price, April 2005
Wooden Boat Festival Oral Histories
Interviews conducted by Samantha Jenkins, November 2012
Mr. Ken Milstead – Originally from Alabama, Ken Milstead moved to Louisiana in the 1960s after serving two years in the Army. He became involved with the Wooden Boat Festival early on and has participated in the development of both the festival and the museum over the years. Ken has volunteered in the museum’s boat building class from its inception.
Mayor Peter Gitz – In an update to the 2005 interview, Peter Gtiz elaborates on his childhood during World War II, his work on the first Causeway Bridge, and his remembrances of Madisonville’s shipbuilding industry. He also details his contributions to the creation of the Wooden Boat Festival and some of his experiences as mayor of Madisonville.
Mr. Bill Dietrich – Born in Texas in 1934, Bill Dietrich graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in industrial engineering. After his military service in the late 1950s, Bill moved to Louisiana with his job and began boating. He became involved with the Pontchartrain Yacht Club and the U.S. Power Squadron. Bill has been in charge of docking boats for the Wooden Boat Festival since it began.