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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

< Back to Oral History project: Middendorf’s and Manchac


Andy "Rocky" Rakocy and Hayden Reno

Commercial fishermen

If a penchant for crabbing and fishing is passed down through bloodlines, Hayden Reno and Rocky Rakocy are living proof. Both men learned to work the waters of Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas from their fathers—and the larger community around them—while growing up in the fishing villages of Bucktown and Manchac.

Rocky was eight years old when he got his first boat. In fact, his family members made their own boats back then. Hayden and Rocky are among the few commercial fishermen still working out of Manchac, catfishing on trout lines during the cold winter months and crabbing the rest of the year. Rocky has about 500 crab pots, an amount he calls “small time.” In addition to fishing, Hayden is the maintenance man and captain for Southern University’s research station on Pass Manchac.

While neither man would encourage a young person to adopt their chosen livelihood—costs and dangers are too great—both say they wouldn’t be happy doing anything else.

Date of interview:

Sara Roahen

Sara Roahen

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

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