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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.

ORAL HISTORY

Lawrence "Chine" Terrebone and Thomas Turwilliger


Lawrence “Chine” Terrebonne started making shrimp nets in his father’s Golden Meadow net shop when he was just nine years old, following in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather. More than 60 years later, the craft comes so naturally to him that he counted stitches and continued to work while giving this interview. Chine, as he’s been called since birth, opened his own net business in 1966 with a partner. At the time, it was also a hardware store. Today he is the sole owner and employs roughly nine other men, all French-speakers but the Wisconsinite Thomas Turwilliger. The mood in the shop is something like a coffee clutch. The days are long—5 a.m. to 5 p.m.—but Cajun music plays through a sound system, a coffee maker drips a properly dark Cajun brew, and a retired man who lives behind the shop comes by twice a week to cook a homemade lunch. The weak state of the local shrimp business—struggling against high fuel prices, inexpensive imports, natural disasters, and 2010’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill—has a negative trickle-down affect on his business. Fortunately, for the past 20-some years, Chine has also made nets for a client whose boats dredge the bottom of the Gulf for trash left behind by the oil industry. This side work, he says, keeps him in business.

Date of interview:
2011-08-26 00:00

Interviewer:
Sara Roahen

Photographer:
Sara Roahen

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