Lawrence “Chine” Terrebonne and Thomas Turwilliger | Southern Foodways Alliance arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes calendar

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

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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. 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 twenty-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:

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.


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