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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

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Pete and Clara Gerica, fisherman/seafood purveyors

Pete Gerica was born to an oyster fisherman, but he didn’t like oysters. Instead, he got into the shrimping business, and fin fishing followed. Later, he began processing seafood to sell at the farmers’ market, and also works with friends in the community to lobby for and defend fisheries against changing guidelines that threaten the business. Before Hurricane Katrina, Clara says their home of Bayou Sauvage was heaven, surrounded by pelicans, egrets, and herons. They rode out the storm at home, watching houses around them fall and neighbors displaced. The storm swept away their roof; walls folded in, and the house collapsed. They floated in deep water, separated from their daughter, before finding safety on a boat nearby. After the hurricane, the Gericas are determined to fix their boat and resume fishing. Why do they stick with it? “It’s a labor of love,” Pete says. Adds Clara: “It’s in his blood.”

Date of interview:

Laura Westbrook, University of New Orleans


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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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