< Back to Oral History project: Down the Bayou
< Back to Oral History project: Southern Gumbo Trail
Melinda and Donald Punch
Donald Punch was a shrimper all his life, following in the boot steps of his father, until his own son’s Type 1 diabetes forced him onto land. In the 1980s, Lockport’s small, public elementary school didn’t staff a nurse who could administer the kind of care a child with daily medical needs required. Donald and his wife, Melinda, then a high school physical sciences teacher, decided to open a seafood market so that Donald could get to his son at school as frequently as necessary. Donald misses life on the water and dreams of once again owning a small shrimp boat that he could man alone, but Punch’s Seafood Market is going strong and provides a more stable income than shrimping does these days. And besides that, his sons, Travis and Jason, need an outlet for their crabs. Both of the Punch boys chose fishing as a career, after having spent much of their childhood and adolescence on or near the water, and they sell their catch to Melinda and Donald. The market is a family affair in an even broader sense. Donald’s parents, Hazel and Leroy Punch, also work there, arriving around dawn each morning to make crab patties, stuffed shrimp, and crawfish bisque.