Victor “Goat” Lafayette

Bowens Island Restaurant
1870 Bowens Island Rd
Charleston, SC 29412
(843) 795-2757

Victor Lafayette grew up on Sol Legare Road, just across the inlet from Bowens Island. His childhood friends gave him the nickname “Goat.” Growing up on the water, he took to fishing, crabbing, and oystering naturally. At the age of nine, he began selling his catch to May Bowen, owner of Bowens Island Restaurant. Over the years, Goat has held jobs shrimping and running a club on Mosquito Beach. When the shrimping industry began taking a downturn, though, Goat returned to Bowens Island. May’s grandson, Robert Barber, was at the helm by that time. Goat asked Robert if he needed an oyster picker for the restaurant, and he’s maintained a tight connection to the place ever since. At sixty-six, Goat has reached retirement age. Even so, he plans to work the water until his body decides to quit. When that day comes, he’ll still be a part of the Bowens Island family.

Date of interview:

January 20, 2007


Amy Evans

One day I come over, and I asked [Robert Barber] if he want me to work for him, and he said, ‘Why, sure.’ That’s when I started and we been doing pretty good over here…But I was picking oysters for his grandmom [May Bowen] when I was nine. And then I quit and went on the shrimp boat; and I worked on the shrimp boat about six years, then I come back over here. That’s how I started again.
Download Transcript