Newsletter Masthead - 34KB

[September 1997]


[January 1998]

Hello All!

As you can see, the project's progress is really moving forward.  Let me fill you in on a few important things that have been happening "off site" recently.

All of our marine engineering is crated and ready for shipment.  We have negotiated a price for these items, and Stewart and Stevenson Services is graciously picking up the tab.  We are working with a motor carrier to provide "no charge" shipping for us (an $800.00 value).  When the crate arrives, Stewart and Stevenson will go to work to rebuild our engine and marine gear. If you have any friends who may require diesel engine work, please tell them about Stewart and Stevenson's tremendous show of support for our project.  They deserve a real "Thank You!"

In addition to the all-important marine engineering crate, there is another crate coming which contains lots of parts for the boat.

We've got the rudder and rudder quadrant, steering foundation, helm, engine/shifter controls, cleats, Groco twin bell sea strainer(!), to name a few.  I got all of this really great stuff from a boatyard in Portsmouth, VA.  We are paying about $2,000.00 for all of it, and that is a steal!!! Chip and Linda Houston own the yard, and they are big supporters of our effort.  Thanks to the Houstons as well.

Irish Bayou salvage expedition:

Well, this turned out really interesting.  Earl Fredricks ran this operation safely and efficiently. They scavenged the wreck of the LCVP on site, then Bert Duplantis decided he wanted to take the thing home with him!  With a firm knowledge of physics, some good old American know-how, and lots of determination - Bert has floated the wreck and is going to bring it to us. No kidding.  Fetch, Bert.  Good boy!  Hats off to the crew of the USCGC White Holly for the able assist!

We still need that darn strut.  Unfortunately, the strut had been removed from the Irish Bayou boat.  Earl Fredricks has been investigating the possibility of having one cast for us.  What we need, though, is a wooden pattern made from the machinist's drawings.  Enter Bill Phelps.  Bill says he can make our pattern for us!  Go get 'em Bill!  You see people, somebody is always coming up with the "big play."  Once the pattern is made, we can see about getting it to the foundry to have the rough casting made.  By the way, the strut will be cast in it's original material - manganese bronze.

The large timbers you see have been donated to the project by the Hines family of Midland Pipe Corporation.  These hard-to-find longleaf pine timbers will become our headlog, skeg and "corner posts."  You don't just go to the lumber yard to get timber like this any more.  Another tremendous donation - thanks!  Albany Woodworks in Albany, LA is doing the resawing of these old timbers for us.  Oni at Albany Woodworks has become a real friend to the project.

We put the bow door on hold until we flip the hull over and do some critical measuring. OTECH in Harvey is standing by and ready to build the door when we give 'em the go-ahead. Trinity Industries has come through with our marine paint (haze gray of course).  We will all become familiar with haze gray paint.

Ipik Door Company (the Pick family) has pledged to make the plywood sideshell for the boat. What a gift!  You see, the Pick family supplied Higgins with plywood during the war.  Randy Pick is working on this tremendous project right now.

We have an offer of assistance to pay for our bottom (about $3,500.00).  It is a bona fide pledge, but it isn't in the "bank" yet.  I have every reason to believe that we can count on it though.

Bruce Harris is working on a story for the WoodenBoat magazine.  Great stuff!  This will really give us some national exposure.  Remember Bruce, "I" before "E" except after "C" etc.

M1 rifle raffle ticket sales - this has been a terrific source of funding for us.  Please sell some more tickets.  If we run out, I'll make more!

Finance Report

We own everything you see (except the woodworking equipment).  All of the wood is paid for, to date.  Additionally, we have paid for the parts coming in from Virginia.  We are going to stay on a "pay as we go" basis.  I like to sleep at night.

We are in really good shape right now, especially with Stewart and Stevenson's offer and with the promise of the bow door from OTECH and the sideshell from the Picks.  Let's not go to sleep though.  Other issues will arise, repeat - will arise - down the road.  Think about other sources of funding.

I still need some legal assistance to help draw up some papers for our "Higgins Boat Trust" and the eventual donation of the boat to UNO.  The need for this is looming larger every day.

Volunteer Organization

Well, no organization seems to be the best organization.  We need 6-8 volunteers each weekend, and this is what we usually get.  Until further notice, we'll stay like we are...come when you want, stay as long as you like.  The team leaders report the system is working.  Good job!

I went aboard the Cabot earlier this week to search for any boat outfit items we might need.  I got a few old items, but we are in need of more.  We need an old "A. LAFRANCE" CO2 fire extinguisher.  It should be painted red, and it has a large plastic (bakelite?) bell on the business end of the hose.  We also need some inflatable WWII issue type life belts.  What about an old first aid kit?  Anchor (35#?), grappling hook.  We need some manila line.  What size and how much?  Heaving line needed?  Come on some of you old boatswain mates - think think think. What did this boat have on board??  Whatever was on board has got to be found for display purposes.

I need a weekday volunteer who can spend a few hours assisting in coordinating the eventual display area at the D-Day Museum.  Bring your measuring tape, I want some double checking done...not to worry, I've got a plan "B" if it won't fit!

If anyone is interested in doing some public speaking for our project, let me know.  I've got four dates this month alone (I'm doing these) and I could really use a hand.  Anyone interested let me know.  Help!

Finally, an item of great importance to the project.  Montgomery, Barnett, Brown, Read, Hammond & Mintz law firm has donated $5,000.00 to our project.  This phenomenal gift is going a long way toward seeing our goal realized.  This firm was Higgins' law firm of record during WWII.  Many thanks to our friend Mr. Gordon Grant of that firm for assisting us in obtaining this gift.  BRAVO ZULU Sir!!!

Best regards to all,

[September 1997]

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