Newsletter Masthead - 34KB

[11 October 1997]


[February 1998]

Hello everyone!
Here are some of the highlites since our last writing:


Earl, Bert Duplantis, Jimmy Dubuisson, Joey Madere, Chris Rieder, Marvin Perrett, Frank Straughan, and the crew of the CGC White Holly (with an able assist from Boh Bros. Construction Co...) raised the wreck of the LCVP from Irish Bayou.  We originally wanted to scavenge the wreck for usable metal parts, but a lot of the wooden pieces have become extremely important to us.  These pieces have given us a great "double check" on important construction detail.  Great work guys!  By the way, we have determined from markings on the maneuvering rudder that this boat was Higgins built!!!

Montgomery, Barnett, Brown and Read law firm is working on the documents which will transfer ownership of the boat to the University of New Orleans, and also establish a "perpetual care" trust for the vessel.  Remember, this firm was Higgins Industries counsel during the war. Thanks Gordon Grant and Pat Brown!  (Gordon's wife Charisse is a new construction volunteer...she will be assisting us with the organization of our plans).

Foster Awnings (a WWII Higgins supplier) is donating the canvas we need for the bottom.

We purchased enough Dolfinite to take care of our hull.

We purchased 15 sheets of solid mahogany veneer marine plywood (this stuff cost a fortune and has the Haddock stamp of approval!).  It of course duplicates the stuff Higgins used.  This wood is now primed and ready for the saw at the build site.

Fasteners has been keeping us going with lotsa screws.

Mike Campieri got some pretty good press for us by contacting WWL radio (Bob DelGiorno) and Channel 8 TV.  Capt. Verne Streckfus and Mr. Richard McDerby were great spokesmen!

Gueydan Lumber donated the best looking 2" x 4" x 20's you ever saw.  We're using these for the chines and sheers.

Marvin Perrett put up a great display of Higgins photos, etc. at the new Jefferson Parish library. Again great PR!!!  Marvin also lectured to a great crowd at the library.  Super attendance for a week night.

We made some great friends with the local chapter of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers.  Thank you Dr. Latore for setting that up for us!

We got the plans back from the Nimitz Museum in Texas (thank you...)!  We pored through them and found some sheets that we were missing.

Pat Lambert began an effort to go through all of the Higgins archives to be certain that we have every single plan sheet that the archives have.  This is one heck of a lot of work.  You have no idea how many rolls of plans there are to look through.  Hopefully the result will be that we will have a complete set of drawings for our hull.  The job is going on as of this writing.  Hats off to Pat's crew and the staff at UNO's archives!

Bill Phelps is handling the much-needed copying of the plans we need.  Thanks Bill, for coordinating this with Don Pekarek from UNO.

R. J. Marchand fixed our drill press.  Thanks Mr. Frank!

Ed Daroca's company is donating steel and fabrication for frame brackets.  Wow!  Ed is also working on the press we will use to duplicate those elusive plywood sideshell scarf joints.

Joey Madere has done a great job bead-blasting the bronze parts from the LCVP wreck. Joey is also making the very much needed pattern for our strut.  Our fingers are crossed Joey, boy do we need that baby.

If any of you want an hour-long story, ask me (or Earl Fredricks) or Joey about that darn strut!

I hope all of you realize the great job Frank Straughan is doing.  Frank is documenting our every step.  I gave him 10 pounds of paper last month to digest!  Keep going Frank!

The Oregon broadcast group came to town to do some filming of our Higgins stars (Haddock, McDerby, Phelps, Perrett).  The interviews will be part of an upcoming documentary for the Discovery Channel.  Great!  There is a rumor that they were interested enough in our project to want to come back again.

Mr. John Kelly of Textron Marine offered his able assistance.  Thank you, sir!  I think we'll be talking to you about getting that strut cast after Joey finishes the pattern!

Steve Garver of Donovan's Marine stepped up to the plate and told us he'd help us with our outfit needs!  Thanks sir!

Maj. Gen. Jim Livingston USMC (Ret) has offered us the full support and backing of the National D-Day Museum.  All board members concurred.  Thanks for the encouragement gents!

Thanks to Erston Reisch and Martin Machine Shop for working on our maneuvering rudder.  It "turned" out great!

Graham Haddock continues to push us in the right direction when we lose our way.  I'm hearing from our lead people that we'd be in a world of hurt without Mr. Haddock.  God bless you sir!

Many, many, many thanks to the Edward Higgins family for their extraordinary donation to the project!

We purchased a set of correct manila fenders for the boat.  Marvin Perrett made up a heaving line.  We got what looks like a correct WWII CO2 fire extinguisher (display only) from the New Orleans Fire Museum.

Trinity Marine donated a bunch of correct grey paint and thinner.  Thanks!

Thanks Stewart and Stevenson for coming through with the great donation that enabled us to purchase that all-important crate of engineering stuff (BM talk!) in Portsmouth.  Opening those crates should be fun.

I'm still working on a neat (free) way to get those crates here.  Betcha I get it done...any takers?  PROBLEM SOLVED 01 JAN!

T-shirts are coming!  Wait till you get a load of these babies.  I see a fashion trend in the wind here.  They look great.  Available at our gift boutique soon.  George Benedetto designed these. We'll sell them at a nominal cost - $15.00.

Avondale is studying our fuel tank requirements.  They have the plans right now.  Let's keep our fingers crossed.

O-Tech is chomping at the bit to begin work on the bow ramp.  We've got to wait a little longer before we begin.  Hang on Jorge & Esteban, we'll be calling soon.

Dave Sintes came up with some detailed dimensional development for our headlog.  The headlog is roughed in now, but Dave's templates will enable us to put the finishing touches on the log.

The full development of the transom was interesting.  Bruce Harris knocked it out.  Thank God we had the pieces from the Irish Bayou wreck!  Fitting those pieces was a really neat puzzle. The transom story is one we will long remember.

We've gotten an offer of assistance from a Navy hull repair unit in Baton Rouge.  They are looking at some plans now.  We're hoping for mufflers.  Go Navy!!!

Mssrs. Pat Taylor and John Kushner have offered to provide our machine guns.  I'm going to ask each of them to also provide the mount (rings) as well.  Icing on the cake folks!

Norfolk Southern Railroad is providing a free boxcar to bring in our stuff from Portsmouth, VA.  I can't tell you how much money this has saved us!  Arrival in New Orleans approx 30 JAN!

Jerry Strahan is being bombarded with information requests from major media.  Documentaries etc. in the works?  If you build it they will come.

Dr. Ambrose paid us a visit, and brought copies of his latest book for all present.  Thanks doc!

The New Orleans Baton Rouge River Pilots have pledged a nice donation to our project. Thanks very much!

General Livingston and Dr. Ambrose are visiting Mr. Malcolm Forbes very soon.  Mr. Forbes is possibly interested in donating some money to the D-Day Museum.  If this comes to pass, the museum has pledged an atrium which will house our boat (The Andrew Jackson Higgins Memorial Atrium ???).  Stay tuned.

And to you, my fellow volunteers ( the salvage gang, the sawdust kids, the archive diggers, my "XO" Marvin Perrett, the paint gang, our super team leaders - Bruce, Aubrey, Al, Ed and George) we would be nowhere without you!!!!

The Lucky Bag

(A smorgasbord of junk and services we need)


 A Magnesyn compass.


 Pat Lambert needs a hand working at the archives - call him!


 Correct cleats for the boat.


 A Higgins continuously running bilge pump.


 WWII litters.


 WWII life jackets (Navy grey).


 WWII inflatable life belts.


 A correct WWII CO2 fire extinguisher.


 A volunteer to see me re: a billboard project.


 Someone to take over T-shirt sales.


 People to man a booth at a local gun show to sell M1 tickets.


 Someone to figure out how best to apply Dolfinite.


 We need a team to start thinking about how we're going to flip the boat over.
 Recommend written proposal.  We'll take our sweet time looking into this issue.


 We will need two 6' x 20' sheets of armor plate sandblasted and primed. Any volunteers?


 We still need an anchor.  Grappling hook?


 Someone said they had a bunch of WWII cloth linked .30 Cal. (.30-06) blanks.

 Who was that person?  Call me, I wanna make lots and lots of noise.


 We need a WWII life ring.


 Would one of our WWII volunteers visit Donovan's Marine to see if they have the

 correct style nav lights for the boat?


 Does anyone want to tackle a filing system for our plans and drawings?  If so, we could

 really use one of those chart storage cabinets...anyone got one to loan?


 I need someone to assist with tracking names/addresses/phone numbers/mailouts etc.

 Karen Reisch?


 Anybody got a steel mechanic's work bench?


 Anybody know anyone who worked at Higgins putting planks on one of these boats?

 If so, call Bruce Harris.


 We'll need a stake body truck and an offload crew when the boxcar comes in.

 I need to line this up soon!

[11 October 1997]

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