Museum seeks funding for boat restorations

DULAC, LA (WVUE) - This landing craft and captain's gig from the 1960s holds a lot of history. But for now, they stay dry-docked - in need of sanding, fixing and a fresh coat of paint.

"We want to refurbish it to get it to what it was like when it was on a destroyer," said Will Theriot, vice president of the Regional Military Museum Foundation.

The dream is to eventually get the boats alongside the dozens of other treasures at the Regional Military Museum. Tanks and Jeeps here are brought back to their original working conditions. Volunteers have been salvaging parts for the boats, but money is tight. The last big project, the WWII bomber, cost the museum $24,000.

"When you have artifacts that are 60 to 70 years old, it takes a lot of funding to put them back the way they should," said Theriot.

The two boats need a lot of TLC. Volunteers think at least $20,000 worth of repairs are needed.

"To see a boat, a military assent from the Navy, a fine boat in its time - to see it deteriorating is kinda sad," said C.J. Christ, the museum's founder.

But until that money comes in, the boats stay, free of charge, at the Dulac Shipyard. The museum is optimistic that funding will come through so it can continue to preserve pieces of history.

"Seventy years ago was World War II, and ships were sinking in the Gulf of Mexico," said Christ. "How many people know about that? Not many. We think it's part of our mission to educate people on what's happened in our area."

The museum is holding a concert fundraiser on Sept. 7. It's got plans for another fundraiser in November. Volunteers hope that will help raise enough money to start part of the work on the boats by mid-fall.

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