Houma museum makes vintage military machinery as good as new

Houma museum makes vintage military machinery as good as new

The last time Matthew Porche was at the helm of the Regional Military Museum's newly-restored Higgins landing craft, the boat needed work.

HOUMA, LA (WVUE) - "It was in rough shape," said Porche, who serves on the museum's board. "But when the mechanics got a closer look at it - it was just cosmetic. Sanding, buffing, painting, a facelift."

Now, the "Marvin Perrett" is back in its element - fixed up, repainted and ready to go.

"It was love at first sight," laughed Regional Military Museum President C.J. Christ. "I said I've got to have her. With all the rust spots gone and looking like she would if she were going into battle, it's refreshing."

The vessel was donated to the Regional Military Museum years ago by a man in Baton Rouge. It cost around $4,000 and took four years to get the landing craft back to it's original condition. During that time, crews at the Dulac Shipyard housed it free of charge. They also donated time and manpower to help refurbish the vessel.

"We fix boats," explained Stefan Bourg with the shipyard. "We don't like to see them torn apart. We like to see them shiny, pretty, and operating as they were intended."

The museum says all their artifacts, from tanks to jeeps, are in working order. Christ say it gives visitors a chance to step back in time.

"We can take them for a ride," said Christ. "It's two lines, you punch a button, and you're in the Intercoastal Waterway. It's fun."

"This is the design that Andrew Higgins designed to go to Normandy," added Porche. "This is the type of boat that helped win the war, because without the ability to put so many people on that beach in such a short amount of time - it would've never happened."

For Porche, the restored boat's maiden voyage is a treat. Four years ago, he helped captain the vessel from Livingston Parish.

"We drove it across Lake Ponchartrain. We overnighted in New Orleans, and the next day we drove it to Houma," said Porche. "This is actually where we came, exact same launch, same kind of day."

Porche says to see Marvin Perrett back in the water where she belongs has been worth the wait.

"It's nice," he said. "Nice to see her back again."

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