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Lafite businessman volunteers to salvage sunken fishing boat

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Lafitte businessmen are volunteering their time and company assets in hopes of lifting boats that sank after Hurricane Ida and rebuilding them.

It’s been almost a year since Hurricane Ida devastated the Lafitte area, and nearly a year since lifelong fishermen and shrimp hunters lost their livelihoods. It’s a sacrifice.

“From now until next week it’s going to be really bad for me because the season starts at 6 on Monday and I don’t have a boat to go trawling,” said shrimp fisherman Kirk Fisher.

Fisher has earned a living, raised a family, and brought Louisiana Gulf seafood to your table for half a century. He started shrimp fishing when he was 13 years old.

“I raised my kids, my wife and two granddaughters and am still here,” Fisher said.

But he and many others in Lafite are in the same boat. Hurricane Ida washed away their ship.

“And no one could find it. It was overturned and sunk,” he said.

Kirk got angry. He didn’t even know who or what the federal government had ordered an out-of-state salvage company to scrap his wreck.

“They actually stole our lives. It’s for me and I’m crushing it,” Fisher said.

The same thing happened with Thomas Olivier.

“You don’t even know how angry I am about this,” said fisherman Thomas Olivier.

However, many trawlers are still wrecked on the bayou. Most owners do not have insurance for lifting.

“Three places I called were asking for $15,000 a year. That’s where your livelihood is,” Fisher said.

But now, businessmen are volunteering to raise their time and company assets one by one for free, in the hope that their ships and livelihoods will be restored.

“You’ve had a boat you’ve worked with all your life, right? Louisiana Rep. Tim Kerner, Sr. (R) District 84, said:

For Grant Bundy, it means his, his family and his employees’ salaries.
“Wow. That’s great. That’s great,” said Grant Bundy, owner of Bundy Seafood.

Boats come to his dock with daily hauls. He unloads and freezes tens of thousands of pounds of fresh shrimp to deliver to processors and distributors, but with no boats on the water, his business is at a standstill.

“We pay everything out of pocket. So it’s licking us. It was tough. We made it last minute,” Bundy said.

Lifting these boats is a gift and good news for Grant and the other fishermen, but the future remains uncertain for Thomas and Kirk, who have just lost their wife of 48 years.

“I’m very strong. I don’t sleep until two or three in the morning. I’m just staring at the wall thinking about the boat and how I’m going to get it back,” Fisher said.

And the business owner plans to hoist 11 more boats on Saturday. He already has five of them up and hopes to do more in the future.

To help Kirk Fisher get back to shrimp fishing, visit

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