Today, when most people want a boat, they go to a marina or boat dealer and purchase a fiberglass or metal boat. But for larger craft, hand crafted from wood, one has to look a little harder for the skilled boat builders who can do the job. One such boat manufacturer is Lawrence "Moot" Billiot. Mr. Billiot resides in Dulac, Louisiana, and is descended from French and Native American (Houma tribe) stock. Mr. Billiot is more comfortable speaking French, attesting to his French background. Mr. Billiot builds boats without the assistance of blueprints, using only the extensive knowledge stored in his head and the tools in his hands.
According to Mr. Billiot, steel boats require more maintenance than wooden boats. Steel boats must be chipped and the rust sanded off before repainting, while a wooden boat just needs sanding and repainting. Mr. Billiot builds several types of boats including a Lafitte skiff (47 feet long), a semi-V bottom, and flat bottom boats. He will also occasionally build scale models of his full-size boats which he sells for about $100. According to Mr. Billiot, the V-bottom boats can ride rough water more easily than a flat bottom. This is especially important to those who are going out into the Gulf to fish. It takes Mr. Billiot approximately three months with good weather to build a boat 40-foot or more in length. The boats are made from cypress planks or marine plywood, and can be quite durable if they are cared for properly. The boats can be outfitted for shrimping or pleasure. And Mr. Lawrence Billiot takes pleasure in building fine hand crafted boats for his customers.