Nicholls professor builds houseboat from scratch

June 2011 News Abby Tabor -

THIBODAUX - On a hot, clear morning, Keri Turner was about to settle into the house of her dreams.

Turner, who teaches English at Nicholls State University, wove her way through a crowd of friends and relatives carrying ice chests and grocery bags full of goodies, making the final preparations for a housewarming party on the bayou.

Turner launched her homemade houseboat, the Katy Lucy, on its maiden voyage Friday down Bayou Lafourche. It's the name Turner's mother used to call her, when she was behaving.

"I'm so happy," she said, pausing to embrace a neighbor. "I think I'm going to cry."

Turner's inspiration for creating the houseboat started simply - she wanted a camp.

"All the ones I could afford weren't ones I would want," she said. "And I decided I didn't want to have to fight coastal erosion."

So what better way to deal with water, Turner figured, than to get a houseboat?

"I didn't see any houseboats I liked," she said nonchalantly. "So I decided to build my own."

The project started with a plain, flat barge, 55 by 22 feet. Over two years, Turner constructed a 680-square-foot wooden house on the floating foundation, from the water floor up.

Built from whatever wood Turner could get her hands on, the house has a fully functioning kitchen with a pantry full of pots, pans, and cooking supplies. There's a living room with a small TV and a wood-burning stove, a bathroom and a bedroom sporting a master bed and a pair of bunk beds.

"It's got all the comforts of a house," Turner said. "But I just love the motion of the water."


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