‘Spirit of Morgan City’ gets painted

Jack Autrey, left, stands in front of the Spirit of Morgan City with his father, Brennan Autrey.
Submitted Photos Courtesy of Brennan Autrey

From left, Emily Allemond, Zack Allemond, Catherine Autrey, Dave Laubach and Jack Autrey paint the Spirit of Morgan City shrimp boat Saturday.
Submitted Photos Courtesy of Brennan Autrey

By ZACHARY FITZGERALD zfitzgerald@daily-review.com

The Spirit of Morgan City shrimp boat on Brashear Avenue has a fresh coat of paint just in a time for the Shrimp & Petroleum Festival, thanks to Boy Scout Jack Autrey, his fellow scouts and family.
Autrey, 14, of Morgan City, and Boy Scout Troop 41 in Patterson, painted the Spirit of Morgan City shrimp boat Saturday for his Eagle Scout project.
Autrey, a freshman at Central Catholic High School, chose to paint the shrimp boat for his Eagle Scout project because the paint was fading badly, he said. With the Shrimp & Petroleum Festival approaching, visitors from out of town see the shrimp boat when they first come into the city so Autrey thought it would be a good idea to paint it, he said.
He had to get the project approved by the city and by his scoutmaster and father, Brennan Autrey, he said. Jack Autrey had to fill out a 27-page packet in order to do his Eagle Scout project, Brennan Autrey said. “It’s very involved,” Brennan Autrey said.
In the winter of 2013, Jack Autrey began brainstorming possible project ideas. He originally planned to put on a 5K run to raise money for a charity, Brennan Autrey said. “Then the shrimp boat came up, and we kind of got started rolling on that,” Brennan Autrey said. City Public Works Superintendent Jean Paul Bourg told the Autreys that the shrimp boat was in desperate need of painting, he said.
City officials did not know when the last time the Spirit of Morgan City had gotten a fresh coat of paint, Brennan Autrey said. The red stripe on the boat had faded to a pink color before the group painted it Saturday, he said.
Bourg and city carpenter Jack Morin helped Jack Autrey with the project. Johnny Lancon donated all the paint and supplies. “A big part of the project, of course, is your monetary issues, and for somebody to come out and donate everything, that’s a load off,” Brennan Autrey said.
Jack Autrey’s grandmother, Pat Autrey, was Miss Morgan City in 1968 and christened the boat that year, Brennan Autrey said.
The Eagle Scout project provides a scout with the opportunity to become a young leader by getting supplies, deciding what to do when, get the project approved and then get other people to help, Brennan Autrey said.
Liam McCloy, Dave Laubach, Zack Allemond, Emily Allemond, Anthony Saleme, Matthew Nell, Remmy Begley, Tyler Bourdier, Johnny Allemond and Catherine Autrey helped Jack Autrey paint the boat.
They started prepping to paint the boat at about 7 a.m. Saturday and finished with the project around 2 p.m. “We were surprised we got it done in one day,” Brennan Autrey said.
Jack Autrey thanked Boy Scouts of America Chitimacha District Advancement Chairman Dan Duplantis, Morgan City Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi, Bourg, Lancon, and Domino’s Pizza for donating pizzas Saturday.
Though becoming an Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in Boy Scouts, Jack Autrey plans to stay involved with his troop, he said. The purpose of Boy Scouts is teaching leadership that scouts can apply in their future jobs as adults, Brennan Autrey said.
Jack Autrey and Brennan Autrey have been kicking around the idea of starting a Venture Crew, which is a co-ed group sponsored by Boy Scouts of America that allows members to stay involved until age 21, Brennan Autrey said. Jack Autrey’s sister, Catherine Autrey, is interested in Venture Crew as well, he said.

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