Longtime Oyster Farmer, Voice In Katrina Aftermath Dies

Longtime listeners to Weekend Edition will remember Mike Voisin, owner of an oyster processing operation in Houma, La. Former host Liane Hansen visited him several times in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He passed away earlier this month after suffering a heart attack at the age of 59.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

West of New Orleans, in the waterways near Houma, Louisiana, a community of oyster farmers is mourning the loss of one of its proudest spokesmen. Longtime listeners to WEEKEND EDITION may remember Mike Voisin, owner of Motivatit Seafoods. Our colleague Liane Hansen visited with him several times in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Voisin was a tireless champion of Louisiana's seafood industry, which suffered some traumatic times, from devastating storms to a massive oil spill. Described by friends as a big strong cajun, Voisin was a seventh-generation oysterman. Nothing pleased him more than the sound of oysters clattering down the conveyor belt in his plant. That was evident when we paid a visit late in 2005 as the plant came back online after the devastation of the hurricanes.

(SOUNDBITE OF CLATTERING)

MIKE VOISIN: We're back in business. It really feels good. It was - the first day was like Christmas morning. It was an exciting moment to go back and see people working and oysters in the plant and to see the docks and the boats coming in. And what we do is fun. It's part of who we are. It's part of our culture. People were smiling during that week because they were back to work, you know, and people want to work. I believe that work is a big part of what we're doing here on this Earth.

MARTIN: That's Mike Voisin, a gentle, generous, and hard-working cajun. He died earlier this month at the age of 59. Louisiana officials are planning to name a new oyster dish in his honor.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

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