The Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum preserves and promotes the area’s long, colorful and historically important cultural and economic ties alligator photowith the seafood and water transportation industries, as well as other wetlands and water-based hunting, gathering and mining occupations. The entire museum showcases the relationship between water and the local people who make their living from the water.
The site where the museum now stands has undergone many incarnations over the years. Originally developed in the 1880’s to serve as a warehouse for Daigle Barge Lines, the building served as a focal point for Houma’s growing freight industry. Towards the turn of the century, the existing warehouse was purchased by the Cenac family and used in their oyster packing business. It was during this period that Houma assumed the unofficial title of “oyster capital of the world.” Later (circa 1917), the building was transformed by Armand St. Martin, who made it into a labeling and transshipment facility for the Indian Ridge Canning Company, as shrimp began to overtake oysters in economic importance. The building stood empty for years after refrigeration and flash-freezing made canning obsolete.
The parish (county) discussed the idea of turning the a l00-year-oldwaterlife building photo packing shed into a museum of local history and began soliciting donations from the private sector to help fund it. However, before the project could be completed, the old cypress wood-framed building burned down in April 1997. New plans were drawn up which closely resembled the original building and the museum opened to the public late in 1999.