Wood / Dulac, LA
Many Houma artistic traditions are occupational; but all reflect the natural environment and utilize materials still abundant in the bayous and coastal marshes.
Roy is a a member of the Houma Indian tribe, a French-speaking people and the largest surviving Native group in Louisiana. He was born and raised in Dulac, along Grand Caillou Bayou, in Terrebonne Parish. He grew up around the tradition of carving wood. Roy began carving in 1976, making small wooden aninmals and miniature pirogues. He found that he was especially interested in carving animals, and he is well known today for his long-necked geese, ducks, beavers, rabbits, birds, fish, turtles, panthers, pelicans, and frogs. He recnetly also makes raccoons and owls, although he says that getting the owls' beak right is a challenge. Mr. Parfait tries to use local woods like cypress, willow, and tupelo gum for his carvings as often as possible. Fluent in English and French, Roy Parfait often serves as a spokesperson for his tribe's culture and history, a contact for Houma craftspeople, and an interpreter for those who speak little English.