‘It’s a good pastime’: 91-year-old fisherman crafts model paper boats in Venice

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VENICE, La. — John Barrios is 91-years young.

He lives down in Venice, Louisiana, and is still a full-time fisherman.

Barrios goes out on the water every day to catch live bait for the marinas.

When he returns home, he continues his day by crafting model troll boats out of paper.

“When I was a kid, we never had Santa Claus like the kids have today. We was very poor, and so I used to pick up driftwood and make little boats out of it to play with in the river. I just started this here about two years ago. I started making them out of paper like this here,” says Barrios as he showcases the light-weight boats.

“I’m not a TV guy. I don’t like sitting down and watching TV, ya know?” Barrios says.

In his spare time from fishing, he makes the paper boats in a shed right behind his home.

Even though he says making the boat mold is easy, the intricate details are what makes this hobby time-consuming.

“What takes all of the time is the rigging on it. When you got to put all kinds of riggin’s, you put whatever kind of riggings and rig it the best way you can,” says Barrios.

“It’s a good pasttime. That’s the main thing about it. It’s nothing fancy, nothing fancy at all,” says Barrios as he delicately continues to work on his creations.

So I asked if he would ever consider retiring?

“No, I ain’t gonna stop,” he answered with a chuckle.

Barrios holds true to the old saying, “if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life.”

He sells his products each year at the Orange Festival for $40 a piece.


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