The Lafitte Skiff
South Louisiana has many types and styles of wooden boats ranging from 10-foot pirogues to large 50-foot shrimp boats. There are many builders of these wooden boats, each with his own style and method. While traveling down one of the many waterways in South Louisiana, a visitor will find wooden boats being built in backyards, front yards, and on the bayou side in boatsheds.
One type of wooden craft, which is unique to South Louisiana, is the Lafitte skiff. This versatile craft can range in size from 14 to 50 feet. When it was first built, this skiff typically was flat-bottomed, but over the years the hull has evolved into a semi-V design with a flair; curve, and fantail. The small fishing town of Lafitte, Louisiana near the Gulf of Mexico is where the Lafitte skiff is presumed to have originated. The town was named after the pirate Jean Lafitte who supposedly frequented this area. Lafitte skiffs are primarily used in the inland waters of South Louisiana, mostly in the larger bays and lakes. The skiffs can navigate in the Gulf of Mexico, but they are restricted by their construction and design to a few miles offshore.
Bow view of Lafitte skiff before cockpit and other riggings have been added.