2020 Louisiana Fur King L
Yank Willard Savoie
In a year that the Louisiana Fur and Wildlife Festival honors the contributions to Cameron Parish of the Energy Industry, one of the parish’s older means of making a living and now one that has the eyes of the world on our parish, one particular
gentleman comes immediately to mind. Living in Cameron Parish all of his life, Louisiana Fur and Wildlife Festival King Fur L attended Creole School, worked after school at the crab factory, and was very active in athletics. At a dance at the Fiesta Lounge in Cameron, he met a former Grand Lake athlete and they were married five months later, on December 31, 1955. That New Year’s Eve duo soon became a party of six.
Initially, this year’s king had an office job with the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) in Cameron, but quickly realized that indoor work was not his forte. Thus, from 1952 to 1963, he worked for a variety of pipeline companies including Brown and Root, Associated Pipeline, and Halmac. From 1963 to 1970, he worked for Sooner Pipeline and Supply, and from 1970-1980, he worked for Crain Brothers, McDaniel’s Oilfield, OSI Oil and Gas, and Cameron Construction; then, from 1980-1986, he worked for Timco Casing. The primary career of his lifetime and the one for which he is best known began in 1986 when Mr. Roy Bailey called for him to visit at Roy Bailey Construction. Having just received a diagnosis of cancer, Mr. Bailey asked King Fur to run his business while his medical condition kept him in Houston for treatments. King Fur immediately agreed to do a favor for a friend and remains at Roy Bailey Construction today. King Fur’s work ethic contributed to the ongoing success of Roy Bailey Construction. While on any job, his favorite saying that he would share with his crew was, "We gotta make a showing" because the “company men” are watching. He provided ham, bread and chips to feed his crew, so they did not have to leave the worksite for lunch. If he walked in the shop and someone was sitting who should have been up and working, he would shake his head and say, "I never seen the liking of this.” Lunchtime, break time or anytime of the day, he expected employees to work, if there was work to be done. That work ethic was passed on to those that appreciated that hard work and attentiveness to detail result in successful completion of contracts and opens the door to more business opportunities.
Even though King Fur worked hard, in his free time, he trapped, and assisted with the activities of his sons and tried to never miss any event in which they were involved. He also always found time for assisting within the community, especially the youth of Cameron Parish, in whom he took a great interest. He was an active parishioner of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church, Cameron Parish Farm Bureau, and the Woodmen of the World. He spent many volunteer hours with the Boys Scouts, youth baseball teams and the Rodeo Club. He served on the Creole Water Board. In December of 2004, King Fur was named Older Worker of the Year by the Cameron Parish Council on Aging. His integrity, work ethic and many kindnesses to others remain today.
King Fur L has been married for 64 years to Twila Bernadine Fontenot and is father to sons Arlo, Shadd, Aaron and Jess, father-in-law to two Pams and Jenifer, grandfather to Jennifer, Laura, Alec, Jody, Kayla, Barrett, Layna, Jaycie and Jordan and great-grandfather to Kobe, Kaden, Thomas, Kinley, Sterling, Buller, Helen, Jackson, John Ervin, Nathan, and Collin.
Given this year’s emphasis on the integral role of the Energy Industry in Cameron Parish and on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Fur and Festival 2020, it is quite fitting that Mr. Willard John Savoie, known affectionately to most as “Mr. Yank”, is crowned the Louisiana Fur and Wildlife Festival King Fur L.