Launching the "Gay Jane"
"Julia Mathews Dulas - One Fantastic Little Lady" along with Mayor Billie Haggett
While the "Gay Jane" was under construction Lou Wasey (L.R. Wasey) became fond of Julia Mathews, the 10 year old daughter of Francis Mathews the builder. It was the election of Lou to have Julia christen the vessel, and therefore on July 4th, 1930, Julia Mathews accompanied by Mayor Billie B. Haggett of Daytona Beach wished the Gay Jane the best as she slid down the railway at the Mathews Boatworks. According to Jane Hartge, writer for the Daytona Beach Times, the launching was one of the major July 4th events in Daytona Beach that day.
The "Gay Jane", on railway at launching waiting for favorable tide
As a young girl, Julia was impressed with the new green porcelain bath fixtures being installed in the "Gay Jane". When we contacted Julia in the Summer of 1999, one of the first questions she asked was "is there still a green commode in the bathroom?". The green fixtures are still in the boat today! The original launch flagging was found on the boat during restoration along with "Mathews Boat Works ballast leads"
Julia Mathews Dulas & Cathy Burns at re-christening
At the 1999 Wooden Boat Festival in Madisonville Louisiana, Julia honored us by re-christening the vessel as the "Le Bon Temps Roule". Also present from the Francis Mathews family were: Julia's sister, Charlene Mathews Poole; their brother Francis Edward Mathews II, John Boots Sr., son of Charlotte Mathews Boots, and Captain John Boots Jr. The festival was a terrific event and a great reunion for the Mathews family. We hope they will return to the decks of the "Le Bon Temps Roule" again and again. Francis Mathews II worked on the Gay Jane during construction. He actually designed and carved the scroll work on the bow of the vessel depicting an "M" for Mathews. I cannot say enough for this family. They are all outstanding people. What a tribute to Francis Mathews having them all aboard his vessel 70 years after her construction. We will never forget that day!
The Mathews family lost touch of the "Gay Jane" just before the war. The thought was that she was commandeered into service, and the whereabouts were unknown. Captain John Boots, Jr., a delivery captain, was constantly looking for his grandfather's favorite boat as he traveled from port to port. In 1997, Captain John pulled into the Orleans Marina in New Orleans on his way to Texas with a vessel. To his surprise, there was the "Gay Jane", just a few slips from where he would be docking. Captain John said he did not even remember securing the boat before he ran down the dock to see her. Francis Mathews' pride of construction has filtered through this entire family!
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