2005 Industry Pioneers


John P. Laborde, Sr.John P. Laborde, Sr.

Fundamental to the success of the early offshore industry was safe, dependable marine transportation and supply. John Laborde, Sr. recognized the special requirements of the industry and led in the development of a vast fleet of fit-for-purpose vessels that serve the industry to this day. In 1956, he headed Tidewater Marine Service with two vessels, and led the company for the next 40 years, growing it to more than 700 vessels in 1994, when he retired.

Rigs had to be supplied with drilling mud, cement, water, spare parts, groceries and people, all of which required transport. Initially, surplus World War II vessels, wooden fishing boats, shrimp trawlers, oyster luggers, and tugs and barges were used. The development of the fit-for-purpose supply boat was a key technology in the development of offshore oilfields. Tidewater Marine Service, under the leadership of John Laborde and Alden “Doc” Laborde, developed the concept of a purpose-built boat using a bow wheelhouse and a long flat after deck that became the standard for Offshore Supply Vessels (OSVs) from 1955 to the present. Reflecting this new design, the Ebb Tide was the first in the fleet of industry giant Tidewater Inc., which John Laborde developed into the largest fleet of offshore supply vessels in the world.

John P. Laborde, Sr. graduated from Louisiana State University with BA and JD degrees. He is currently Chairman of Stewart Enterprises, Inc., VT Halter Marine, Inc., Laborde Marine Lifts, Inc. Laborde Products, Inc., Lab-More Properties, LLC and Laborde Integrated Services, Inc., and is a member of the board of Stone Energy Corporation. He has served on the boards of several other major corporations and is a well-known business and civic leader. In 2000, Louisiana Public Broadcasting honored him as a “Legend of Louisiana” and in 2003, Junior Achievement honored him with the Lifetime Achievement Award.