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Annie Labruzzo of Independence and her AutoCAD rendering of the Pioneer , the Civil War's first submarine. Labruzzo, an industrial technology major, was responsible for researching and drawing the submarine and each of its many components to scale. Other students who also worked on the project include Samuel Chapman of Baton Rouge and Raymond Zibilich of Slidell. The full-scale replica is on display at the Lake Pontchartrain BasinMaritime Museum. Industrial technology faculty professors Michael Beauvais, Roy Bonnette and Tony Blakeney coordinated and implemented the project.
Dr. Michael Beauvais, Assistant Professor
Dr. Roy Bonnette, Associate Professor
Anthony Blakeney, Instructor
Even in high tech fields, students can learn from the past- as when Southeastern industrial technology students used their skills to build a full scale replica of the Pioneer, a Civil War submarine.
The project was a by-product of a partnership between the University and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum in Madisonville. When the museum wanted a replica of the 1862 Pioneer (a predecessor to the Civil War's more famous Hunley), IT professors Michael Beauvais, Roy Bonnette and Tony Blakeney took on the challenge. History buff and construction specialist George Fairbanks of Gonzales Industrial X-Ray soon joined in the effort.
"Iknew what a great outreach program this could be for our students and a fun way for them to apply the skills they've learned in their various industrial technology classes," Bonnette said. "It was the perfect academic service learning project."
With only artists' renderings and written historical records to go by, students in IT's design-drafting concentration produced detailed 2D drawings, a solid model of the sub using AutoCAD, and a 3D prototype.
"Working on the drawing of the submarine reminded me of the popular phrase 'KISS - keep it simple, stupid,'" said Annie Labruzzo, who was responsible for researching and drawing the submarine and each of its many components to scale. "The mechanisms of the Pioneer were simple, but they worked. I came to appreciate the methods the Pioneer's creators used to put her together."
The steel plates were generously donated by Trinity Marine in Madisonville and rolled by Nugent Steel in Port Allen. Southeastern student members of the American Welding Society participated in the actual fabrication of the midsection at Klein Fabricators of Hammond. After five months of work, the Pioneer is now on display at the museum.
In a recent issue of the Journal of Industrial Technology, Bonnette said Southeastern will benefit "well into the future" from the intellectual partnerships the historic project cultivated.