It’s a historic time for a historic business here on the Coast.
A century has come and gone and one D’Iberville business is still serving the oyster industry on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and beyond. Balius Welding and Iron Works is known for its oyster dredges, which are made and welded on site.
Currently owned by Dann Balius and founded by Noel Balius Sr., the business originally specialized only in dredges, sent to customers worldwide. Dann said, “You would go into his shop, they would have, he had one section of his shop was just nothing but dredges, but they wasn’t special ordered like they are now.”
Nowadays, customers can special order the dredges in various sizes and specifications. Though the company has added iron fencing, doors and residential work to its services, dredges remain a big part of the family business. “I would say the dredging is probably about 45 to 50 and sometimes even 60 percent.”
While the business has withstood numerous hurricanes and other changes, the one constant has been the Balius family’s commitment to keeping the family tradition going. “My dad was trained by my grandpa, which was excellent and then my dad trained all of us. We all grew up in the welding business.”
With grandsons who have taken an interest in the business, the hope for Balius is to continue well into the next century. “I’m at that point where I have to start looking for someone to carry it on. I do have grandsons so that’s my goal.”
Good, quality work has been the key to success for the Balius family over the year. “Quality work comes first. Your workmanship and everything you do comes first. All of the other stuff will follow if you do that.”