LUCY COMEAUX LEMMLER
Lucy Comeaux Lemmler was a factory workers and store owner from Biloxi Mississippi. Born in New Iberia, Louisiana on July 8, 1905, she would spend much of her early life growing up in the area. Her parents, Home and Marie Comeaux, were both sharecroppers who worked in New Iberia up until 1922 when the family moved to Biloxi with the prospect of working in the seafood industry. When they first arrived on the Coast, the family lived in tenement housing adjacent to the seafood factories. Like many seafood workers, hours were long and labor was intense, but from the age of seventeen years old, Lucy began working as a factory employee picking shrimp and shucking oysters. As seasons changed and different quantities of seafood came in, her duties would often rotate.
In 1924 at the age of nineteen, Lucy met Henry Philip Lemmler during the summer. Two years later on November 4, 1926, they were married at St. Michael’s Catholic Church. Lucy Comeaux continued her factory work until the birth of her first child in 1927. She spent the next decade at home with her children until the outbreak of war in Europe. In 1939, she returned to her position in the seafood factories to help support her family. At the same time, she assisted her husband Henry with a grocery business he owned known as Lemmler’s Grocery and Market. Overtime, the business became profitable enough that she was able to leave the factory and assist with the business full time. Their grocery store catered to seafood workers and fisherman in the area.
Throughout her career as a factory worker, Lucy worked at the Weems, Mavar, and Misko seafood factories. She continued managing the grocery store up until Henry’s death in 1953. Lucy moved back to the New Orleans area and remarried, she remained there until her retirement in 1970. She returned home to Biloxi and lived at 808 Holley Street until she passed away on December 3, 1988. Lucy Comeaux Lemmler is one of many factory workers who arrived in Biloxi with the hope of finding work and were able to find so much more. From her humble beginnings in tenement housing, Lucy was able to find both a career and a home.