The dream began in the early 1940's. Frank Wentzel was a horsetrader type and a gambling man. He had an idea: to sell cold drinks and bait to the fishermen who plied the waters of the bayou, the river and the Gulf. With two partners who put up $10 each, a small tract was bought at the edge of the bayou, and with a couple of buckets, ice, cold drinks, and bait for sale, the Mary Walker fish Camp opened for business.
A young daughter, Rita, and a son, Frank Wentzel, jr., helped with the project. The two partners were later bought out. "We need a cabin," said the elder Wentzel, and spying an unused piano crate that had housed a baby grand, the first structure went up, and in a matter of days, a pot bellied stove was going inside the black and yellow cabin, the first one that boasted a screened-in porch.

A young Coast Guardsman named Wally Andrews entered the picture. Leaving the service with $1500 saved in War Bonds, and marrying Rita Wentzel, a house nearby was purchased, and the camp began to shape up. Approximately 1942, Frank Wentzel, Jr. and Wally Andrews dredged the bayou for a channel, using five gallon paint buckets and a skiff. The narrow channel was made by lifting the buckets of silt by hand.

There is a legend of how the bayou allegedly got its name. There was a lumber camp back in the earlier years and nearby was a boarding house for the workmen. A New Orleans woman came to live there named Mary Walker. She was later arrested and extradited back to Louisiana, allegedly for crimes she had committed there. It was the lumbermen who transported their logs and lumber on the bayou and the Pascagoula river who gave the name to the bayou ... calling it after the New Orleans "lady of ill repute".

Today at Mary Walker Marina...


"Little Boy", Leon Mendenhall, has been an integral part of Mary Walker Marina for forty years. He is known and loved by everyone. He knows everything about Mary Walker Marina. He operates Mary Walker's live Bait Boat which bears his name ... "Little Boy".
Over eleven acres of space with a large residential house, Marina Ship Store, our gathering place, 'the Deck", fuel dock, bait facilities, covered boat stalls, boat ramps and dry storage areas .... Mary Walker Marina is your full service Marina.

Mary Walker Marina has been base camp for fishermen for almost 60 years. There have been lies told and sizes exaggerated ... but pictures tell the real story.

"Little Boy" is a native of Camden, Alabama. On a visit to Gautier to see an aunt, as a 16 year-old boy, he started cutting grass for Mary Walker Marina. Three months later, he was learning how to maneuver the 30-foot shrimp boat for Wally and Rita Andrews. He loves the water and can drive any boat in the marina.

The nickname, "Little Boy," was given to him by his oldest aunt, because he was so small. Now standing 5' 8 inches tall, he says, I don't think most people know me by my real name of Leon. Almost everyone calls me "Little Boy".