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
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".
at Mary Walker Marina...
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
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.
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
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