Faces of the Boom: Louisiana men bring mobile motel, Cajun cooking to the Oil Patch
WILLISTON -- Louisiana native Dex Comardelle brings Southern hospitality to North Dakota workforce housing.
The 23-year-old was working toward a degree in hospitality management at the University of Louisiana when he started to hear about North Dakota's oil boom.
Comardelle and his father, Ricky, who has provided living quarters for offshore drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico for 25 years, decided to team up. They formed a company called Go-Motel and opened a workforce housing lodge north of Williston as their first step.
The lodge, which houses about 150 oilfield workers, aims to provide a more hotel-like atmosphere with larger rooms and more privacy rather than some camps that require workers to have roommates or share bathrooms.
"We're trying to change what people think of when they hear of workforce accommodations," said Comardelle, who has been working in North Dakota for about a year-and-a-half.
Great food also is a priority for the lodge, which has Cajun night every Wednesday that is a big hit with many oilfield workers who also are from the South.
"They get a little taste of home," Comardelle said. "We would like to make this as close to home as possible for them."
Go-Motel catered for the North Dakota Petroleum Council's Bakken Rocks CookFest last week and won judges' favorite in Parshall.
Moving 1,800 miles to North Dakota was a big step, but the oil boom provided an opportunity for Comardelle and his father to get the business going. They have developed a design of portable hotel rooms and plan to expand in other areas of the country.
"North Dakota was my first real big job," he said. "I love it. I love this industry. It's something I have a passion for. I'm happy that North Dakota could be the place I get my start."
Dalrymple is a Forum News Service reporter stationed in the Oil Patch. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 701-580-6890.