Reserve man finds another’s treasure trying metal detector for first time

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 21, 2011

By David Vitrano


RESERVE – The purchase of a metal detector is often accompanied by dreams of buried treasure, but Reserve resident Gary Comeaux never suspected he would strike gold so quickly after acquiring one of the devices.

“I just decided to buy one,” said Comeaux. “I put it together, and I went out in the yard.”

Comeaux has lived in the house near St. Peter for about 16 years, but the house was built in 1931, so he was not surprised he found something. It was what he found that surprised him.

“I didn’t expect to strike gold the first time I used it,” he said.

As the device made its indicative screech, Comeaux began to dig, and he pulled something shiny from the soil.

“Before my eyes had a chance to focus on it, my wife pulled it out of my hands,” he said.

His wife, Lovey Comeaux, said she became excited when she first saw the wildcat engraved on the object, which turned out to be a ring. She flipped it over and saw the pelican on the other side and grew even more excited. But it was the next discovery that made the find so interesting.

The ring, a class ring from Leon Godchaux High School, had the initials MAC engraved on the back. The couple recognized the initials as matching those of the house’s first owner, Max Cambre. Lovey Comeaux said she knew Cambre when she was growing up in the neighborhood. The date on the ring, 1947, was far to recent to have been his graduation ring, so the couple deduced it must have belonged to his son, Max Cambre Jr.

Gary Comeaux then took to the Internet to look up the name, and as luck would have it, only one name matched. The listing belonged to an 81-year-old man living in Indiana. He called the number and found out his discovery did belong to the man he found online.

“I was completely taken by surprise,” said Max Cambre Jr., who moved away from the area shortly after graduating from LSU. “I’ll probably restore it to its original condition.”

Cambre said he thinks he lost the ring in 1948 or 1949.

The ring itself has survived being buried for more than six decades surprisingly well. The stone is intact but is no longer attached to the rest of the ring.

Other than that, all the engravings are remarkably clear.

Although his find may not increase his material wealth, Gary Comeaux is pleased with his initial discovery, if for no other reason than it has swayed his wife’s opinion of his purchase of a metal detector.

Said Lovey Comeaux, “I had been saying, ‘What do you need a metal detector for?’ Now I think it’s kind of fun.”