GatorTar Alligator Guitar
Alligator art guitars from Louisiana


John Preble   John Preble was born in 1948 in New Orleans Louisiana. His father, Warren G. Preble, was a mathematician from Kansas. His mother, Marie Louise Soperri, was from Basel, Switzerland. Preble grew up in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, a working class suburb of New Orleans.

With encouragement from his mother, John pursued his interest in art. The family purchased an electric chord organ when he was teenager. For the next year, John had informal electric organ lessons . During high school, in the mid 1960s, he developed an interest in independent film-making which was all the craze. With the arrival of the Beatles on the music scene, he was inspired to write music. Though his achievement on the organ was unremarkable, he would occasionally play with other musicians. All along, he continued to write songs.

Planning to study Architecture, he attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now known as the University of Louisiana, in Lafayette. His mischievous behavior resulted in him being dismissed from the university during his first year. The following year he returned to complete a semester. However, due to his low grades he was not allowed to return for the following semester. After sitting out that semester, he took a job with a motion picture studio in Dallas, TX. He was there for less than a year before returning to Lafayette, once again, to complete his Fine Arts degree program.

Upon returning to Lafayette, he met Margareta Lahme, a divorced German woman with 2 young sons. She was thirteen years his senior. They shared a house that became a popular meeting place for artists. It was there that he met Ann O'Brien, who would, years later, become his wife.

He was a popular student with his professors. He was also very outspoken. All during this time, his interest in music continued. His friends were mostly musicians and artists. These included Ed Pramuk, a professor of Art at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Pramuk encouraged him to transfer to the Baton Rouge school where, after attending two semesters, he graduated.

In the early seventies, Preble, Lahme, O'Brien, and John Hodge, an artist friend, moved to Abita Springs, Louisiana. The idea was to be able to live close to each other for artistic inspiration. While renovating the house Lahme had purchased, Preble learned the skills of electrical wiring, plumbing, and basic carpentry. These skills would later allow him to purchase and renovate his own "fixer upper" houses. Preble and Lahme separated a few years after moving to Abita Springs. He purchased his first house across the street from Lahme's home. Preble started Abita Springs Pottery, an enterprise which lasted only a couple of years. He stopped making pottery upon accepting a position on the Art Department faculty at Loyola University in New Orleans. Preble was relieved of his position because his aesthetic beliefs were not shared by his fellow professors - it was a mutual parting.

Preble and O'Brien began dating shortly after her divorce from her first husband, Jerry Thomas. O'Brien had been making art jewelry as a teenager which she developed into a successful career. Preble and O'Brien were married in 1979 and a few years later, they had their first son, Andrew. Five years later, their second son, William, was born.

The Preble -O'Brien household was the center of the artistic community in Abita Springs for many years. They hosted numerous holiday parties and their guest house was often occupied. During this time the couple succeeded in "flipping" houses in the local booming real estate market.

Dub Brock (Bobby Lounge) and Preble struck up a friendship when the two discovered a common interest in the piano and in song writing. With a partner, Edward Deano, Preble purchased a music venue in Mandeville to create a stage where Bobby Lounge could perform. He had encouraged Lounge to write and perform with the goal of becoming a popular regional entertainer. Not long after this was underway, Lounge was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome This disability put his career on hold for the over twelve years. When Bobby Lounge became well enough to perform once again, Preble became his manager. He parlayed Lounge's absence from the music scene into a local "come back" phenomena.

During the mid 90's Preble became involved with Franzen Brothers. Circus. He met Wayne Franzen once when the circus came to Abita Springs, and later Preble worked with the one-ring tent show. Preble's work with the circus ended in 1997 when Wayne was tragically killed by one of the troupe's tigers.

Preble created a series of paintings of Creole women that were very popular with art collectors in the 1990s. In 2000 he opened a curious tourist attraction called the UCM Museum in Abita Springs. Preble has since renamed it the Abita Mystery House. He realized that the word 'museum' was not an accurate description of his odd enterprise.

Preble's home was partially destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Shortly thereafter, O'Brien was diagnosed with cancer. She died five months later, in 2006. Devastated by the death of his wife of 27 years, and burdened by the damage reaped by the hurricane, Preble survived with the help of the small town community as he "walked through the desert" for a year. Preble kept busy with parenting his sons and stabilizing their damage home. As a result of these life altering events, Preble became more introspective and interested in the human experience. The lack of tourism resulted in a shift of focus for Preble. Once again he has pursued music business interests.

All guitars are one of a kind, gig worthy works of art from the studio of John Preble, Abita Springs, Louisiana.