Founded in 1866, the shipyard was originally known as Boland & Gschwind. It was located in New Orleans, Louisiana. At first, the company was a chain manufacturing facility that catered to agricultural industries. However, when World War II was approaching, the government invested in Boland Machine and Manufacturing Co. to become one of the main contractors to refurbish and activate military vessels. The ships built by it were manufactured with asbestos, which endangered the health of workers and military members. Perhaps the occupation with the highest level of asbestos exposure was boilermakers, as they would have to use raw asbestos for making the material used for insulation. On the average military ship, there were 300 asbestos products.