Our Kind of People

Ocean Springs man a hairdresser, construction worker, alligator hunter

JUSTIN MITCHELL/SUN HERALD 
 John Austin Maugh of Maugh Construction, Inc. helped renovate and rebuild Twisted Anchor Tattoo in downtown Ocean Springs.
JUSTIN MITCHELL/SUN HERALD John Austin Maugh of Maugh Construction, Inc. helped renovate and rebuild Twisted Anchor Tattoo in downtown Ocean Springs.

OCEAN SPRINGS -- John Austin Maugh still keeps his license to practice cosmetology, even though he doesn't cut hair anymore -- in fact, he said he's too busy to give his own mother a trim.

The Ocean Springs native cut hair for a decade at Todd Boswell Salon but left his booth to pursue a career in construction. He is a now fifth-generation contractor.

"I always did construction because my dad was a contractor," he said. "When I graduated high school, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Todd Boswell was a good friend of my family, and he said, 'Hey, why don't you cut hair?'"

Maugh, 31, got his license and built an extensive clientele in Ocean Springs, but still did odd jobs in construction on the side.

He said he enjoyed getting to know people whose hair he cut. And the money was great.

"To me, a $100 tip was insane, and I got those multiple times," he said. "Around Christmas time, I had one client who gave me $500 on top of the $100 she gave every time she would come in."

He said some clients sneaked tips into his pocket while he was washing someone's hair.

He liked cutting hair, but he said something was missing. He took a leap of faith and left Boswell's Ocean Springs mainstay three years ago to run Maugh Construction. Now he works 16-hour days building houses, renovating buildings and doing HVAC work.

His latest project -- renovating an old house on Government Street into what is now Twisted Anchor Tattoo Gallery -- had him working at all hours. The project took about 15 months. He and owner Matt Stebly are very best friends. He is the godfather of Stebly's son, Anderson.

"It's really fulfilling," he said. "I like being able to see what I did, and how much better of a billboard can you get than this in downtown Ocean Springs?"

Maugh said people still send him Facebook messages all the time, asking him to arrange his schedule to give a quick haircut or a fresh fade.

But he just doesn't have time. He said last week his schedule included replacing nine air conditioners in the near future.

"I still get occasional hate mail on Facebook," he said. "You know how women are about who cuts their hair. That s--- can be real detrimental."

Maugh has another interesting title on his resumé -- alligator hunter.

He said he's been going into the Louisiana swamps for 15 years, hunting with his family.

"On the last Wednesday in August, I go to Louisiana for a week or two and kill a couple hundred alligators," he said.

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