Beau is the third generation proprietor of the business that has been making "Miracles in Meat" since 1891 when Valerie Jean-Batiste Bourgeois began slaughtering single pigs or cows and peddling the fresh cuts by horse and carriage to those living along the edges of bayous Terrebonne and Lafourche. With the advent of refrigeration he opened a storefront in the 1920s and began making the smoked sausage, hog's head cheese, and boudin that earned him a loyal patronage.
When his son, Lester, returned from service in WWII he took over the business, moving the market and slaughterhouse across the street. Of Lester's seven children it was his son, Donald, now 55, who took over the business . Now Donald's son, Beau, 30, is heading up day-to-day operations, freeing up his dad and Paw Paw to go fishing whenever they want to.
Each generation has its own legacy within the heritage business. Donald, known for his creativity in the kitchen, is the genius behind the market's famous smoked beef jerky, of which they sell thousands of pounds each week, shipping it all over the world. Something magical happened when he opened up a casing of boudin, folded the contents into a neat package within a flour tortilla , then toasted it The resulting Boudin Burrito is now the area's most popular grab-and-go lunch, served hot from a glass case on the counter near the cash register. His turkey cheese, a riff on the hog variety but made with dark turkey meat, is sought after by squeamish eaters and his mustard-based TTS (Totally Top Secret) sauce could probably make an old sweat sock palatable.
As the business moves into Beau's computer savvy hands his legacy will be expansion. A second market will soon open in nearby Gray. "Just to take some of the pressure off of this place," he says. "Sometimes it's hard to keep up."
As recently as the 1970s there were numerous butcher shops dotting the immediate area, now only Bourgeois' remains. Beau attributes the business' longevity and its status as a national landmark to his family's devotion to turning out top-quality products and adhering to strict customer service policies. The market prepares only enough products to serve a select number of customers each day. If they run out they make more, ensuring meats are always fresh.