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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

ORAL HISTORY

Billy Billeaud


A Cajun through and through—from his surname to his passion for fishing­—Billy Billeaud decided as a young man to transition from the profitable fast-food business to the more regionally focused grocery, meat market, and fuel stop that he has been running for the past 17 years. At Billeaud’s Grocery, you’ll find tubs of hog lard beside cans of Steen’s cane syrup; jarred roux beside Tony Chachere’s gumbo mixes; packets of beef jerky smoked on the premises beside T-shirts emblazoned with a crackling-maker’s motto: “Pop ‘Em When They’re Hot.” Billy doesn’t consider himself a cook, though with the advice of trusted friends and tasters, he developed the recipes for many of the store’s most profitable products, including its boudin, jerky, and rice dressing. Billeaud’s boudin is made with medium-grain rice, boneless pork butts, pork liver, an array of seasoning vegetables, and the dry seasoning mix that also flavors roasts and chops on sale in the store’s meat case. Billy doesn’t eat much boudin anymore, but when he does, his preference is to throw it on the barbecue pit at home, which imparts a smoky flavor and favorably dries out the casing.

Date of interview:
2007-08-20 00:00

Interviewer:
Sara Roahen

Photographer:
Sara Roahen

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