Andy Thibodeaux and Willie Burson
Eunice Superette & Slaughter House, Inc.
The Eunice Superette and Slaughter House is a family owned and operated slaughter house. A full-size cow statue atop the business sign signals the location to passers-by, though pork product–especially boudin–is a major seller in the retail shop.
From the outside, the Eunice Superette is an unremarkable concrete building set atop a gravel parking lot. Heavy duty pick-up trucks, belonging to the thirty-plus employees, sit on the lot’s far side. The smell of livestock lingers over the area, wafting from the pens out back that hold animals for slaughter.
On the inside, the rude smell of livestock gives way to the cool odor of the butcher shop. Lime green walls offer a striking backdrop to the bright offerings in the meat case. Hand lettered signs advertising weekly specials hang along a clothesline that runs the length of the counter, and the back wall supports a poster declaring, “We sell American meats only.” Butchers behind the meat case, wearing plastic hard hats and white jackets smeared with blood, offer help to customers, trim meats by request, and wrap products for carry-out.
The Superette serves hundreds of individual customers each week in their store, but the larger portion of their business supports small retail outlets. As regulations have curtailed the butchering of whole animals by mom-and-pop shops in the area, they have had to turn to USDA approved suppliers for their meats. The Superette has USDA approval but, as an independent, it’s one of the smaller competitors in the market. Competition from corporate conglomerates threatens them; they can offer local products and special services, unlike bigger processors, but find it difficult to compete on price.
The Boudin Trail is fortunate to have collected two interviews at the Superette. Andy Thibodeaux is a butcher who has worked at the plant for eleven years. He learned the trade at his family’s butcher shop, but moved to the Superette when the business sold to new management outside the family. Willie Burson is one of the Superette’s youngest employees, and grandson of the Superette’s founder. He grew up around the slaughter house and has worked in all areas of the business. Both men now work in the front of the house, creating specialty cuts of meat for customers and making boudin.
NOTE: What follows is a portion of the original interviews that have been edited for length. The Andy Thibodeaux interview appears first. Jump to the interview with Willie Burson. To download the entire transcripts in PDF form, please click here for Andy Thibodeaux and here for Willie Burson.
EDITED TRANSCRIPT – ANDY THIBODEAUX
Subject: Andy Thibodeaux
Date: February 17, 2009
Location: Eunice Superette & Slaughter House, Inc.—Eunice, LA
Interviewer & Photographer: Mary Beth Lasseter