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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. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

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Larry Avery

French Market Foods might not be a household name in Louisiana or beyond, but the brand under which most of the company’s products are marketed—Tony Chachere’s—most certainly is. Grocery store aisles and meat markets brim with Creole and Cajun seasoning mixes, but Tony Chachere’s seasoning in particular is as abundant in households across Louisiana as dark-roast coffee and cane syrup. The alliance between the two companies ensures that every French Market Foods product sold under the Tony Chachere’s label is seasoned with Tony Chachere’s blend (thereby feeding the co-dependence between so many Louisianians and the spice mix born in Opelousas). Among the Tony Chachere’s goods prepared and packaged at French Market Foods grand facility in Lake Charles are three styles of boudin (pork, crawfish, and shrimp), and two gumbos (seafood and chicken and sausage). Larry Avery, the company’s president and CEO, and a native of Sulphur, sat down to discuss the ins and outs of production, as well as the heat-and-eat retail market.

French Market Foods is now known as Big Easy Foods.

Date of interview:

Sara Roahen

Sara Roahen

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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