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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

Sammy Hebert


Hebert’s Specialty Meats

Hebert’s Specialty Meats in Maurice, Louisiana, makes a tasty boudin, but it’s their invention of the turducken that put this store on the culinary map. Owner Sammy Hebert co-founded the shop with his brother, who now is retired. Today, Sammy runs the business and he’s managing construction to expand the store’s retail space. Shopping space is a bit too small for their current volume, he explains.

Customers who walk in the front door are greeted in a small reception space, and it’s made still smaller by the freezers that cover the walls on all sides. A menu, on the counter, is the best way to start an order. Read all the offerings, select purchases, and then the staff at the counter will go into each freezer case and pull products for the sale. There’s no point in browsing the cases; chickens are stacked six deep, each with a different stuffing, and you’re more likely to get freezer burn on the arm than to find what you’re looking for in the case. During your wait, marvel at the twenty-five employees all working at table stations just behind the counter. Their hands stay busy stuffing sausages, making boudin, and preparing hens, all while they trade jokes and make conversation with clientele.

Hebert’s offers over a hundred products, including fifteen kinds of sausages and boudin. And, though boudin is a major seller for them, the turducken put them on the culinary map. Turducken, a deboned mix of chicken and duck and stuffing inside a turkey, was created for a customer in 1984, the year the store opened. Today the store sells about 3500 turduckens a year, mainly at holiday time, but stuffed chicken wins the prize for most popular recipe at this “home of deboned chickens.” Whether your taste is for rice dressing, pork dressing, crawfish dressing, alligator dressing, or shrimp dressing, Hebert’s makes it.

Date of interview:
2009-01-22 00:00

Interviewer:
Mary Beth Lasseter

Photographer:
Mary Beth Lasseter

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