The inaugural Bayou Terrebonne Boucherie event on April 17th rained with music, laughter, and joy. Event goers walked under an overcast sky that showered them with bayou culture and generosity.
“This is kind of a passion project. We’re funding the rebuilding of the downtown bandstand that used to be in the courthouse square. It’s kind of a revitalization fundraiser. That’s something we do at the distillery everyday…we distill whiskey like my great-grandmother did…we preserve tradition. We preserve some of the culture and beauty of the bayou region. So, this Boucherie is kind of a natural extension of that. We don’t want to forget some of those cultural roots we have down here…revitalization through preservation. The purpose of Bayou Terrebonne Distillers is to elicit family tradition along with the unique culture and beauty of the bayou region. How do we do that? We make whiskey like my great-grandmother did,” Noah said.
Noah Lirette and his two cousins, Nick Hebert and Rodney Lirette, are the owners of Bayou Terrebonne Distillers. The distillery opened February of last year. Covid crept in shortly after, but Noah and his partners still engaged with the community, creating hand sanitizer during the pandemic.
The distillery is now opened every weekend (Friday – 5p.m.-10p.m., Saturday – 2p.m.-10p.m., Sunday – 12p.m.-5p.m.) offering craft cocktails to the public. The 100-year-old building also offers a look into the past, displaying some local artifacts. The once dried shrimp packing house has been historically enlivened with live music and friendly company.
Noah’s rooted perspective on culture and history of the bayou region floated into the Boucherie event. The celebration brought attendees and vendors together for a good cause.
“It felt like a good time to do it. We’re a fabric…we need each other, especially down here. We’re all super family oriented and community oriented. After Covid hit, it hit the Cajuns hard. Everyone was raring to go. It’s been a cool thing to see everyone come together,” Noah stated.
“It’s to help revitalize. Our mission with our non-profit, the Hache Grant Association, is to revitalize downtown and enhance the quality of life in Terrebonne Parish,” he added.
Children jumped in puddles of rain with their rubber boots, creating a new dance at the Boucherie fais do-do. The event was scented with the antiquities of a traditional Boucherie and cascaded an aroma of the smoky past.
“Boucheries are a symbol that exhibits teamwork and the community coming together for a common goal,” Noah said.
“What we have here is all the traditional aspects of a Boucherie. We have the barbecuing, (barbecue pork), we have the boudin, the grattons, the cracklins, the hogs head cheese, the debris stew, and backbone stew…that’s the base of the festival,” he added.
Food and community are the fiber that knits Terrebonne Parish together like trawl nets.
Melissa Durocher (Destination Development and Marketing) with the Houma Terrebonne Louisiana’s Bayou Country stood with her team promoting the newly launched culinary attraction, the ‘Crawfish Trail’. They were also handing out a custom cocktail made by Bayou Terrebonne Distillers called, ‘Le’ Mon Temp’. The drink was specially crafted for the route.
The festival drenched with friendly competitions. As you strolled throughout the event, steam rolled from cast iron and metal pots filled with white beans and jambalaya. Men and women were stirring with vigor to win the ‘White Bean Cookoff’.
Under the tent of the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office, white beans and sausage were being made as relaxing conversation filled the air.
Major Steve Bergeron, Major Brent Favalora, Major Terry Daigre, and Captain Brent Hidalgo overlooked the rain and kept stirring their pot of goodness.
“I wish the weather was better, but it’s for a good cause,” they said.
While others cooked white beans, M. Bergeron & Company, CPAs, LLC whisked tasty jambalaya.
“We’re making jambalaya…we have to have something to go with the white beans,” Hayden Bergeron said.
Hayden and Michael Bergeron saw promising blue skies even though it was raining.
“We’re excited! It’s nice to have a big festival with a whole bunch of people out here, eating and acting like normal,” Michael said.
The event entailed many activities that included a Pedro Tournament and the Cajun Cup, which consisted of Casting Contest, Duck Calling, Pirogue Race, 20 Penny Nail, Chicken Chase, and Axe Throw.
Tracy Baudoin manned the 20 Penny Nail contest sponsored by Morrison Terrebonne. Nails were driven into a piece of wood with force, trying to minimize the number of hits from the hammer.
“I’m having a blast! It’s a pretty good turnout for the weather,” Tracy said.
Behind the 20 Penny Nail contest shimmered the drizzled bayou where pirogues raced against time. Men and women jumped in the small boats and skimmed across the water to win a prize sponsored by GATR Coolers.
While some contestants paddled with haste, others humorously skipped and tripped after a chicken during the ‘Chicken Chase’.
Past the laughing and the chicken wire, ‘Duck Calling’ commenced. Contenders tried blowing champion duck calls resulting in some comedic performances.
“It’s awesome! The distillery invited us. We’re a bunch of local guys and we’ve known each other since we were young. They’re doing great things with the community. That’s what we are at Southern Axe…we’re local guys. We’re trying to build the area up,” Blaine said.
Blaine Theriot, owner of Southern Axe, and his ‘co-man’, Justin Ellender, coached event goers as they threw axes at a bull’s-eye. Contestants, young and old, threw with desired aim, hoping to cut the target with the axe.
“It’s kind of a mix between bowling and darts. Once you find the rotation of the axe and how you throw it…it’s just repetition. It just takes a little practice to be able to aim it,” Blaine stated.
Blaine and his partners are throwing an axe hitting the ‘community’ mark by attending the Boucherie event and settling in the Houma area.
“Everybody from Houma travels to New Orleans, Baton Rouge, different cities to do things like this. Why not have it here? So, we’re trying to keep people here and give them something to do. We’re trying to give Houma a family thing to do,” Theriot said.
CASA of Terrebonne also immersed themselves in the community by sponsoring the children’s area at the Boucherie.
Under their tent, children gathered to play bean bag toss, pull ducks out of a small pool for prizes, and blow iridescent bubbles. While children enjoyed activities and had their faces painted with unicorns and glitter nearby, CASA was also advocating their mission to help children in the local area.
“We’re trying to have CASA be a household name. We’re going to be at every event. We’re going to be out there in the community because we want community support. We advocate for foster kids. So, we want people to know there are kids right here in this community that need their help. This is our way, just getting into the community, and being a voice for these kids,” Christine said.
Christine Aucoin is the Executive Director of CASA and was thankful to be at the festival and acquire helpful volunteers.
“All these are volunteers…they have a heart of gold,” Christine said.
Dawn Duplantis-Tenney with French Lily Flowers and Kerina Hejl with Crafty.Boujee.Ratchet – Handcrafted Jewelry loved being a part of the rainy atmosphere that showered with musical tunes and Cajun views.
“It’s great to be out meeting new people and giving Houma a taste of Floral Lily Flowers. I’m able to promote my small business and listen to great bands all day,” Dawn said.
“I love seeing all the vendors and event coordinators toughing through the weather to make sure the people that attend have a wonderful time. I know I am,” Kerina added.
Amanda Percle and Chris Stevens (Navy Veteran) with Elegant Square Studio sat under their tent amidst their artwork and crafts (Body casting, graphic design, fine art photography, wood-burning, etc.) Their work is mainly commissioned pieces. The Bayou Terrebonne Boucherie event commissioned the artists to create the ‘Pig Picture Spot’ that was located near the band. They also donated the Pedro trophies for the festival.
The vendors were elated to be a part of the first Boucherie event.
“We’re excited…we’re excited!” Amanda exclaimed.
Overall, the inaugural Bayou Terrebonne Boucherie event prospered with beaming smiles and revitalization initiatives.
The Bayou Terrebonne Boucherie would like to thank their sponsors:
2021 Platinum Loin Sponsors:
Peoples Drug Store Houma
Buquet Distributing Company
Apex Jet Center
Magnum Mud Equipment
Representative Tanner Magee
2021 Gold Bacon Sponsors:
Magic Seasoning Blends
Bayou Regional Arts Council
Lirette Airboat Service
Richard’s Kitchen Store
Cajun Meat Market
Downtown Full Service
Chabert Insurance Agency LLC
David A. Waitz Engineering & Surveying Inc.
Torque Zilla Tactical LLC
Bourgeois Meat Market
Bayou Terrebonne Distillers
Tuned by Norm
Jam Up Marketing
Split Liquor Productions
Houma Main Street