Boudin is to south Louisiana, as clam pizza is to New Haven, Connecticut. As the green chile cheeseburger is to Santa Fe, New Mexico. As Frogmore stew is to Saint Helena, South Carolina. This Cajun Country sausage of pork, rice, and spice is a totem of culinary identity.
The Southern Foodways Alliance’s latest documentary project, a traveling exhibit, profiles the ubiquitous and beloved Cajun fast food, boudin. The exhibit is at the St. Landry Parish Visitor Information Center in Opelousas July 27 through Sept. 9. The new center, which opened May 23, is located at exit 23 on I-49.
Thanks to funding from McIlhenny Company, maker of Tabasco® Brand Products, SFA’s work on boudin began in 2006 with oral histories of storied boudin makers like Robert Cormier of the Best Stop in Scott; Patsy Frey of Billy and Ray’s Boudin in Opelousas; and John Saucier of Saucier’s Sausage Kitchen in Mamou.
The SFA’s repository of boudin-focused oral histories has grown into a standalone website, complete with an interactive map at www.southernboudintrail.com. Today nearly 50 oral histories are available online. More recently, when Butterfield and Robinson’s Global Heritage Fund offered support, the SFA developed Boudin: The Traveling Exhibit, which draws on those oral histories to tell the tale of one of Cajun country’s iconic foods.
For more information on the University of Mississippi-based Southern Foodways Alliance and its mission to document, study, and celebrate the diverse food cultures of the changing American South, visit www.southernfoodways.org.
Information is also available from the St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission at (337) 948-8004. Follow the Visitor Information Center on Twitter @StLandryParish or on Facebook at St. Landry Parish – It’s Gumbo for Your Soul.