Day Trips: Lundi Gras Boucherie at Lakeview Park, Eunice, La.

Old-fashioned Lundi Gras Boucherie feeds a hungry Mardi Gras

Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Lundi Gras Boucherie at Lakeview Park, an RV park under the pine trees outside of Eunice, La., continues the Acadiana Mardi Gras tradition of the communal butchering of a hog. 

Loosely translated as "Fat Monday Butchery," the event on the Monday before Ash Wednesday typically takes place in backyards and at community gatherings around southern Louisiana. The Lakeview Park boucherie is one of the few that isn't invitation-only. 

By 9am, Toby Rodriguez, a butcher with Brennan's restaurants in New Orleans, is deep into sectioning the 500-pound hog. It takes him about 45 minutes to dismember the animal with nothing going to waste. This is a real-world demonstration of where our food comes from. It will either turn you into a vegetarian or elicit an involuntary "wow" at the butcher's artistry. 

Outside of an old barn converted into a bar, a white tent contains two dozen chefs and their assistants preparing boudin, hog head cheese, cracklins, backbone stew, and ponce. Behind the tent a smoker belches a gray cloud as chunks of meat simmer. 

As the day progresses, the crowd grows. Some are drinking beer and dancing to the band in the barn; others are talking to the cooks about food. These cooks are the keepers of old family recipes. One chef continuously stirring a cauldron of brown roux explained, "If your arms aren't hurting, you're not doing it right."

Lundi Gras Boucherie is at Lakeview Park, 3 miles north of Eunice, La. This year Fat Monday falls on Feb. 24. Admission is free, but you'll have to pay to sample the food. The butchering begins at 8am with serving around noon and music into the evening. 

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Lundi Gras Boucherie, Lakeview Park, Acadiana Mardi Gras, Toby Rodriguez, Fat Monday Butchery, Brennan's restaurants

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