Tuesday, November 19, 2013

MEANDERING IN TECHE COUNTRY LOUISIANA


GLC Meat Market, Loreauville
During a visit with Darrell and Karen Bourque of Churchpoint, Louisiana recently, we talked about Darrell's newest book of poetry, Megan's Guitar and Other Poems From Acadie. Darrell, former poet laureate of Louisiana, has been researching the place where Joseph "Beausoleil" Broussard, leader of the Acadians who fled to Louisiana during Le Grand Derangement, first settled. Broussard is one of the colorful characters in Darrell's book of poetry, and this auspicious figure is believed to have established a village near Fausse Point, present-day Loreauville, Louisiana, which is a fifteen-minute drive from my home in New Iberia.
My interest was piqued by Darrell's research and fanned by a friend who told us about a place in the small town where grass-fed beef is sold, so we set out one morning last week to explore Loreauville again. The population of the town at the last census doesn't quite reach the 2,000 mark, and 91 percent of the citizens are native-born Louisianians. Many of Loreauville's inhabitants still speak Cajun French, and the hamlet has an appealing Old World quality. Bayou Teche flows along its western edge, and Lake Dauterive, only a few miles away, offers fishing and boating recreation. Fishing and hunting remain the livelihood of many of the citizens, and sugarcane farming is a vital part of the economy.  
The town was once named Dugasville after one of its founding citizens and was later named Picouville after another of its outstanding families. Citizens finally settled on the name Loreauville in honor of Ozaire Loreau who was instrumental in the burgeoning of agriculture and industry in the small town. One of the more notable industries of which Loreauville can boast is Breaux Brothers Boats, a boat manufacturing business that has attracted national and international boat buyers.
For those who hanker after grass-fed beef, the major attraction in Loreauville is a meat market on the town's main street. One of the owners of this market can trace his penchant for raising cattle back to the 18th century when in 1767, Francois Gonsoulin of St. Martin Parish began running a herd of cattle with a brand that is now the ninth oldest registered brand in the U.S. Today, one of his descendants, Dr. Shannon Gonsoulin, and his partner Stuart Gardner of St Landry Parish, raise Beefmaster and Brangus with red and black Angus bulls. The cattle run on 175 acres near Loreauville and 500 acres near Sunset. The growth period of these grass-fed cattle is three times longer than that of corn-fed calves, but the demand for the beef has been steadily increasing due to the meat's nutritional value.  
Gonsoulin, a veterinarian who practices in Breaux Bridge, Morgan City, and New Iberia, researched the nutrition benefits of grass-fed cattle and found that this beef is higher in omega-3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation and help prevent risks of chronic diseases; e.g., heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. The Gonsoulin beef is dry-aged rather than processed in water, and other nutritional benefits of the meat include fat-soluble vitamins like beta carotene, alpha-tocopherol, and water soluble vitamins like riboflavin and thiamin.  
We went, empty-handed, into the GLC Meat Market located in the old Post Office on Main Street in Loreauville and came out with packages of beef, grass-fed lamb, and grass-fed pork underarm. Earline Ransonet, the manager of the meat market, told us that GLS supplies restaurants and large grocery companies in New Orleans and Lafayette. Gonsoulin touts that a pound of raw meat from grass-fed beef won't shrink burgers on the grill and that none of the cattle have been treated with hormones or antibiotics.  They're also raised in a stress-free environment and are humanely treated.
St. Joseph Church, Loreauville
We didn't locate the exact place where Broussard settled the Acadians, or explore All Souls Cemetery in Loreauville where Clifton Chenier, the famous Zydeco musician, is buried, but we did find serendipity in a main street meat market that supplied us with meat enough to provide several weeks of flash frozen, vacuum-packed nutrition. We hope to return for the Wednesday afternoon Farmer's Market held in the same building as the meat market—and sample more of Acadiana's natural foods.
Post a Comment