Boucherie: the butchering and traditional feasting that accompanies the slaughter of a pig. I had heard about Marc Savoy's annual fall boucherie, and I was lucky enough to have received an invitation to attend it. I was somewhat prepared, having viewed a boucherie in the Les Blank documentary "Bois Sec". With that as my sole means of edification, I knew when to close my eyes and stick my fingers in my ears.

I arrived on time, though my co-worker advised me to wait 'til after the pig was killed. She also said, "Oh, do you have a new boyfriend? That's the first thing a good Cajun boy will do is take his new girlfriend to a Boucherie." I was touring the grounds when the children announced they were going to shoot the pig. Before I could get to the shed, I heard the shot, accompanied by the squeals and other thrashing sounds. The shed door was shielded by the men, all standing a respectful distance from the man in charge. Soon they pulled the pig out... huge pig. Could it have been 500 pounds? I'm bad with estimates and can't remember what Marc said. But it was big. I scrambled around to get a shot, the closest women a good fifteen feet away. Out came the butcher knife. I didn't watch the all of that. The men were documenting the procedure out loud for their ears I guess. "That's a good bleed". "He got to bleed 'im". I ventured off after the hosing so I missed the scalding and returned for the hanging, and the hair thing that I likened to grooming a pet. When the big knives and buckets came out, I was long gone. They truck backed up to the tree with some hoist which lifted the pig to the table constructed no doubt just for this purpose. All of this conducted by a master butcher and his team.

And all around the yard, while this is going on, are these stations set up, each with its own specialty. A huge barbecue brought in by some guy famous for his chicken, the boudin man sitting patiently at his table waiting for something to work with, the cracklin' man with his pot of hot oil, the spine gumbo campfire which Tina was fooling with, the smoker...and the potluck tables. If it's on a pig somewhere, we had it. And then some. Someone even pulled a rabbit out of the smoker.

In the midst of all this festivity stood the mammoth oak tree who has graced generations of Savoy family gatherings. The kind of tree that can carry a child's rope swing on one arm, and touch the ground with the other. Under her shade, Joel Savoy sat on a picnic table and picked up his guitar. He and his pals (that's Anya on fiddle) are heavy into old-timey Appalachian tunes with the occasional sprinkling of swing. That little jam went on non-stop for the afternoon. Tina wanted to play Cajun tunes over by the smoker and her gumbo fire, but I got smoked out after a few. About then I spotted Drew Simon and Blake Miller of the Pine Leaf Boys (Wilson Savoy and Cedric Watson were out of town...darn!). So I joined Lisa Reed and them for a few. Tony Davoren (Celjun) and Mitch Reed took off by the barn to play Irish tunes. Walter Mouton joined the Cajun jam, which had morphed into a new jam, and I fell back into eating sweet potato pie, sweet potato casserole, peppers/cornbread, jumbalaya, more sweet potato casserole, salads and most everything else on the tables.