FRENCH SETTLEMENT – The first things you notice walking into Porche’s Sausage in French Settlement is the large pig standing vigil in a pirogue above the building and, of course, the aroma of smoked and cooking meats.
Nearly three years after the flood of 2016 inundated the shop along with the historic village and much of Livingston Parish, the family-owned business is back in operation and celebrating its grand reopening Saturday, August 10.
Planned festivities include a ribbon cutting at 9:00 a.m. and then the party will move a mile down Highway 16 to the Moonlight Inn – another longtime French Settlement establishment opened in 1936 – where revelers can eat their fill of jambalaya, sausage, and other south Louisiana favorites and dance to Swamp Pop bands playing well into the night.
In accepting the invitation to take advantage of the space provided by the Moonlight Inn, the event began to take shape as a way to celebrate local businesses and express appreciation for the customers and residents of the tight-knight community.
“There’s been a lot of old-timers used to come in here just to visit, even when my grandfather had the store it was the same thing,” said third-generation owner Chad Porche. “It was a meeting place.
“We hope to do something like this about once or twice a year just to let people know we appreciate them.”
Porche’s was opened by Chad’s grandfather who ran his own butcher shop and expanded to a general store where he began selling sausages in the mid-1940’s. In 1981, the butcher shop burned down and was never rebuilt. After the flood of 1983, Donald and Linda Porche, Chad’s aunt and uncle, decided to reopen the shop once he retired and ran the place until another flood, this time the Great Flood of 2016, forced the business to close yet again. It was then that Chad and his wife Roni decided to commit. Donald, who Chad calls a mentor and father figure, passed away before they could reopen, but there is a sense of the family legacy and pride of place that permeates the way the current owners speak about those who came before.
“We’re kind of bringing back a community that was once here that left,” Chad said. “People live too fast; they never took time to think about the old places. There’s a lot of history in French Settlement. People go to the museum a lot of the time and they say, ‘I didn’t know that.’ Well, you have to go.”
Porche’s is located at 17415 Highway 16 and offers daily lunch specials in addition to their meat selection.