ASPA Member Feature: Indian Ridge Shrimp Company
February 12, 2021
Andrew Blanchard is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the history of the shrimp industry in Chauvin, Louisiana. He was born and raised in the area, and his distinguishable Cajun accent is a reflection of the cultural heritage still celebrated in this small town located on the water in Terrebonne Parish. This industry is all he’s ever known, and after nearly 40 years in the business, he describes his vocation quite well: “You could say we eat, drink and sleep shrimp…although the eating part is still our favorite!”
Andrew, 57, and his wife, Christine, own Pearl, Inc. DBA Indian Ridge Shrimp Company, which is comprised of two plants right down the road from each other. Both plants have a rich legacy that dates back to the early 1900s. Plant No. 1 started in 1919 by the Chauvin family during a time when peeling, cooking and canning shrimp was a preferred processing method.
“The plant was owned by the Chauvin family, and Mr. Chauvin was a visionary who started in the shrimp business,” Andrew says. “The city was named for him and the family because they owned everything — post office, general store, icehouse, the plant, hardware store and the lumberyard business.”
By 1972, the plant owner was ready to retire, and he sold the business to George Shuman and Ted Shepherd from New Orleans, who Andrew says were the “godfathers of selling shrimp in this country.” Two years later, Andrew graduated from high school and needed a job. Although he spent plenty of time on his father’s shrimp boat as a kid, he never had a desire to join the industry, but since the plant was only 500 feet from his home, that was his best option at the time. Little did he realize he would be walking to the only job he would have for the rest of his life.
“I started shoveling, unloading boats and doing every dirty job that you can do in a shrimp plant,” he says. “That went on for the summer, and I told my mama I’m not staying and doing this because I wanted to leave and do carpenter work. And then it just so happened that I stayed and they kept on giving me incentives and good pay to stay. They saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself at the time.”
Visit Indian Ridge Shrimp Company’s Member Page for more information!
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