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Places We Love: Poupart’s Bakery in Lafayette Louisiana

Places We Love: Poupart’s Bakery in Lafayette Louisiana

Mr. Poupart and his sons run this authentic bakery in Lafayette, Louisiana – filled with typical french finds as well as established cajun favorites.
By Sarah Kenney

My daughter was spending the weekend with her best friend, who was in town for six weeks of grueling ballet training with the prestigious Houston Ballet Company.

We were so happy to whisk her away from dorm food and spend a weekend giving her a break from the intensive training of becoming a professional ballerina.

While the girls shopped and pampered their feet, I cooked and made a special meal for them at the end of the day.

Houston Ballet chooses only  a handful of the most talented students from around the country for six weeks of training in the Russian Vagonova method of ballet study.  Madeleine has also studied this methodology  and it is a precise, intensive training that produces a dancer with incredibly exact technique.

The girls had a wonderful weekend together.  These are lifelong friends.  It will be so wonderful to see where their paths take them in the future and to watch their friendship continue to bond with the changes that they each encounter along their journeys.  Madeleine and I even made tiny little round tartlets for her to take back to the dorm as a special treat for all of her hard work.

With tarts, pies, and pastries in mind, this brings me back a couple of weeks to a recent trip.   I was  in my home town of Lafayette, Louisiana.

It’s been years since I  lived in the South. As I was rediscovering some of my favorite places, I passed by a location that made me gasp with delight.  Without hesitation, I pulled into the parking lot. Was it still the same?  On the outside it looked exactly the same to my adult eyes as my childhood memory recalled.

What I was looking at was Poupart’s Family Bakery and Boulangerie. It was known as the finest bakery for all things french and all things southern and sweet when I was a child.

And guess what.  It still is.  Run by the same Poupart family with a new generation of grown children on board, Poupart’s Bakery is thriving and continuing to bring fresh baked goodness to this southern cajun town.

It’s enchanting to return to your hometown after years of being away and rediscover landmarks that just seem time eternal and evoke  fond memories.

I stopped by early in the morning so I could smell the freshness of all of the breads and pastries baking.  I knew I couldn’t return to Houston without a box of goodness for the kids.

Don’t you just love when special places like this stay unchanged through time?  This bakery has been around as long as I can remember and for two generations before me.  A beautiful thing.
Why didn’t I pick up a few bottles of these gorgeous syrups?  Toasted Pecan and Apple Cinnamon.  Next time, I’m not leaving without these for Patrick’s Waffle Sunday.

The pastry case transports you directly to any of the bakeries sprinkled all over the small villages of France. The tarts and pastries all look like they came right from a bona fide french bakery…and they did…from the french Poupart’s family that settled in southern Louisiana.

As soon as I walked in the door, I heard that familiar lyrical pattern of heavy cajun french being spoken by a gentleman on the phone. I knew immediately that this was Mr. Poupart.
Memories of the cajun french spoken by my grandparents and most everyone of their generation filled my ears with a connection that can only be encountered in this unique cajun culture.

Mr. Poupart and his sons run this authentic bakery filled with typical french finds as well as established cajun favorites.  When I told them that I would love to write a story for Honest Cooking Magazine about their bakery, they were gracious hosts and were tickled to show me their ovens and kitchens where all the magic happens.

The bakery was bustling about in the back getting loaves of bread baked and pastries assembled.  It was still early in the morning and the aroma of fresh goods were making my head spin with heady anticipation of what I was going to carry away.

They had a “Dobash Cake” cake {above} ready to go and pointed out that this is a favorite southern Louisiana cake for special occasions.  It is a french cake that when sliced is in many thin layers with filling in between each one.

Back in the kitchens they were kneading the soft velvety mounds of dough.  The deftness and generations of practice was evident as everyone bustled contentedly to and fro creating age-old deliciousness for so many families from this area to discover and enjoy.

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Mr. Poupart was a gregarious man full of pep and energy with a thick cajun drawl and a twinkle in his eye as he proudly showed me around his craft.

His sons are carrying on the family business and they were happy to let me peek inside the huge ovens. Breathing in the scent of fresh baked loaves of bread is something that should be sold and bottled for a high price!

Look at those beautiful loaves of bread.  Can you imagine baking this deliciousness day after day and watching happy customers enjoy this bounty?  What a wonderful trade passed down three generations of one family.

Mr. Poupart seemed to know everyone who walked in the door.   Hugs were given to one quaint little woman and newspapers casually handed to the regulars who strolled in for their morning chat with Mr. Poupart.  It was evident, people felt the security and comfort of tradition and acceptance… and delicious food.

This man {above} particularly caught my attention.  I could tell this was his regular breakfast spot.  A soft haze of morning sun haloed his frame in the front window.  A warm cup of coffee was being sipped and a fresh baguette  so casually being enjoyed.  If I labeled this photo, it would be titled “La Joie de Vie…la simpicité“…the joy of life…simplicity.

This image sums up the relaxed pace of this southern city, its people, and its small shops that hold loyal customers.  This traditional french bakery is known and celebrated in this part of the country as Lafayette’s “Poupart’s Family Bakery”.

If you are ever passing through Lafayette, Louisiana seek it out.  Try the tiny blackberry tarts, the fresh french bread baguettes. Don’t miss picking up a bottle of their own toasted pecan syrup or a pastry titled “The Shoe Sole”.

Poupart’s Bakery
1902 West Pinhook Road
Lafayette, Louisiana
Phone: 337.232.7921

View Comments (14)
  • I am counting the days until I arrive in Lafayette! We are going next month to see my son perform in a drum and bugle corp show. I specifically picked Lafayette from their schedule to eat our way through the city! After reading your article, I will enjoy a true French bakery as well! I am planning to take as much home as possible–we’re in Hot Springs, AR and trust me, there are no bakeries like this one! I have been a chef for over 35 years, and am so excited to taste some classic French cuisine! My training as a chef and pastry chef was with a lovely French chef and his talented pastry chef many yrs. ago, but I’ve never forgotten the beauty of the classics I was trained to make. I am dreaming of the food you described and think Poupart’s will be our first stop when we arrive. Thanks for a great article and informing me of such a treasure. Clarice Warren

  • I have known Francois since I was a young boy…my father owned a bakery for many years in Arnaudville and he and Francois were very good friends. I recently visited the bakery this past weekend..I have not seen Francois in over 30 years…the smell of the bakery brought back many childhood memories of my fathers bakery…brought wonderful tears to my eyes. The accent you hear from Francois is not a cajun one but a true french accent from France.

  • Hmmm…just drove from Houston and stopped at the bakery. A surly waitress who really was not happy to help, combined with some less than fresh, not scratch ingredients (NOT fresh lemon curd but a jellied substitute) made this a less than happy experience. Not the greatest.

    • Becky,

      Sorry for the bad experience, but that is FAR from typical. I just moved here (Lafayette) last summer and immediately discovered what a treasure Poupart’s is.

      You hit someone on a bad day, I must believe.

      I take all my friends and family here when they visit.

  • Becky, I am so sorry that Poupart’s disappointed you. I’ve always enjoyed what I’ve picked out but everyone tastes things in a different way. Sorry to hear bad news about the ingredients you tried not being tasty.

  • Nolton Lavergne is very correct Francois is not cajun he was born, raised, and trained in France. He has a heavy french accent. As for sons, he has one son and a daughter.

    • Andrea, how are you related to Francois? My dad and Francois were best friends for many years until my dad passed in 1974. I can remember my dad helping out at the bakery and I would go with him…Francois had an old riding lawn mower that he used to move his boat around and he would let me ride it so i could pretend i was driving….lol…very good memories

  • Poupart’s Bakery was the place to go for baked goods when I was growing up in Lafayette. I have been gone for 30 years. We were back this weekend for Mother’s Day and my wife requested that we go there for her Mother’s Day gift. It is just as wonderful as I remembered. The French bread is just outstanding. We took back a box of their creations for my wife’s mother. South Louisiana is full of great cooks, for Poupart’s Bakery to stay in business this long you know it has got to be great.

  • Was just home for a wedding and birthday last weekend, and even though much delicious wedding cake sat on the counter, a Dobash cake from Pouparts had been ordered as it is my family’s fav. It was just as fantastic as it was when I was a girl–light, sweet, thin layers, and so fresh. I loved and savored every fork, and I am so glad I had a taste from one of my all-time favorite bakeries while I was home. From the time Mr. Poupart opened in the ’60s, my grandfather used to drive in the morning to get fresh bread and talk to Mr. Poupart, and being permitted to accompany him was a huge treat. I can smell the bread cooking just thinking about it. I have lived from coast to coast, and Poupart’s French bread, Dobash, and other pasteries are my benchmarks for great bread, cakes, and sweets.

  • Andrea, I’m assuming you are Francois daughter? I don’t believe I have ever met you. Francois and my dad were very good friends…he called my dad Gerald. When my dad had to retire and sell our bakery in Arnaudville, he still worked part time with your dad. I miss those days…

  • salut
    les poupart vont bien.Un petit bonjour d’un compagnon menuisier de
    passage à lafayette entre 1984 et1993.Beaucoup de bon moment passer
    avec Louise Francis et Patrick
    bises à tous champalu
    Eric Jarret

  • Absolutely love the cannoli’s, the best I’ve ever had, wish they could ship to California. I go to Lafayette three times a year to visit grandchild and always stop by Poupart’s weekly to stock up on favorites. I do agree with other post that the people are not always friendly but my last visit a couple of weeks ago was great but very rare. I go for the great cannoli’s and other treats.

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