Xavier Bourg

(1901 - ) Larose, LA

For seventeen years, Xavier Bourg served as bridge tender at a crossing on Bayou Lafourche (Haid 222). Bourg was a shoemaker by trade and used his shoemaking tools to serrate the edges of his decoys’ wings. His surviving decoys demonstrate three distinct stylistic periods. The first period represents his best overall work. Line carving on the wings and painted eyes accentuate well-carved bodies. Serration along the wing edges appear on the decoys carved during the second period. Coot decoys done at this time are considered classics in the Louisiana area. In the third period, tack eyes replaced painted eyes and the serration remains, but the quality of carving degraded. In addition to coots, Bourg carved mallards, pintails, ringnecks and teal, practical decoys in high demand by bayou hunters. Xavier Bourg carved thousands of decoys and contributed to the tapestry of Louisiana’s carving history.