Jerrin Jerome Bourgeois, known by many as “Bourge the Clown,” died Oct. 9.
His son, John Bourgeois, who grew up in Morgan City, but now lives in Bayou L’Ourse, recounted his father’s life.
“He was just a happy person as long as he could make people smile or laugh, he was happy,” he said. “I remember pictures of him in his clown suit standing next to Jimmy Stewart.”
The photograph likely was made during the filming of the movie Thunder Bay in Morgan City.
Bourge would often show up at events in his clown suit even though he was not asked to do so or paid for it.
“Every now and then he might have gotten paid, but he usually didn’t,” his son said. “He had a one-man-band. He had what he called an invisible horn, that and drums and a washboard.”
Bourgeois said that his father’s absence from home while doing his work was not always easy.
“It was a little rough, as far as him not being at home. He worked at the Lake Cinema and C-Wall Theater and Opera House, and then he did the clown act, or he’d go out and make his rounds at the bars playing music,” he said.
Bourgeois said that “it seemed like everyone knew him. People were like, ‘oh, that’s your dad?’” when they learned whose son he was.
Sherry Cooper of Morgan City remembers living near Bourge the Clown.
“I had the pleasure of living with him in Katie’s Trailer Court behind Cannata’s. He made my younger years very fun indeed. It was also pretty cool having the neighborhood clown in my backyard practically,” she said.
Sandra Berube of Morgan City also remembers Bourge’s presence at festivals.
“He was always up town at anything they gave, making people laugh,” she said. “He would always play with all the kids, blowing up balloons making all kinds of shapes, dancing and having a great time.”
Bourgeois said that other than his father doing so much work, he doesn’t have plenty of other memories of his father.
“That’s about it, really. We didn’t get to spend much time together,” he said.
Despite the lack of time, though, Bourgeois spoke of the positive legacy that his father left for him.
“He has made me a better person. There was no arguing in the family. He made everything smooth. I think it rubbed off on me.”