Uncertain future for George’s overpass location

Longtime patrons of one of Baton Rouge’s best known local eateries—George’s—may be wondering about the status of the restaurant’s original location under the Perkins Road Overpass.

A fixture on the local landscape since the 1960s, George’s shut down its Perkins Road location in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring and never reopened, even to offer takeout service.

At the time, restaurant management decided to take advantage of the closure and do some needed renovations and repairs to the building, which have since been completed.

But in October, Rodney “Smokie” Bourgeois, who had owned the restaurant since acquiring it in the early 1980s from original owner George Williams, died after a battle with cancer.

Though two newer George’s locations on Highland Road and George O’Neal Road have remained open, there’s been no word on the future of the funky, flagship location.

An attorney for the Bourgeois estate filed court documents earlier this month to name Bourgeois’ son, Jeffrey, administrator of the estate.

The attorney, Brent Boxill, says it is his understanding that Jeffrey Bourgeois plans to eventually reopen the Perkins Road restaurant but he cannot say when.

“There are some unknowns with respect to COVID and future shutdowns, so I don’t know that we’re in a big hurry to jump in,” Boxill says. “But, long term, it is definitely in the plan to reopen.”  

Jeffrey Bourgeois was involved in his father’s restaurant business, according to Boxill, though it is unclear to what extent.

Jeffrey Bourgeois lives in South Carolina and could not be reached for comment.

Still, until the succession is finalized there’s no guarantee of anything.

Meanwhile, the general manager of George’s Highland Road location, Tony Lasada, says he would be interested in buying the business if it becomes available.

“I have a lightly written first right of refusal and I’d be interested if that’s what it would take to reopen the Perkins Road location,” Lasada says. “I know the restaurant world and the Baton Rouge community would love to see that location reopen.”