BERNICE BROUSSARD SONGE
Born in Louisiana and arriving in Biloxi at the age of fifteen, Bernice Broussard Songe spent her entire working life devoted to the Biloxi seafood industry. Bernice Broussard was born on December 1, 1920, in Lafayette, Louisiana to Alcee Broussard Sr. and Aurelia Isabelle Broussard. She was one of seven children born to her parents in Louisiana’s Cajun culture.
During the 1920s and 30s, Biloxi factory owners and their representatives would travel to Southeast Louisiana to recruit laborers. In 1935, Bernice arrived in Biloxi and began her lifelong career as a seafood worker. She worked in a number of factories including Sea Coast, Kuluz Brothers, Dubaz Brothers, DeJean, Victory, and Gulf Central.
After one year of living in Biloxi, Bernice Broussard married Fletcher Adam Songe in 1936. Together they had three children: Lois A. Songe Wescovich, Fetcher Adam Songe Jr. and Gerald J. Songe. Despite having three children, Bernice continued her work in the seafood factories up until the age of 45.
Bernice Songe is an example of how the tenacity and work ethic of so many Biloxi seafood factory workers was not confined to men only. Bernice worked the same number of hours as her male coworkers, but had a family and home to tend to as well. She was a member of the Fleur de Lis Society (Biloxi’s French Club) and a member of St. Michael Catholic Church, known to all as the Fishermen’s Church. Bernice died February 12, 2006 at the age of 85.