Bringing up Burreaux: Joe Burrow's most enduring nickname makes a comeback

Bruno Cooke February 10, 2022
Bringing up Burreaux: Joe Burrow's most enduring nickname makes a comeback


The jury may be out on Joe Burrow’s best nickname – some say Shiesty, others Brrr. One, at least, is proving its endurance. That’s right, Joe Burreaux is making a comeback – could we see it on a jersey again any time soon?

Joe Burrow wore a Burreaux jersey on his senior night in 2019

On his final night in the Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Joe Burrow surprised his fans with a special jersey bearing the name “Burreaux”.

For anyone who’s unsure on the pronunciation of French words, -eaux is pronounced just like the -o in “go”. Or like the -ow in “Burrow”. Basically, you say it the same.

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The moment was significant for some. One fan, commenting on the YouTube video of Burrow’s entrance, wrote: “In 20 years they’re gonna make a movie about this.”

And Burrow’s decision to change the ending of his surname to -eaux wasn’t just a bit of fun. It wasn’t flippant. 

Why did Joe Burrow wear ‘Burreaux’ to honour Louisiana?

It is signifiant in Louisiana for a particular reason – it often occurs at the end of Cajun surnames. The state of Louisiana is home to about two-thirds of the world’s 1.2 million Cajuns.

They are an ethnic group who trace their history to the large number of settlers arriving from Acadia (an area now occupied by the Maritime provinces, the Gaspé Peninsula and Maine to the Kennebec River) after the British-French Seven Years’ War (1756 to 1763) expelled them from their homeland.

However, why so many Cajun names end in -eaux is a matter of dispute. 

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One camp argues that, because of the historical prevalence of English language illiteracy among immigrant populations in the US, people simply made the mark “X” next to their printed names when signing legal documents. And, since many Cajun names of French origin already ended in -eau, the names’ endings eventually segued into being -eaux.

Another camp insists it was simply one of the many ways to standardise Cajun surnames ending in an ‘O’ sound.

Either way, residents of south Louisiana sometimes use the -eaux ending to mark their Cajun heritage, especially at sporting events.

It may not be his real name but Joe Burreaux is making a comeback

Whatever your opinion of Joe Burrow personally, the internet likes him. It also likes talking about and ranking his many surnames.

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And it’s in this vein – Joe Burrow as Twitter sensation –  that his Burreaux jersey is making its way back into the conversation.

During an episode of the Pardon My Take podcast more than a year ago, Burrow joked he would open a restaurant called Burreaux’s and sell hamburgers.

Meanwhile, apparel retailer Where I’m From has been inviting Twitter users to vote for their favourite Joe Burrow nickname. Examples include Joey, Smokin’ Joe, Joe Shiesty, Joe Brrr, Joe Cool, Shades, and Jackpot Joey. Any more to add to that list?

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or