Tim Bourgeois grew tired of sitting behind a desk programming computers in Raleigh, North Carolina, and he and his wife, Tina, knew they wanted to get back to Louisiana.
They found jobs here, opened Mango’s Beach Volleyball in 1995 and haven’t looked back. In fact, Bourgeois and his wife play volleyball four nights a week.
Tucked away off South Sherwood Forest Boulevard on West Bricksome Avenue, the open but covered wood plank bar area looks out over 11 sand courts. The setting has such a tropical feel one can imagine the Gulf sits right behind the line of trees stretching across the back.
Inside, there’s a small restaurant run by Billy Hutchinson. Serving things like sandwiches and nachos, patrons order and pick up the food at the bar.
Bourgeois, 48, joined the Baton Rouge Ancient Athlete Society in 2006.
“I knew some of the guys in the club because they played here,” says Bourgeois. “BRAAS played indoor volleyball at the time but they started gravitating toward sand volleyball. Now we play the summer sports season here.”
“The Ancient Athletes are a great group of guys, and I love the camaraderie,” he says.
Mango’s has three seasons, — spring, summer and fall — and Bourgeois says they work on projects during the winter.
The facility’s been expanded four times.
“We started with three sand and three grass courts and now we have 11 sand courts,” he says.
Players join leagues and play one night a week for a season. Mango’s will try to fit someone on a team if they don’t have one. A season costs $240 per team.
In 2014, the LSU women’s beach volleyball team started playing at Mango’s and Bourgeois says the first year about 600 people came out.
Mango’s Beach Volleyball is open 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tournaments run on Saturday, and on Sundays during the summer, the BRAAS play because they have so many interested members they needed another day in addition to Wednesday.
Mango’s is also available for private parties.
“Over the years it’s been interesting, we’ve seen people get married who met here and we’ve made lifelong friendships,” says Bourgeois. “We’ve seen our friends’ kids grow up and have kids of their own; it’s been amazing.”