Rachel is a former SGA President and Chief Justice who is a double-major in Political Science and History.
The Rivers Prize selection committee specifically cited Bourque's "longstanding commitment to and leadership in the realm of preserving and expanding our understanding of Louisiana through poetry." The Center for Louisiana Studies hosted an award ceremony and reception at the UL Lafayette Alumni Center in Bourque’s honor in spring of 2016.
Bourque grew up in a rural community near Sunset, Louisiana. He graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana before earning a master's and a Ph.D. in creative writing from Florida State University. He is Professor Emeritus in English in the College of Liberal Arts, where he served as director of the Creative Writing and Interdisciplinary Humanities programs. He was appointed Louisiana Poet Laureate in 2007 by Governor Kathleen Blanco and reappointed by Governor Bobby Jindal in 2009.
He has published nine collections of poems: Plainsongs; The Doors Between Us; Burnt Water Suite; The Blue Boat; In Ordinary Light: New and Selected Poems; Call and Response: Conversations in Verse, a collaboration with Louisiana poet Jack B. Bedell; Holding the Notes; Megan's Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie; and if you abandon me, comment je vas faire: An Amédé Ardoin Songbook.