When a cane knife wielded by Kevin Dugas ricocheted off a tree branch and nearly severed the forefinger on his left hand, the drummer saw his 20-plus year career with Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys flash before his eyes.
“My world passed right in front of me when I cut it,” Dugas recalls. “I said, ‘Oh, man. I just messed up.’ Then I realized I had to call Steve and tell him I couldn’t play.”
That was late October.
However, 71 days later, Dugas was back on the cans and driving the bus for the Mamou Playboys.
“Everything went well,” Dugas says of the gig. “My hand swelled up a bit. But overall, it was good. It still hurts a bit.”
Understandably, the veteran drummer was a tad nervous picking up the drumsticks for the first time following the accident, surgery and ongoing rehab.
“I was scared,” laughs Dugas. “Just trying to remember the songs, along with not dropping the stick.”
When Dugas was out on injured reserve, the band continued to perform with Jamey Bearb on drums.
“We talked about some things,” Dugas says. “He knew what he had to do — he did a damn good job — that guy is a great talent.”
But back to the day Dugas will not soon forget.
“It was Oct. 27,” Dugas says dryly. “A Thursday. A Thursday morning.”
Dugas was helping a cousin trim branches along a tree line on his Lafayette property when it happened.
“My hand was wrapped around the branch,” he says. “I was holding the branch out and it cut right above the knuckle on my pointer finger.”
While a self-inflicted wound, Dugas had some assistance from the tree.
“I hit the branch on the side of me, and the cane knife, it ricocheted,” says Dugas. “It cut through the bone and all the tendons and stuff.”
At the same time, “It nicked my butter finger,” he says. “It didn’t cut any tendons. All of my other fingers are good.”
Dugas went to his doctor who stitched him up and sent him to New Orleans. Contrary to rumors, Dugas was not turned away at the hospital because of a lack of insurance.
“Their hand surgeon only worked on Fridays,” Dugas says. “So they gave me medicine and set me up with an appointment the next week.”
“My world passed right in front of me
In November, Lagniappe Productions, based out of Rhode Island, put together a “Friends of Kevin Dugas Krewe” to help raise money for Dugas and his family.
“Chuck (Wentworth) and them in Rhode Island, they really helped me out a lot,” says Dugas, adding that local residents and businesses have also chipped in to help with the bills. “They got me through Christmas.”
In early January, Dugas’ doctor figured he has about a month more of physical therapy (at three times a week) with Casey Arceneaux, a physical therapist at Lafayette’s P.T. South.
“That’s not a problem,” he says. “I can live with that.”
On the mend, Dugas says although he has to ice down his hand after playing, and there is dead skin on the knuckle at the point of impact, he does have feeling in the injured finger and his future as a drummer looks good.
“It might not be 100 percent,” he says, “but it will be pretty darn close.”
Donations will be accepted through the New England state’s Mardi Gras ball on the Pawtuxet on Feb. 18. Checks, with Friends of Kevin Dugas on the memo line, can be sent to Lagniappe Productions, 51 White Oak Court, Wakefield, RI, 02879; or online at www.mardigrasri.com/2011/11/fundraiser-to-support-kevin-dugas/ and click on Dugas’ name.
Newly established honor recognizes outstanding local attorneys; Neuner and McGoffin win President's Award; and Blanchard named Outstanding Young Lawyer.
Daily paper constructing new digs near production plant on Rieger Road at Siegen Lane, near I-10.
Investigation finds Arnaud’s Furniture, Carroll Building Specialties and Crazy Charlie’s Shoes running misleading going-out-of-business sales.
Critics say workers and retirees are being held responsible for the Jindal administration's mismanagement of their program.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a proud papa of new baby girl.
The books on Louisiana's last budget year have been closed, but it took a bit of borrowing from this year to make the numbers work.
"This is yet another example of the failed leadership and lack of focus that Hunter Beasley has exhibited. He’s shown zero regard for kids, teachers or even passing a budget for the school year that’s already started."
Five bedroom Acadian style home or four bedroom traditional home
Cutting edge if you dare
The Iberia Parish Coroner responded Monday to the attention surrounding the questionable shooting of Victor White III, a black man from New Iberia who died April 2 while in the custody of local law enforcement.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Two months after lawmakers agreed to create a $40 million higher education incentive fund, no decisions have been made about how to divide the money.
With Drew Brees back healthy, the New Orleans Saints are free to work on the little things that can make the difference between a Super Bowl run and something less.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
First Superman comic sells for $3.2 million; Michael Brown's funeral; expert calls for nuke plant closure and more national and international news for Tuesday, August 26, 2014.
"Just as the devil does not deserve equal time with God, and a lie does not deserve equal time with the truth, the remarks of William Donahue have no place in any respectable journal seriously dealing with a serious story and pursuing truth."
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and her lead GOP challenger Congressman Bill Cassidy are running close when it comes to money. Landrieu has $5.5 million to Cassidy’s $5.6 million in the bank.
With expectations mounting that Gov. Bobby Jindal will soon announce his campaign for president, attention is turning to not only who he will bring along with him but also what will transpire politically back home during the transition.
Fall's versatile must have
Three bedroom patio home in Lafayette or two bedroom traditional home in Maurice
Seven of the 11 U.S. cities in a new ranking of “most dangerous diets” are in the Bayou and Lone Star states, but the ranking is more about poverty than fried oysters.
Lafayette police are investigating a fatal shooting involving an alleged burglar and homeowner.
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham got the message from the NFL. He's not dunking footballs over goal posts any more.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
With qualifying over, the start of campaign season is official, and for the Lafayette Parish School Board, the race toward Nov. 4 will pit 20 candidates in battles for all 9 of the district’s available seats.
A beefy bun dressed to the max and a crispy side ready for dunking in ketchup
Potenza Marketing makes fastest-growing companies list.
An abortion rights organization has filed the first court challenge to a Louisiana law that would require doctors who perform abortions to be able to admit patients to a nearby hospital.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister started his sign-up for re-election Friday the same as any other candidate, filling out paperwork and handing over cash to pay his qualifying fee. But he finished it quite differently, doused with ice.
The recent release of Victor White III’s autopsy report could spell trouble, as it tells a much different story of his death than the one told five months ago by the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office.