On Sunday, Aug. 12, just after 11 p.m., Broussard and his popular zydeco group the Creole Cowboys were loading up their van with musical gear outside of Grant Street Dancehall. The vehicle was in the parking lot in front of the club, facing Jefferson Street. Broussard was talking with a white woman near his van about the possibility of some upcoming gigs.
Broussard noticed a jacked-up gold pickup truck in an adjacent parking lot. The truck was locked in the parking lot by the entrances roped off with chains. It exited the lot by driving over a large concrete berm and then came to rest in the street for about a minute. Broussard didn't pay much attention to the vehicle and continued his conversation with the woman. (She has asked to remain unidentified but has corroborated the band's story.)
The truck then pulled into the parking lot in front of Grant Street, just past the van. Broussard noticed three young white males riding in it. "I didn't pay it no mind," he says. "I was talking business about gigs." Broussard's brother, Clifton, was loading equipment into the van, whose back doors were open. He heard the men in the truck yell at his brother, but he didn't hear what was said. Neither did Jeffery. But when he didn't respond to the men, the truck began to back up, heading toward the van.
Scrubboard player Brandon Ledet was standing at the entrance of the club's porch and started yelling and waving his arms, trying to get the attention of the driver and Clifton. "They would have gotten me," Clifton says. "Because when I turned around they were on me, steady coming. I jumped out the way, and they ran over the fiddle." The instrument belonged to fiddler D'Jalma Garnier, who didn't play the gig that night but who had loaned the instrument to Jeffery for the last year.
Garnier recalls answering the phone that night and hearing Jeffery on the other end saying, "Man, you're going to kill me. You ain't going to believe what happened. That fiddle just got completely smashed." Garnier says its history is priceless. He acquired the fiddle from his parents, who had led a church-based orchestra in Los Angeles. It once belonged to a 90-year-old member who had a heart attack while performing with it. Garnier owned it for the last seven years and lent it for extended periods to Cedric Watson of the Pine Leaf Boys and more recently to Jeffery. Garnier says it's going to be difficult to find a fiddle that replicates that "high old-timey sound."
Ledet says when the truck crushed the fiddle, "Then that's when they jammed it to the floor and skidded out of the parking lot as hard as they could." The band members couldn't get the license plate number because of the amount of black smoke pouring out of the vehicle. The truck drove through another set of chains around the parking lot and ran over a stop sign on the corner before fleeing the scene.
The band contacted the Lafayette Police Department, and the initial police report lists the complaint as "simple criminal damage to property." The description of the incident reads: "Complainant advised unknown white males in a vehicle attempted to hit them in their vehicle. During the altercation an instrument was broken. Suspects were unable to be located during initial investigation." Cpl. Paul Mouton says detectives are looking for a gold Ford F-250 pickup ' a model made between 2001 to 2005 ' with a lift kit and mud tires.
"I played that whole weekend with Jeffery," Ledet says. "We had no prior run-ins with anybody. It was a random incident with some guys looking to make some trouble." And Ledet believes that while the police are treating the incident as one of damaged property, it's really about race. "The zydeco community is primarily African-American," he says, "but we have a lot of Caucasian followers too. Overall, it's a family-like-community, whether it's white or black, but none of us are going to lay down for something like this."
Jeffery agrees that the incident was racial. "I think that seeing a black guy and a white lady talking pissed them off. But hey man, them days are gone. I've been playing music since I was 8 years old, and I ain't never experienced no s--t like this. Never. It was just some crazy-ass white punks who feel that they can rule the f--kin' world, and that s--t don't run no more. It don't work, not toward me."
Jindal describes the privatization as a cost-cutting move to save the state more than $100 million this year, while improving services and medical training.
A Baton Rouge judge is reconsidering his decision to throw out Gov. Bobby Jindal's revamp of teacher tenure and salary laws.
Ambassador François Delattre will also receive an honorary doctorate of francophone studies at the commencement at the Cajundome.
During the past seven games, the Saints have forced two turnovers — a league low during that span. Now they're trying to figure out what has changed since their first seven games, when they forced 15 turnovers.
Choice cuts from Acadiana’s news media for Friday, Dec. 20, 2013:
For many fans, it was their third consecutive year participating in French Quarter parade.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, December 20, 2013:
Lafayette Parish School Board member Greg Awbrey deserves an attaboy for his unexpected vote during Wednesday’s meeting approving a mediation session between the board and Superintendent Pat Cooper.
The cable television network's suspension of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson from the hit reality show has drawn criticism from the governor of Robertson's home state.
The State Bond Commission gave preliminary approval to the borrowing plan Thursday without objection.
The Pediatric Clinic is housed in the same location previously closed by state budget cuts in June 2012.
Three-term Louisiana senator facing tough re-election battle is next in line for Energy Committee chairmanship.
In a letter distributed during Wednesday night's meeting, Lafayette Parish School Board member Shelton Cobb, in his final meeting as board president, called on his fellow board members to start focusing on the children and stop battling Superintendent Pat Cooper.
Joshua Dore of Breaux Bridge was sentenced Tuesday to 1.5 years in prison for counterfeiting, according to a press release issued by U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley’s office on Wednesday.
School super Pat Cooper alleges Lafayette Parish School Board member Mark Allen Babineaux, an attorney, publicly disclosed the details of a closed-door executive session.
Sun Belt commissioner presents title and practice gets under way in preparation for Saturday
Kerry Bertrand’s charge was upgraded Tuesday by an Acadia Parish grand jury from manslaughter to second-degree murder for his alleged role in the drowning death of his stepdaughter, Skylar Credeur.
Sean Payton announced Wednesday that veteran Shayne Graham was New Orleans' new kicker, and that rookie Terron Armstead would get his first start at left tackle.
Should new parents be required by law to attend special classes before being permitted to raise their child? It’s an idea state Rep. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, is seriously considering.
The agenda for Wednesday’s meeting of the Lafayette Parish School Board tells it all: The board has lost sight of its elected purpose.
A public Mass will be held Thursday in New Orleans for artist George Rodrigue, who died Saturday of cancer at age 69.
Eight former employees of The Times-Picayune have sued the newspaper and parent Advance Publications Inc., alleging their layoffs violated a longstanding "job security pledge" and age discrimination laws.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration hasn't done an independent performance review of its $363 million privatization contract for mental health and addictive disorder treatment services.
"Whether it's the tackle position, whether it's a player on defense ... we're going to look closely at what our options are and what gives us the best chance."
Get to Cajun Field today and show your bowl-bound pride