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."
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.