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."
American companies export smog; UN calls for cease-fire in Gaza; fist bump keeps germ transfer down and more national and international news for Monday, July 28, 2014.
Monday's Blogs from the Bog!
Louisiana has joined nine other states in support of Indiana’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that the Hoosier State’s ban on sam-sex marriage violates the Constitution.
The Saints are being cautious in an effort to minimize risk of re-injury.
LSU Health Sciences Center says people with a common, hard-to-treat kind of lung cancer can join a new national trial to test drugs faster.
As New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis spoke about the opening of training camp, steep, tree-covered mountains were in full view behind them.
The family of fallen cyclist Lon Lomas is speaking out after the release this week of the man charged with his death.
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The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering whether to get involved in a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal for his attempts to undermine use of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana's public schools.
The latest meeting of a south Louisiana flood board that stirred political turmoil with a lawsuit against the oil and gas industry is taking place amid uncertainty over the future of the lawsuit — and the board's own membership.
The photos taken nearly a mile under the Gulf of Mexico are so clear that small holes are visible in a lifeboat that may have gone down or been scuttled when a passenger ship was sunk by a Nazi submarine in 1942.
Advocate columnist and Jindal shill Quin Hillyer has been against the New Orleans levee board lawsuit from day one, but a recent piece targeting author/activist John Barry prompted the perfect rebuttal from the board’s former vice-president, who takes Hillyer to task on just about every distorted claim he’s made on the issue.
Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent.
Louisiana fell one spot in an annual national ranking of child well-being that looks at poverty, education and health access.
A federal judge has decided he doesn't need to hear more arguments in the case of a gay couple who want a Louisiana marriage license.
Saints again bring playoff aspirations into 2014 campaign.
New details in the case against the man arrested for last week’s bomb threat and bank robbery has surfaced, including a MidSouth Bank surveillance video showing the alleged suspect attempt an early-morning bank robbery.
Parents and teachers who support the Common Core education standards sued Gov. Bobby Jindal Tuesday over his actions against the multi-state standards, accusing him of illegally meddling in education policy.
An arrest was announced this morning in connection with last week’s bomb scare at UL Lafayette.
Attorneys, judges and others interviewed by LaPolitics expect 15 to 20 district judge races this year.
"I feel like I'm under siege," an attorney said recently over drinks at Galatoire's Bistro in Baton Rouge. "We all do. Every time I turn around somebody wants a check. District attorney races. The judges. They're killing us."
As a requirement for running for Congress in the 6th District, former Gov. Edwin Edwards has filed his financial disclosure statement with the U.S. House showing his income in 2013 totaling $242,787.
Unlike those swindled by Bernie Madoff, the victims of Texas businessman Robert Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme won’t be getting any relief from the Securities Investor Protection Corp.’s emergency fund after a recent appellate court ruling.
The legal challenge is part of a continuing struggle over Common Core, which has become controversial since the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted the standards in 2010.
The lone Democrat to announce he's running for governor, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, criticized Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's budgeting tactics as "running the state like a big Ponzi scheme."