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."
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.
Jim Bernhard, who engineered the sale of The Shaw Group for $3 billion, recently has told several people involved in Democratic politics that he intends to run for governor in 2015.
A New Orleans levee board wants to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for decades of damage to our state’s coastline, but the Legislature may be poised to put the kibosh on the suit.
New standards curb elective induction
CVS stops tobacco sales
If an Acadia Parish fiddler misses a note while swatting a fly, will a St. Martinville accordionist learn “Ma ‘Tite Fille”?
(It's good, it's bad and it's just crazy)