Bandmember Wilson Savoy says he and his roommates, Jon Bertrand and Cedric Watson, along with Drew Simon, have been playing Cajun music on campus since August ' usually with fiddle, guitar, accordion and t'fer. The acoustic quartet has performed on the corner of Rex Street and St. Mary Boulevard.
"We live near campus," says Savoy. "We like playing music, and the people like it. We go out there when there's nice weather to make a few bucks, but we're not begging for money. That's one of the nice things about Lafayette; the music is what it's all about."
While the group performs, there's an open case for passersby to part with their spare change. "People thrown in money," Savoy says. "We don't ask them. We make, on average, $10 a day." On the afternoon of March 23, The Pine Leaf Boys had netted $5 and had been playing for about five minutes when a UL Police car with its lights flashing pulled up to the curb.
An officer approached the group. "He said, 'Stop the noise. There's a complaint from the dean of students that there was noise on campus,'" says Savoy. "And he said, 'That's the same reason that we don't let bums beg for money on the street. So if y'all want to do it, y'all have to get a permit.' And yada, yada, yada. It was pretty offensive, so we packed up and left."
Pat Cottonham, UL associate dean of students, says her office received a complaint about loud music and adds that the band wasn't registered for an activity on campus, which is required by her office. "We didn't know there was supposed to be a band," she says. "People can't just set up and be on campus." Cottonham says The Pine Leaf Boys also didn't have a permit from Lafayette Consolidated Government to perform. She adds, "They were in a quiet zone, 20 feet away from an academic building where science classes were going on." (Montgomery Hall, the school's chemistry building, sits on the same corner.)
Cottonham also claims that university police had paid The Boys a visit about the noise a week earlier, a claim that Savoy flatly denies. Cottonham also says that the officer denies making a reference to "bums." Calls placed to the UL Police department were unreturned as of press time.
It was the first time the dean's office had received a complaint about the music, according to Cottonham. "But if someone calls and complains, then we look into it," she says. "I wouldn't understand how a band would be able to be there since August ' in a high traffic area ' and not be noticed."
Dean of Students Edward Pratt says the UL Police have informed him that The Pine Leaf Boys had been previously warned. "These are probably a bunch of nice kids," he says, "and I wish they would have come up to us, talked to us and said, 'Dean Pratt, we want to play music.'"
"I guess we're just not going to do it anymore," Savoy says. "It was kind of like a slap in the face. We weren't doing it for the money, by any means. In a way, we just wanted to raise the morale of the UL experience. A lot of people take tours [of the campus] and a lot of students are out there. The only thing that differentiates this campus from LSU is live Cajun music, right here in Lafayette. We're supposed to be the Cajun heartland of Louisiana, and UL is supposed to be the Ragin' Cajuns, but they made us stop playing. I thought it was just pitiful, especially when we're on a street where they've got trucks driving by, at 100 decibels, blowing out their rap and crap."
"I'm disappointed that they feel they weren't treated fairly," Cottonham says. "We want to be seen as a friendly campus, but there are rules and procedures to follow. This wasn't the first warning given to them, and I would like to talk to them about what our rules and regulations are for coming on the campus. I'm sure that there's a reasonable way for us to have a dialogue about this."
But along with scraping their afternoon matinees, The Pine Leaf Boys don't intend to speak with university officials over registering their activity or securing a permit from consolidated government.
"No, of course not," Savoy says. "We didn't think we needed a permit, and we still don't."
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.