Southwest Louisiana Musicians Encyclopedia
The SWLA Musicians Encyclopedia is a compendium of narrative and descriptive essays about the people and places relating to music and musicians of SWLA. For the purposes of this encyclopedia, the definition of a “Southwest Louisiana Musician” remains a fluid and slippery endeavor. As a general rule, “Southwest Louisiana” means “Imperial Calcasieu,” the region now made up of Calcasieu, Cameron, Allen, Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis parishes. To be sure, a musician born within the boundaries of these parishes falls under the category of “Southwest Louisiana Musician.” However, after that criterion, the definition becomes less definite. Other musicians not fortunate enough to be born on Imperial Calcasieu soil, but who lived, worked, or performed extensively in this area are included. The Encyclopedia also includes bands, civic organizations, educators, and companies associated with Southwest Louisiana music.
The Encyclopedia is planned as a cumulative and ongoing research and writing project. For more information, please see the sources page. Please contact the editor with submissions, errors, or broken links.
Kegley, Wilson. Kegley was born on April 2, 1917. Kegley was a Cajun music fiddler and has played music with the Lake Charles Playboys, Nathan Abshire, Iry LeJeune, Ray Abshire, and many others. Kegley died on January 20, 1985. In 1990, the Lake Charles chapter of the Cajun French Music Association inducted Kegley into its Hall of Fame.
Kershaw Family. Doug (born January 24, 1936), Rusty (born in 1938), and Nelson (PeeWee) Kershaw are three brothers from Tiel Ridge, Cameron Parish, Louisiana. The three brothers formed the Cajun band Pee Wee Kershaw & The Continental Playboys in 1948. Rusty and Doug began recording as a duo in the 1950's, and had several country hits including "So Lovely, Baby" (1955), "Love Me to Pieces" (1957), "Hey Sheriff" (1958), "Louisiana Man"(1961), and "Diggy Liggy Lo" (1961). Doug and Rusty were cast members of the "Louisiana Hayride" radio show, the "Wheeling Jamboree," and joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1958. The brothers split up and went solo in 1964.
Doug made his first network television appearance on the "Johnny Cash Show" in the 1960s. This performance led to a long-term recording contract with Warner Brothers Records. In 1969, "Louisiana Man" was the first song ever broadcast back to earth from the moon by the Apollo 12 Mission.
Rusty released "Cajun in Blues Country" in 1970 and the critically acclaimed "Now & Then" (featuring Neil Young, The Subdudes, and Art Neville) in 1992. Rusty Kershaw died October 23, 2001 at age 63 in New Orleans after suffering a heart attack.
Kershaw, Sammy. Kershaw started performing in clubs at 12 years old. By the early 1990's, he was making his mark in country music. Some of his hits he can account to his stardom are "She Don't Know She's Beautiful", "I Can't Reach Her Anymore", "National Working Woman's Holiday", "Love Of My Life", "Cadillac Style", "Don't Go Near The Water", and many more. Not only is Kershaw committed to his music, but he is also committed to children. Kershaw is from Kaplan, Louisiana which is where he has established The Sammy Kershaw Foundation for helping children and children charities. More information can be found at www.sammykershaw.com .
King of Zydeco [See Clifton Chenier].
Kushner, Tony. Kushner was born July 16, 1956 in Manhattan. Kushner wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Angels in America. Kushner’s parents, William and Sylvia (Deutscher) Kushner, both classically trained musicians, moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana shortly after his birth. Kushner completed his bachelor’s degree in English literature at Columbia University in 1978. Kushner studied directing at New York University's Graduate School, where he graduated in 1984.
LaBouve, William. LaBouve was born in Hathaway, Louisiana and learned to play the fiddle at an early age. LaBouve played with Joe Bonsall, Blackie Fruge & the Hicks Wagon Wheel Ramblers, the Jennings Playboys, and Joe Simon & the Louisiana Cajuns. LaBouve is a member of the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame.
Lacassine Playboys. The Lacassine Playboys were led by fiddler Milton Vanicor. The band played with Iry LeJeune occasionally.
Lafleur, Tonice. Lafleur was born on April 20, 1918 in Oberlin, Louisiana. Lafleur is a Cajun music guitarist and has played music with Nathan Abshire, J.B. Fuselier, Sidney Brown, Wilson Granger, Phil Menard, Dewey Balfa, Harry Choates, and many others. In 1998, the Lake Charles chapter of the Cajun French Music Association inducted Lafleur into its Hall of Fame.
Lake Charles Playboys. The Lake Charles Playboys consisted of: Wilson Kegley on the fiddle, Ernest Thibodeaux on the guitar, Roy Stewart on the guitar, and Ozie Kegley on the drums. Their first performance was at the Bucket of Blood in Lake Arthur, Louisiana.
Lake Charles Symphony Orchestra. In the early 20th century, Lake Charles enjoyed several successful orchestras, including the Kushner Orchestra, the Levingston Orchestra, and the Lake Charles Civic Symphony, which began in 1938. The Lake Charles Civic Symphony began as a result of Louisiana State University’s efforts to encourage musical activity through eight community organizations formed in towns mainly along the Old Spanish Trail. The Symphony petered out after World War II decimated its members.
In 1957, the Lake Charles Junior Welfare League began studying the feasibility of rebuilding the civic orchestra. At the League’s April 1958 meeting, the membership voted unanimously to undertake the symphony project. In August 1958, the Symphony founders formed a non-profit corporation with Dr. Maurice Kushner as the Chairman of the Board and Mrs. J. Aubrey Bonham as President of the Women’s Auxiliary. Warren Signor became the Conductor and began selecting musicians. The newly reorganized Lake Charles Civic Symphony held its first performance on November 11, 1958, with pianist George Sandor as soloist. Since then, the Symphony has joined forces with the Louisiana Choral Foundation, Lake Charles Ballet Society, Lake Charles Civic Ballet, Dance Theatre Southwest, Lake Charles Little Theatre, and others to bring the best in musical entertainment to the community. Throughout the Symphony’s history, five distinguished men have held the conductor’s baton: B. Warren Signor, Dr. George Ruffin Marshall, Don Wilder, James MacInnes, and William Kushner, the present conductor. For more information, see the Symphony’s website.
Landry, Gill. Gill Landry was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He is a member of The Old Crow Medicine Show and The Kitchen Syncopators and also works as a solo artist. Learn more at his website.
Lapoint, Emory J., Sr. Lapoint was born on August 14, 1920 in Kaplan, Louisiana. Lapoint is a Cajun music guitarist and has played music with Lionel Cormier, Percy Fusilier, the Sundown Playboys, Joe Bonsall, and many others. In 1995, the Lake Charles chapter of the Cajun French Music Association inducted Lapoint into its Hall of Fame.
Latour, Raymond. A Creole Zydeco musician. Raymond and his wife, Lillie, live in Sulphur Louisiana. He is a retired carpenter who plays with the band Sulfur Playboys. They perform locally and in other areas of Louisiana and Texas. They participated in the 1984 Worlds Fair in New Orleans, Louisiana where they received an award.
LeBlanc, Floyd J. LeBlanc was born in Mermentau, Louisiana on September 17, 1924. LeBlanc’s musical career began at an early age. Born to a music-loving family, his father, Lessin, played the French accordion and fiddle. His mother, Merellia, played rhythm guitar and sang. In the early 1930s the family moved to Cypress Point, Louisiana where Floyd and his brother, Steve, made homemade instruments and learned to play. They began playing dances and became very popular local favorites.
During World War II, Floyd, Steve, and another brother, Sandres, joined the military. While stationed in San Antonio, Floyd met Virgil Bozeman. Together they started a band called the “Oklahoma Tornados” and played both French and country music. After the war, the LeBlanc and Bozeman met Iry LeJeune and became friends. After playing together in Houston and in local clubs, the “Oklahoma Tornado” band helped LeJeune record the “Love Bridge Waltz” and “The Evangeline Special”. LeBlanc and Bozeman later moved briefly to Nashville and played with several bands, including Ernest Tubb’s band. MGM offered to sign LeBlanc to a contract and a chance to play on the Grand Old Opry using the name “Arkansas Cotton Pickers.” LeBlanc turned them down and soon after left Nashville to return home.
In the 1960's, LeBlanc played with the bands of Doris Matte, Bobby Leger, Robert Bertrand, Jo-El Sonnier, and Joe Bonsall. LeBlanc recorded on his own, “Roseland Two Step” and “Tolan Waltz” on the Cajun Classics label. He then teamed up with long time friend, Oday Boudreaux, who had a recording studio and recorded “Chea Bossitt” and “The Lake Arthur Waltz.” At the time of his death, LeBlanc and Boudreaux were working on an album, which remains incomplete. Other songs recorded by LeBlanc during his career, are: “Louisiana Stomp,” “Orphan Waltz,” “Hackberry Two Step,” “Louisiana Waltz,” “You Musn’t Cry,” “LaGrange Waltz,” “Eunice Two Step,” “Over the Waves,” and “La Valse De Gron Shman.”
LeBlanc died on November 8, 1975 in Lake Charles, Louisiana and was survived by his wife, Mary, and four children. He was inducted into the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in 1990.
LeBlanc, Verris "Shorty". Shorty was born in Jefferson Davis Parish on Christmas Eve of 1923. He was an accomplished accordion player by age nine, and taught himself music without reading or writing the music. In Shorty's music career, he recorded with Jimmie C. Newman, played with The Vanicors, and made an album in Nashville. On May 25, 1965, he died at the age of 42. The Cajun French Music Association inducted Shorty LeBlanc into its Hall of Fame in 1990.
Ledet, Roland, Sr. Ledet's musical career developed throughout Texas and Louisiana. Locally, he played with Joe Bonsall and the Orange Playboys at the Shamrock Club in Lake Charles, with Phil Menard and The Louisiana Travelers at various festivals, at the CFMA Music and Food Festivals, and at the Cajun Festival in Vinton. Ledet was born in Port Arthur, Texas on October 25, 1934. He is now a member of the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame.
Lege, Jesse R., Sr. Lege has played music for over 25 years. He was inspired by Elson Mier to play cajun music. He plays the accordian, rhythm guitar, and the fiddle. Lege was born on November 6, 1951 in Gueydan, Louisiana. He is married with four children. Over the years, he received several awards including Most Traditional Band of the Year, Best Accordion Player of the Year, Best First Recording of the Year, and is now a member of the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame since 1998. Some famous musicians with whom he played music were Nathan Abshire, Aldus Roger, Rodney LeJeune, Amada Breaux, Dewey Balfa, Milton Adams, Joe Bonsall, Lesa Cormier, and Ivy Dugas. Lege is also a songwriter and wrote "Memories in My Heart" and "I'm Lonesome For You".
Leger, Arthur. Early in his childhood, Leger learned to play the guitar and sing, so he formed a band. By the age of fifteen, he was playing country and western music for "Blackie" Forestier's Uncle Philoman. He later learned to play Cajun music and was taught by Floyd LeBlanc. He has recorded with bands on several LP's, including Blackie Forestier's Cajun Aces, and worked in Texas for about 20 years. Leger was born near Welsh, Louisiana. He has been playing music for over 40 years supported by his wife and three children. He was inducted into the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in 1991. Leger is Charles Mann's and Garland Domingue's uncle. Leger played fiddle on Mann's Cajun French song "The Daylight Waltz."
Leger, Elias "Bobby". Bobby was born in Estherwood, Louisiana in 1916 and later relocated to Lake Charles. He learned to play music from his family who sat around on Sunday afternoons playing French music. Bobby looked up to accordion player, Lawrence Walker. At age fifteen, he learned to play the accordion and continued playing for over 60 years. After organizing a band, Bobby played in clubs throughout southwest Louisiana including the Shamrock Club in Lake Charles for 18 years, Club 90 for 5 years, OST in Rayne for 5 years, and Oberlin Mardi Gras for 23 years. He made at least eight records and he considered his best songs to be "Lost Love Waltz" and "The Lake Charles Playboys Waltz". Also, Bobby was in charge of Cajun Day during Lake Charles' Contraband Days until he retired from employment with the City of Lake Charles. He became a member of the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in 1990.
Leger, Joseph Leroy. Leroy Leger was the son of "Bobby" Leger and born near Church Point, Louisiana on January 7, 1940. He is married with three children and eight grandchildren. Inspired by his father and by the late Robert Bertrand, he started playing the drums and played Cajun music for about 30 years. Although he played with many famous Cajun musicians, he also played in country and western and rock and roll bands. In 2001, he was inducted into the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame.
Leger, Martin "Bull." Leger was an accordionist in the 1940s and 1950s. He began playing in the Carencro area, then moved to Lake Charles. He opened the Cajun Kitchen, a restaurant next door to Phil Menard's service station on Broad Street, across from the Chennault Air Force Base. Nathan Abshire and Iry LeJeune often played at the restaurant. He was inspired to play Cajun music by his father, Noah Leger. He played the accordion for his own bands, "The Country-Boys" for 30 years and "Bull and the Little Bulls" for 5 years. Leger played with many famous musicians at many well-known clubs and functions. He also taught Cyrus Leger, Gus Leger, Phil Menard, Homer LeJeune, and Willis Leger how to play the accordion. Martin "Bull" Leger became a member of the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in 2003.
LeJeune, Eddie. LeJeune was a Cajun accordion master and native of Ardoin Cove, Louisiana. Eddie was the son of Cajun music legend Iry LeJeune. Eddie died January 9, 2001 at age 49.
LeJeune, Homer John. Homer was born in Sulphur, Louisiana in 1956. He is employed with the U.S. Tobacco Company and is a DJ for KEZM Radio. His musical inspiration was his father, John Elton "Bill" LeJeune and his godfather, Gabriel "Ga Bee" Leger. Homer has been playing the accordion, drums, and guitar for over 27 years. He played with bands such as The Sundown Playboys for 16 years, The Sulphur Playboys for 5 years, and The Cajun Swing Band for 4 years. He has also played with Rufus Thibodeaux, Jo-El Sonnier, Tracy Byrd, Warren Storm, Johnny Allen, Doug Kershaw, and "Rockin" Sidney. Homer rewrote "When Did You Stop Loving Me" and "Jealous Heart" in French. Some honors he was awarded include Musicien du Bal, Le Bal de Maison, Band of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year, Accordion Player of the Year, and the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame.
LeJeune, Iry. Iry LeJeune was born in 1928, in Pointe Noir, Louisiana. Nearly blind from birth, LeJeune began playing the accordion at an early age. LeJeune lived near the Vanicor family. Milton Vanicor and other family members formed the Lacassine Playboys. LeJeune played with them occasionally. LeJeune began recording music with Eddie Shuler in 1949, releasing "LaCassine Special" and "Calcasieu Waltz." These recordings spawned Goldband Records with Shuler and LeJeune, recording songs in LeJeune's kitchen. At the time, string bands were more popular in Cajun music. LeJeune reintroduced traditional accordions into the genre after World War II. He is considered one of the most important musicians in the history of Cajun music. LeJeune was a brilliant accordionist, singer, and songwriter. Iry LeJeune died tragically in a highway accident at the peak of his career in 1955. He was 26 years old and had recorded 26 songs. On May 5, 1990, the Cajun French Music Association honored Iry LeJeune as a Hall of Fame member.
Lester & the Bluegrass Gospel Singers. This group found inspiration from the Grand Ole Opry, Bill Monroe, and Roy Acuff. Members include Lester Snell, G.C. Neal, Melvin Weldon, Morris Weldon, and Aubrey Cole. The group was active in the mid to late 1970s.
Lil' Alfred [See Alfred Babino].
Lopez, Joseph. Lopez is a fiddler who began his career with Tee Denise & the Iberia Playboys. Later, Lopez played with Ellis Badeau & the Louisiana Aces, the Touchet Brothers, Alden Granger & the Scott Playboys, Aldus Roger & the Lafayette Playboys, and Ulysse Poirrer & the Bayou Teche Band. Lopez is a member of the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame.
Lopez, Louis. Lopez began playing the accordion at age 13. He was born in Elton, Louisiana in 1918 and later moved to Lake Charles. By 1947, he was playing music professionally in many clubs with many noted musicians throughout southwest Louisiana. Lopez also helped young musicians learn to play the accordion. He died in 1976, survived by his wife, two daughters, three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. He was included in the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in 1990.
Louisiana Ramblers. The Louisiana Ramblers, including Jo-El Sonnier on vocals and accordion, recorded a Cajun version of Chuck Berry's "Memphis" on J.D. Miller's Fais Do Do label in the early 1960s.
Louisiana's Kingfish. Louisiana's Kingfish, formed in 1998, describe their sound as "zyde-country," a blending of Cajun, rock'n'roll, zydeco, country, and pure R&B. Band members include singer Chris Miller, guitarist and singer Dave Savario, drummer Dale Dougay, and bass player Rob Broussard. In 2000, the group released Life in a One-Horse Town with songs in both French and English. Savario sings and writes most of the English songs, including Zachary Richard's "J'Peux Pas M'Empecher." Miller sings most of the French songs, including "'Tit Galop Pour Mamou," "Mon Papa," and "Allons Danser."
Louisiana Travelers. In 1953, Phil Menard and Cursey Fontenot formed the Louisiana Travelers. Later, the band came to include "Crip" Cormier on the drums, Wallace DeRouen on guitar, Atlas Fruge on the steel guitar, Houston Fruge on the guitar, and Darrell Higginbotham on the guitar. In 1967 Menard and the Louisiana Travelers began recording with Goldband Records on their Folk Star label. Fontenot left the band, but continued to use the "Louisiana Travelers" name. Menard and the other band members' first recordings carry the band name "Phil Menard and the Cajun Five." In the late 1960s and 1970s, the band expanded to include Robert Bertrand on fiddle and vocals, Mervin Faul on steel guitar, Garland Domingue on drums, Norris Savoy on fiddle, and Bobby Caswell on guitar and vocals. In the late 1970s, Ivy Dugas joined the band on drums and steel guitar. Cliff Newman on drums and Hugh Johnson and Duffy Sensat on fiddle also joined the band during this time. The band played at the VFW Post 2130, the Rodair, and Club 90. In the 1980s, the band included: T-Boy Esthay, Albert Miller, Bob Thibodeaux, Roland Ledet, Danny Cormier, John Henry Benoit, Harry "Cliff" Conner, Mack Comeaux, Nelson Bergeron, Francis Andrepont, and Lyman Veronie.
Lutcher, Nellie. Lutcher is an R&B vocalist, piano player, and composer from Lake Charles, Louisiana. Lutcher had a number of Top 10 R&B hits in the late 1940s. Her brother is sax player and vocalist Joe Lutcher.
Mann, Charles. Mann was born Charles Louis Domingue in Welsh, Louisiana on Nov. 22, 1944. His brother is Garland Domingue and his uncle is Arthur Leger. As a youngster he would sing along with the radio and later joined the church choir. At sixteen he joined a local band, Ricky and the Hound Dogs, singing rock & roll and Swamp Pop. Four years later he joined another group, The Eltradoors from Gueydan, La. In 1965, Mann had his first hit, "Keep Your Arms Around Me." Mann's next hit was "You're No Longer Mine" which played on American Bandstand in 1967. Mann's biggest hit came in 1969 with a cover of Neil Diamond's "Red, Red Wine."
At the suggestion of John Broven, a Swamp Pop fan and
author, Mann recorded a cover of the Dire Straits hit "Walk
Of Life," seasoning the recording with the Cajun accordion.
The recording was a hit not only in South Louisiana and East
Texas, but in England as well. Mann leased the album to Zane
Records and Cooking Vinyl in England and began touring
throughout the U.K., including an appearance at the
Willie (1922-1994). Marchand founded Lake
Charles’ first YMCA for African Americans. After military
service in World War II, he returned home and became
the city's first black mail carrier in 1948. Marchand was an
accomplished vocalist, composer, arranger and saxophonist.
In the military, Marchand was a member of the U.S. Navy
Band. He played tenor and alto saxophone with members of
Duke Ellington's band, the Lake Charles Jazz Band and his
Matte, Doris James. Matte received his first accordion from his father at about age twelve. In the early 1960's, he formed his band "The Lake Charles Ramblers". His first song was "The Tracks of My Buggy" and became one of the best selling Cajun songs during that time. Every Saturday afternoon in the 1960's, Matte could be seen playing on "Saturday Night Down South" on KPLC TV. His music career developed in both Texas and Louisiana. He was born in Church Point, Louisiana in 1937, married with three children, and now lives in Lake Charles. In 1995, he became a member of the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame.
Menard, Doris Leon. [the Cajun "Hank Williams"]. Menard was born in 1932 in Erath, Louisiana. D.L. Menard’ signature song was the 1962 hit, "La Porte d'en Arrière," a humorous song about a hard-living Cajun who has to sneak in through the back door after drinking and carousing. The tune for "The Back Door" is based on Hank Williams' "Honky Tonk Blues." The song has sold over half a million copies. Menard has sung at festivals in Quebec and France and dozens of Louisiana clubs. In 2001, the 27th annual Festival de Musique Acadienne, a part of Lafayette's Festivals Acadiens was dedicated to Menard. He led the band, the Louisiana Aces, including Leo Abshire on fiddle. He has received many honors, including a 1994 Folk Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Menard's recordings include "Cajun Memories" (1995), "Le Trio Cadien" (1992, with Eddie LeJeune and Ken Smith), "Under a Green Oak Tree" (recorded in 1976 with Marc Savoy and Dewey Balfa and released in 1989), "No Matter Where You At, There You Are" (1988), "Cajun Saturday Night" (1985), and "D.L. Menard and the Louisiana Aces" (recorded in 1974 and released in 1988). In addition to his music career, Menard also is a master craftsman, making handmade rocking chairs.
Menard, Phil. Phil Menard was born in Carencro, Louisiana on September 6, 1923. He was married to Georgia Mary Leger in 1942, and they have 3 sons and one daughter. Phil and Georgia moved to Lake Charles, La. in 1945 and opened a service station on Broad Street across the street from Chennault Air Force Base. Through the years, Menard moved his business to Ryan Street, near the courthouse, and later to Kirkman Street. Menard also expanded the service station to include sales of used cars. Menard's became a gathering place for local musicians and young hopefuls.
Menard started playing the accordion when he was 21 years old and played off and on in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Menard played three to four dances a week back then, including ten straight years at the V.F.W. Post #2130 in Lake Charles. In 1953, he and Cursey Fontenot formed the Louisiana Travelers. On June 10, 1972, Menard and the Louisiana Travelers played at the Lake Charles Civic Center for Contraband Days, the first time the festival was based there.
In 1985, Menard received the Louisiana Entertainment Association’s award as Accordion Player for 1984. Lake Charles Mayor Ed Watson proclaimed January 18, 1987 “Phil Menard Day.” On February 26, 1989, the Texas Longhorn Club held its Cajun Music Awards Program and chose Menard as the Traditional Cajun Artist of the Last Decade. Menard’s two big hits are "La Sha Chere” and "The Heritage Waltz.” Menard also won the first Heritage Award given by Le Cajun Awards Show and Festival in Lafayette, Louisiana in 1989 and gives credit to "The Heritage Waltz" for this award. Since 1984, Phil Menard has been an active member of the Cajun French Music Association and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in May of 1990.
Messiah [see Handel's Messiah].
Miller, Albert C. Miller taught himself to play drums by the age of twelve and he was noticed by Bobby Leger and The Lake Charles Playboys. He then started learning about Cajun music. For over 28 years, he played in Texas and Louisiana, and he traveled to Austria to play. He worked on 37 recordings, sang for 17 songs, and wrote lyrics for eight of the songs. Miller assisted in putting together the first Cajun Culture Connection Festival. In 1992, he received the Heritage Award at the Le Cajun Festival for "The Hurricane of '57". Miller has been a member of the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame since 1995.
Miller, Chris. Miller is the accordionist for Bayou Roots. Miller grew up in the Lacassine, Louisiana area and began playing musical instruments at an early age. Miller composed a few songs in middle school and won a few talent contests with his original piano works. As a young man, Miller began playing more Cajun music and taught himself Cajun accordion, guitar, and later, fiddle. In 1999 Miller helped to form Louisiana’s Kingfish. Miller has also played throughout the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. and France with Hadley Castille, the Cajun Swamp Fiddler. Miller also played at the Texas Folklife Festival in San Antonio with Rodney LeJeune and the Texas Cajun Playboys. Chris has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Music Education from McNeese State University and is the Choral Director at Barbe High School and First Presbyterian Church in Lake Charles.
Miller, Larry. Born in 1932 on a farm south of Iota, Louisiana, Miller achieved a 43-year profession in music performing at over 100 functions on a regular basis in both Texas and Louisiana. In 1948, he started playing the steel guitar and in 1949, he played with the Sundown Playboys for the first time. He continued playing with other bands such as, Lawrence Walker and The Wondering Aces, Nathan Abshire and The Pine Grove Boys, and The Texas Cajun Playboys. Larry Miller is honored to be a part of the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame since 1990.
Miller, Ronald James, Sr. Mr. Miller is known by his friends as "Ron". He was born on March 18, 1946 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. His inspiration to play Cajun music began at 13 and came from his grandparents, his father, and uncle. Miller can play the drums, steel, bass, and rhythm guitar. He formed The Midnight Ramblers in 1972 with Chevance Cormier and August Broussard and played together for 13 years. But, in 1997 the group changed the name to CCR (Cajun Culture Revival). One year later, he was inducted into the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame.
Mott, Hilrae. Born in Lacassine on February 23, 1936, Mott now lives in Lake Charles with his wife and is retired. Hilrae began playing rhythm guitar at the age of fifteen with a neighborhood band. He also learned to play the bass guitar and started occasionally sitting in with Lionel Cormier and The Sundown Playboys starting a trend of playing bass guitar along with an accordion. Eventually he had his own group at one time called "Hilrae Mott, Ervin LeJeune and The Louisiana Ramblers". He continued to play bass with many great musicians at events both locally and out of state. His recordings include playing with Nathan Abshire, Joe Bonsall, Robert Bertrand, and Jo-El Sonnier. Hilrae Mott is a charter member of the Lake Charles Chapter of the Cajun French Music Association and was inducted into the Lake Charles Chapter's Cajun Music Hall of Fame in May 1990. Mott is currently playing rhythm guitar with Mac Manuel and The Lake Charles Ramblers.
Newman, Jimmy C. Although a Cajun-country musician, Newman's influence came from Gene Autry. Newman was born on August 27, 1927 in High Point, La. As a teenager, he played with "Chuck Guillory's Rhythm Boys". In 1953, he signed with Dot Records (later moved to MGM in 1958 and Decca in 1961), and reached number four in the country charts with "Cry, Cry Darling". After moving to the Grand Ole Opry in 1956, "A Fallen Star" became his biggest hit at number two and making the pop Top 25. In 1963, he produced the album, "Folk Songs of the Bayou Country", which helped popularize Cajun music. Featured on this album is accordionist, Shorty LeBlanc and Rufus Thibodeaux on the fiddle. Newman's most popular albums include "Cajun Classics" (1995) and "The Cajun Country Music of a Louisiana Man" (2001).
Newman, Morris James. Newman's inspiration to play music came from Iry LeJeune. He started playing drums in 1967 and has played for 32 years. He has played with various Cajun bands and made recordings such as "Hicks Wagon Wheel Special", "Kathy's Waltz", "Musician's Dream", "Memories in My Heart" and others. He plays at nursing homes in Jennings, Welsh, and Crowley with Rita LeJeune and Alvin Leger; also with Blackie Fruge and The Hicks Wagon Wheel Ramblers. Newman was born on January 25, 1951 in Oberlin, Louisiana. He became a member of the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in 1999.
Oliver, John. John Oliver was born on June 18, 1915 in Mowata, Louisiana and moved to Lake Charles in 1962. For over 60 years, John put together at least six bands, all with the name John Oliver and The Louisiana Ramblers playing all over southwest Louisiana. Among the many songs recorded were "The Mowata Waltz", "The Jennings Waltz", "Te Gallo", and "Uncle John's Special". In 1997, he was inducted into the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame. John will always be remembered for his charitable gift of playing music for the handicapped children of this area.
O'Quain, Sonny. O'Quain is an accordionist and member of the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame. He was born in Gueydan on March 28, 1934. His father bought him an accordion to help exercise an injured finger. At ten years old, Sonny lost two of his fingers in an accident. The therapy his father suggested started a musical career that lasted throughout his life. He wrote songs, recorded songs, and taught other aspiring musicians how to play the accordion with the help of a book he compiled. In the mid 1970's, he formed "The Choupique Ramblers" and played all over southwest Louisiana and Texas. The list of great musicians that he has played with is long. Sonny passed away on April 30, 1998 and in 2005, the Cajun French Music Association honored him as a member of the Hall of Fame.
Parker, The Legendary Bill [See Willie Parker Guidry, Jr.].
Perkins, Curry. Perkins is a fiddler from the Reeves, La. area. He learned to play from Gerald Zamost and Ken Smith. Perkins won the Louisiana State Fiddle Championship in 1989, 1992, and 1999 and has won countless competitions across the country. In addition to Bluegrass and Texas styles, Perkins also plays Irish and Scottish styles.
Phillips, Phil. [See John Phillip Baptiste].
Pitre, Austin. Pitre was born February 23, 1918 in Ville Platte, Louisiana. His parents were Joseph Vige Pitre and Marie Aliza Pitre. Pitre received his first accordion at the age of six from his father who also built a practice fiddle for him from a cigar box. Pitre bought his first real violin by selling flower and vegetable seeds. He was the first to play the accordion standing up without a strap and could play the accordion over his head, behind his back, and between his knees. By the age of 20, he had his own band called "Austin Pitre and the Evangeline Playboys." Pitre had a radio program for four years on Opelousas station KSLO. He also had a program on Eunice’s KEUN. In the late 1960s to early 1970s, he played for the "Pete Ford Hour" on KLFY television station in Lafayette. In June of 1972, Mayor James E. Sudduth of Lake Charles presented Pitre with a special award for being the first Cajun band to perform in the city’s new Civic Center. On April 8, 1981 Austin Pitre died at his home in Elton, Louisiana. He was inducted into the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in 1990.
Pitre, Herbert Ray. Born in Kinder, Louisiana, Herbert Ray Pitre began playing bluegrass at the age of eight, at bandstands across the country, winning numerous awards in the instrumental field as well. After a few years in bluegrass, Pitre went on to start his own country band and recorded his first song, “The Louisiana Waltz.” Pitre honed his musical talents by singing and playing in church. Later, Pitre won a state banjo competition. He plays the guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass, and piano. Pitre is the author of several songs and albums, including “Louisiana Waltz,” and a book, The Green Oak Boys. He is also a member of the Nashville Song Writers Association.
Poirrer, Ulysse. Poirrer is a steel guitarist who played with Tee Denise & the New Iberia Playboys, Bayou Buck Roux's, Shute Badeaux & the Louisiana Aces, and Aldus Mouton & the Wandering Aces. Poirrer wrote and sang "Stop Running Around in My Shoes" on Memories of Mama, a Danny Brasseaux & Cajun Express album. Poirrer is a member of the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame.
Potier, Ernest. Potier is a guitarist from Gueydan, Louisiana. Potier played with Russ Broussard, Donnie Broussard, Wayne Toups, Nathan Menard, Milfred Simon, Blackie Fruge, William LaBouve & the Hicks Wagon Wheel Ramblers, and Joe Simon & the Louisiana Cajuns. Potier, who died in 2005, became a member of the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame the same year
Richard, Zachary. Singer songwriter and poet, Zachary Richard was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. From 1976 until 1981, Richard lived in Montreal, recording seven French language albums. Richard returned to Louisiana in the early 1980s and began recording in English. After two albums for Rounder Records, Mardi Gras Mambo and Zack's Bon Ton, Richard signed with A&M Records, and recorded two albums, Women in the Room and Snake Bite Love. In 1995, Richard returned to French language recording, reestablishing his presence in both Canada and France. In addition to his music, Richard is a published poet. His second collection of French language poetry, "Faire Récolte," published by Les Editions Perce Neige, was awarded the Prix Champlain, in recognition to his contribution to the French language literature of North America. With illustrations by his daughter, Sarah, Richard published a children's fable, Conte Cajun. Beyond his artistic endeavors, Richard is committed to the defense of the native French language of Louisiana. He is a founding member of Action Cadienne, a volunteer organization dedicated to the promotion of the Acadian language and culture. He produced and narrated "Against the Tide", a one hour television documentary detailing the history of the Cajun people. He also participated, in collaboration with The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, in the production of "The Legacy of Labranche", a television documentary examining the history and present state of the Labranche Wetlands. In New Brunswick, Richard is involved in the effort to restore the Petit Codiac River.
Riverside Ramblers [see Hackberry Ramblers].
Rockin' Sidney [See Sidney Simien].
Roger, Aldus. Aldus Roger was the leader of the Lafayette Playboys which he formed in the mid-1940's and played the accordion. The band remained active into the 1970's. Aldus was born in 1915 in Carencro. He started playing the accordion at eight years old. His influences were his father, Lawrence Walker (cousin), and Amedee Breaux. He enjoyed a long recording career and the popularity of his band's weekly TV show. He became a member of the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in 1990.
Rozas, Dudley. Born in Pine Point, Louisiana in 1915, Rozas retired from the City of Lake Charles. He took over the Contraband Days Festival in 1967 and was appointed the first chairperson for Cajun Days. He has played music for over 74 years. Inspired by his mother, he learned to play the accordion. He taught others to play and played with many famous musicians such as The Balfa Brothers, Jimmy Newman, Abe Manuel and his sons. Rozas received several certificates to honor his commitment to Cajun music and community service. He became a member of the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in 2001.