Archive Files of Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco Musicians
Posted between 1999 and 2008

musicsm.GIF (1888 bytes)

Zydeco Jam 
at Marcel Fontenot's 190 Muffler Shop

Click here for original resolution versions of photos posted on Flickr.
190jam7.jpg (26080 bytes)

190jam2.jpg (22052 bytes)

190jam5.jpg (20192 bytes)

190jam6.jpg (18634 bytes)

190jam9.jpg (18470 bytes)

Note: Marcel Fontenot died in an accident in November 2005. It is through people like Marcel Fontenot that the traditions of Creole music have been preserved, so his untimely death is a major loss. With his death, the jam sessions (described below from October 2002) came to an end.

Every other Tuesday night, Marcel Fontenot's 190 Muffler Shop in Basile echoes with the sounds of Zydeco and Creole music played by veteran musicians, front porch musicians, young musicians, and anyone else who passes by and wants to join in. Sometimes, Keith Frank, Willis Prudhomme, and other zydeco greats take part. On the rainy night in October 2002 when these photos were taken, the session featured old-style Creole music performed by Morris Ardoin, the oldest son of the legendary Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin. He is best known as a fiddle player, but at the jam session, he also played accordion with Dennis Stroughmatt from Illinois on fiddle. Stroughmatt, who has his own group in Illinois but who also plays with both Cajun and Creole Louisiana musicians, offered a dazzling display of the fiddling skills that he learned from  fiddlers like Canray Fontenot, Faren Serrette, and Bill McGee (one of Dennis McGee's sons). In recent years, Stroughmatt has performed with Sheryl Cormier and with Morris and Dexter Ardoin.

Clarence LeDay Jr. (son of the Creole guitarist) and his son Clarence LeDay III also played accordion at the session. Happy Prudhomme was on bass, and Stacey Ardoin stopped by to play guitar part of the evening. Rayfield Lavergne played rubboard, and, for much of the evening, Marcel Fontenot himself was on drums.

There was no mike stand, but, not to worry–Marcel Fontenot brought out a dolly that he rents in his sideline U-Haul business and attached the mike to it.

As the evening progressed, a few friends stopped by to enjoy old time songs like "Quo faire" and "Jongle moi." Meanwhile, the gumbo was cooking so that it would be ready to serve when the session was winding down after 10 p.m.

For many years, Marcel Fontenot held the jam sessions weekly but a few years back switched to every other week.  In addition to serving as a center for jam sessions, the 190 Muffler Shop has also been a recording studio: Morris and Dexter Ardoin recorded some of the cuts for their 2000 CD at the shop.

Those who think of music as primarily a commercial enterprise expect to find it in clubs or at concerts, usually performed from a stage that separates the musicians from the audience. In Southwest Louisiana, though, music is part of everyday life for many people. They play music together at home, at informal gatherings, or on a Tuesday evening at a muffler shop in Basile. 

190jam1.jpg (27913 bytes)

190jam10.jpg (20546 bytes)

190jam11.jpg (14981 bytes)

190jam3.jpg (19068 bytes)

190jam4.jpg (24735 bytes)

Posted 1-21-03

All photographs and text by David Simpson.

Return to the Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco Music Home Page.