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

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    Boozoo Chavis

Click here for high res photos posted on Flickr.

When Herman Fuselier interviewed Boozoo Chavis in the Heritage Tent at the Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Festival on September 2, 2000, the interview was taped for broadcast on Acadiana Open Channel in Lafayette. The original plan for this web page was to obtain the tape and use it to include a few direct quotations from Boozoo. Maybe it was Boozoo's denunciation from the main stage later in the day of anyone trying to video him (a policy he always maintained, as was his right), or maybe something else intervened, but the tape never became available from the cable channel. However, here are a few highlights of some time spent under the small, crowded tent, listening to Boozoo let everyone know, in no uncertain terms, exactly where he stood on just about anything.

Wearing  his Stetson hat with his badge proclaiming himself the "King of Zydeco," he told the crowd that, even though he wore the badge, or even if he were to wear a crown, what really mattered was what was inside his head, not any outside adornments. And, as he gestured toward his temple, it was clear to everyone that he was right: his self-assurance, his force of personality, and his commitment to his music made him the king.

Referring to new trends in Zydeco (and obviously to a Houston musician who would be speaking in the Heritage Tent later that afternoon), Boozoo dismissed departures from traditional styles as "zyde-rap."  Asked who he thought was doing the best job of carrying on the tradition of Creole and  Zydeco music, he praised Geno Delafose, and also said that he was impressed by Jeffery Broussard, who, when he wants to, can play in the old style. Boozoo even said he wanted to find a fiddle player to add to his own band to revive a sound that has almost vanished from Zydeco.

Among those in the crowd were a number of other musicians, including Lawrence Ardoin and Ed Poullard, who had performed earlier in the day, and JoJo Reed, who wrote the song "I Got It from Boo."

Boozoo Chavis brought to the Heritage Tent stage a reputation for being independent, feisty, maybe ornery. He lived up to that reputation, but, beyond that, he demonstrated that he possessed an uncompromising integrity evident in everything that he did in his life.

Go to the first page on Boozoo.

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All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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