Is there anyone in south Louisiana who hasn’t heard a Broussard sing?
It’s doubtful — this large, musically talented family has been entertaining locally since the 1950s, not to mention previous generations long before that. Their musical history reaches far into our past and their following continues to grow, with another generation stepping up to continue the legacy.
But on one Saturday night, it was all about Grace Broussard, the “Queen of Swamp Pop” who recently celebrated her 80th birthday.
Hosted by the Moonlight Inn in French Settlement, the crowd gathered early in the afternoon and rocked into the evening as various musicians — most of them related to the Broussard family — played all the old standards that never seem old in south Louisiana.
Also in attendance was Henry Broussard of the popular duo “Henry and Mitch.” Henry, who was also celebrating his recent 78th birthday, continues to play weekly in venues around Livingston and Ascension parishes.
It was an exciting afternoon as local legend — and Grace’s brother — Van Broussard showed up to toast his siblings. Occasions to see the family perform together are rare and special, resulting in an exceptionally large crowd of all ages joyfully jitterbugging across the wooden dance floor.
Van and Grace were backed by siblings Henry Broussard on keyboard and vocals, Tootsie Broussard Carnahan on vocals, Arthur Broussard of the Backyard Band on guitar and vocals, and Chookie Broussard on keyboard. Van’s son, Sidney Broussard, played the trumpet while cousin Wayne Broussard worked the saxophone.
Other local artists playing included Mitch Hughes on guitar, Stacey Sibley on guitar, Shawn Stevens on saxophone and Hoyt Cuti on keyboards.
When not on stage, Van and Grace graciously held court in a corner, smiling for photos and signing autographs for those lined up for a chance to extend a “happy birthday” or “hello.”
So perhaps we should all redefine what it means to be 80. Grace Broussard, we’re leaving it all up to you.