Students learn Louisiana culture at Cecil Picard Elementary

Jessie Broussard has been busy teaching her students all about Louisiana culture. From its history to its people to even the state bird, tree and drink, they’ve learned what makes the state unique.

But one of the most remarkable features of Louisiana culture already runs thick in the blood of one of her first graders.
Collin Broussard is a big fan of the accordian, one of the staples of Cajun music, and he’s been learning the instrument since he was less than two years old.

“I hadn’t gotten my grandfather’s accordion out since college,” Collin’s father, Travis, said. “It had been about six or seven years. The moment I did, though, Collin walked over to it and just grabbed it.

“I thought ‘Oh this is cute, he wants to play,’” the boy’s father added with a chuckle. “But he was not going to let me have it back.”

On Friday, Collin played in front of his classmates at Cecil Picard Elementary in Maurice. They were watching intently, even clapping at times, as he played “The Back Door” by Erath native D.L. Menard, Collin’s favorite song to play.

“I learned it pretty quick,” the six-year-old said.

At six years old, Collin’s been playing for four years, graduating from his great-grandfather’s accordion to a newer one. “When he gets a little bigger,” Travis said, “he’ll be getting a Martin accordion.”

That’s the same type of accordion played by his favorite artist, Hunter Hayes.

“He used to sit in front of my laptop for hours watching Hunter Hayes videos,” Travis said. Collin’s mom, Stacy, added that Collin would imitate the movements and gestures he saw on the screen.

“He learns really quickly,” Stacy added. “He can do it by ear. It’s really something special. He really just picks it up quick.”
Right now, Collin is practicing with Drew Simon, the drummer and accordion player for a group who performs locally, Low Maintenance. And, sometimes during those performances, Collin will play on stage with them.

“I really like playing in front of people,” Collin said. “I like it when they enjoy the music.”

Sure, as a first grader, he’s not too chatty on the subject of performing in front of crowds. Even performing in front of classmates and teachers, he had a little shyness about him. But, as musicians do when the music starts, he was soon lost in it, matching his notes with the ones played over the speaker connected to his dad’s phone.

“He just played at the Omelette Festival, too,” Stacy said. For that performance, he joined Simon and a fiddle player.

Travis and Stacy are very proud of their son, who is very into the art. It’s an instrument passed down through his father’s family.

“He’s already better than I am,” Travis said with a chuckle.


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