“Sarge”

Sarge
WRITTEN BY: F.D. LEONE

He bought this here Texaco with a V.A. loan
Built this business all alone
And would hire any vet that come along
Who knew cars
He got his stripes in Vietnam
That’s where he learned to make a motor hum
You can ask most anyone
‘Bout Sarge

He hired me cause he knowed my dad
He was the closest to one I’ve had
He  kept me from goin’ bad
And outta the bars
He told me, “boy you better stay in school,
‘Cause I sure can’t use a fool
And every job’s got one right tool”
Well that was Sarge

I can still see him with his sleeves rolled up
Under the hood he’s got a crew cut
Chewing on the butt
Of a ten cent cigar
A person has gotta be made of wood
Not to feel a sense of botherhood
Once they’ve stood
Next to Sarge

When we’d see a car with special plates
The POWs and MIAs
I see a look come across his face
Something from the war
He’d say, “son, keep your seat
You best leave this one to me”
Then he’d fill the tank for free
Well that was Sarge

I can still see him with his sleeves rolled up …

I could talk all day and never get it right by Sarge

© 2017 Frank David Leone, Jr/Electric Mule Music/Warner Music (BMI)

“D.W.”

D.W.
WRITTEN BY: F.D. LEONE

D.W. Washington works for Mike Broussard
Mike was his sergeant from the war
More than forty years they been best friends
D.W.’s from Detroit, moved to Vivian

Vivian ain’ got four thousand people there
But it’s big compared to Ida or Belcher
Louisiana Redbud Vivian celebrates
Every March with a parade and pancakes

Big hearts in a small town
Big hearts beatin’ on and on
Town’s bigger while they are around
Smaller when they’re gone

Vivian’s called th’ “Heart of the ArkLaTex”
Just a little town without ’nuff paychecks
Named for a KCS executive’s daughter
Like Mena, Arkansas or DeRidder

Mike owns a filling station and auto shop
Mike works on th’ cars, D.W. works the pump
Friday D.W. goes to Bossier, gets drunk
Monday, Mike rolls by and gets him up

Big hearts in a small town …

D.W. Washington works for Mike Broussard
Mike was his sergeant in the war

© 2017 Frank David Leone, Jr./Highway 80 Music (ASCAP)

“Hosston to Bastrop”

Hosston to Bastrop (Still Louisian’)
WRITTEN BY: F.D. LEONE

I used to make my livin’ drivin’ a log truck
Hauling timber for the pulp paper mill
Take Highway 2 Hosston to Bastrop
Double back and unload at Springhill

The paper mill shut down, jobs all dried up
That stink it made, naw we sure don’t miss
Hear they gonna bring in a cross tie plant
Now we can smell them creosote pits

A case of Jax on a Friday night
Fill a washtub with crawfish and ice
We sure like get drunk and try to dance
We may be way up north but it’s still Louisian’

Gets real hot ’round here in the summer
August heat will melt that asphalt
Didn’t even hurt Randy Boucher when he got run’d over
His head was hard, th’ road was soft

Like to take my truck out One-Fifty-Seven
Stop at the Shongaloo Dairy Cup
Three-Seventy-One to Coushatta, then One to Powhatan
Just drive around where my daddy grew up

A case of Jax on a Friday night
Fill a washtub with crawfish and ice
We sure like get drunk and try to dance
We may be way up north but it’s still Louisian’

Nancy Broussard got her fiddle and bow
Someone gave a washboard to Betsy Thibodaux
We sure like get drunk and try to dance
We may be way up north but it’s still Louisian’

Continue reading “Hosston to Bastrop”

Mike “Sarge” Broussard

Mike “Sarge” Broussard  (1936-2014).  Great-great grandson of Coleman Broussard (1842-1910).  Born and lived entire life in Vivian, Louisiana except for the period when he was in the service (1968-1970). Served in the Vietnam War, honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant.  Owned filing station/auto repair shop in Vivian.  Has a daughter, Eva Broussard.

Mike comes from an old Louisianan Cajun family that first settled in Natchitoches, Louisiana in the late 18th century.  Later the family made its way north to Shreveport, then Vivian.  Coleman Broussard, MIke’s great-great-grandfather, was the cousin of Levi Motts who died during the Civil war, at the Battle of Mansfield, leaving behind his pregnant fiancée, Ruby Robison.  Coleman decides to ask Ruby to marry, a proposal she accepts, in order to legitimize his cousin’s child and they go on to have several more children.  These were Mike’s direct ancestors.

The Acadians, who descended from sturdy French peasant stock, originated during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in a colony known as Acadia in the present-day Canadian province of Nova Scotia. By the time Acadia fell to British control in 1713, the Acadians had become a close-knit, clannish, and culturally distinct group of French-speaking folk who had fashioned their own identity. But once the Acadians became British subjects, and for decades thereafter, they experienced continuing problems with their British overlords. In an effort to end these difficulties, Great Britain began a forced exportation program after the Acadians refused to take oaths of allegiance. The authorities relocated thousands of Acadians against their will in various colonies, including those of the Atlantic coast and the Caribbean. This mass movement, known in Acadian history as the dérangement, separated entire families.

cajun dispersion map

The migrating Acadians did not arrive in Louisiana as their initial destination, but some of them eventually found their way to the lower Mississippi from other New World colonies to which they had been exiled by the British. Thousands of Acadians arrived in Louisiana during the 1770s and 1780s. The Spanish government provided them with material assistance in establishing their farms. Most of the Acadians settled to the west of the Mississippi River in the bayou areas along the southwestern prairie. There they soon developed a unique rural lifestyle based on hunting and farming. The French inhabitants already in the colony shunned them, most likely because the Acadians appeared to them as unsophisticated and simple folk. These Acadians became the forebears of today’s Louisiana Cajuns.

Mike Broussard enlisted in the army during the Vietnam war and rose to the rank of sergeant.  He was good with cars and was assigned to the transport unit and served with distinction.  After the war he came back to Louisiana and opened a Texaco filling station and repair shop, which he ran for over forty years.

 

He had one daughter, Eva, with whom he became estranged but not because of anything he did.  However, he never knew his granddaughter.

Sarge lived a long and productive life, consistently honoring the service of military vets, dying in 2014.

D.W. Washington

Dwight Wayne Washington was born and spent his early life in Detroit, Michigan. He was drafted into the Army in 1964 when he turned 18 and was sent to Vietnam.  Eventually he was assigned to the 515th Transportation Company in Cam Ranh Bay under Sergeant Mike Broussard.  Here he learned just about all there was to know about repairing cars and motors.

D.W. Washington2

 

Instead of going back to Detroit, D.W. decided to move to Vivian and continued to work for Mike in his filling station and auto repair shop for the next 40 years.  D.W. and Mike were best friends despite D.W.’s tendency to get drunk most weekends forcing Mike to drive by his house on Monday morning and get him up for another week of work.

D.W. died in 2007 shortly before his 61st birthday from congestive heart failure.

Eva Broussard

Eva Broussard was a troubled girl from a very young age.  Her parents worried about her spending long periods secluded in her room and not hearing a sound from behind her door.

They never knew about her intense love of books.  Yes, they knew she liked to read, and would take her to the library as often as she asked.  But they had no clear grasp of the kind of books she liked to read.  For example, she read and re-read Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.”  In fact, she kept the book hidden under her bed, never returning it to the library.  She claimed that a boy threw the book out of the bus window while they were on the Red River bridge.  She saved her baby-sitting money and paid the library what they said she owed.

You could say Eva was precocious, sexually mature for her age.  She got herself pregnant before she was sixteen and decided to have the baby, a boy, whom she chose to name Colt.

Eva ran away when Colt was barely one year old, leaving the child to be raised by his grandparents, Mike and Ellen Broussard.  But after Eva’s marriage to Tully Tate, she brought the boy to live with her in Mobile, Alabama.

Eva and Tully also had twin girls a few years later.  Throughout these early years of her marriage, Eva would run off from time to time, forcing Tully to find her and bring her back, only to run off again a few weeks later.

Finally, Tully just gave up on her and let Eva go.

Vivian, Louisiana

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Vivian is a town in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, United States and is home to the Red Bud Festival. The population was 3,671 at the 2010 census, down from 4,031 in 2000.

Vivian is fifty miles from Texarkana, and that was about as close as you could get and still be in Louisiana. Vivian [is] surrounded by the smaller towns of Rodessa, Ida, Oil City, Belcher, Gilliam, and Hosston. Vivian was the ‘urban center’ where citizens from the smaller towns came to shop, go to the movies, join in the excitement of city life as it was. For local residents, Vivian was the hub of the universe. At least it was the ‘Heart of the ArkLaTex,’ as folks down there liked to claim.