Amede Ardoin, one of the first known Creole musicians, was known for his high, expressive voice and his accordion that he carried around like a sack of flour. He may have been the first to record Louisiana’s Cajun music.
Rumors have it that one day, after attending a dance in Eunice, Louisiana, he was attacked by white men leaving him crippled with severe brain damage. Another story, told by his family and friends, says that he was run over by a Model A car, which crushed his head and throat, damaging his vocal cords. He was found the next day, lying in a ditch.
According to Canray Fontenot, a Creole fiddle player, Ardoin “went plumb crazy” and “didn’t know if he was hungry or not. Others had to feed him. He got weaker and weaker until he died.” Many people doubt the authenticity of the story. Other versions say that Ardoin was poisoned, not beaten, possibly by a jealous fellow musician.
At his death at the age of 44 in 1942, he was Case No. 13387 in the state psychiatric hospital, destined for an anonymous burial.
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