Early Cajun Musician Mayeus Lafleur
Last month, I posted about the Cajun musician Leo Soileau, who descends from Jean Bapstiste Lapaise de Vedrines and Marie de Mocharvaux’s oldest child, Marie Jeanne de Vedrines (1761-1812) and her husband Jean Baptiste Richaume Soileau 1752-1854) through their son, Godefroy Soileau Sr.
I recently discovered that his partner and other early Cajun musician
Mayeus (Maius) Lafleur also descends from the Vidrine Family. His great grandmother was Carmelite Zenon Vidrine (wife of Theodore Lafleur, Sr.), daughter of Zenon Vidrine, Sr. (1799-1869) and Marie Josephine Fontenot (1804-1876).
Mayeus (Maius) Lafleur was born on 14 August 1906 in Mamou, LA as the first child of Henri Lafleur and Zola Borque. He died on 28 October 1928 in Basile, LA. When he was 19, he married Marie Hazel Brunet on 22 April 1926 in Ville Platte, LA.
Mayeus met Marie Hazel Brunet, a young lady from Mamou, and the two fell in love but encounted objections from her parents, who felt that Mayeus would not be a suitable husband. In rural Louisiana, as in most places at that time, musicians were not highly rated as prospective sons-in-law. Mayeus and Hazel were married on 22 April 1926 by Rev. Fr. A. Viel, before two witnesses.
Despite strong objections about the marriage, Hazel’s parents J.M. and Eve Fontenot Brunet, gave the newlyweds a plot of land adjacent to their own home and they had a son. The fact that Mayeus was constantly on the go, performing wherever Leo Soileau booked them, added substance to his in-laws ojections to him. Finally they told him to leave the home he had built on the property they had given him and his wife. Their infant son had died and Mayeus and Hazel then separated. A short time later the house burned down.
Mayeus Lafleur, an accomplished Cajun musician, was killed by Kossuth Manuel on October 28, 1928, just after his 22nd birthday. According to an account of the killing published by The Weekly Gazette, the Ville Platte newspaper, he was killled in a barroom brawl, but was not involved. He had rushed forward to give help to his friend, Alexander Bellon, whom Manuel had shot when Manuel shot him. He died instantly with a bullet through his heart. His father Henri Lafleur, was also an accomplished accordian player. Mayeus and his close friend and relative, Leo Soileau, who played the fiddle, recorded their first four songs on 19 October, 1928 in Altanla, GA. It was 8 days later after returning to Ville Platte that Mayeus was shot, never having heard his records.
Mayeus visited his father and step-mother often and took an interest in his young half-brothers and sisters. Though not apparent at the time, he brooded heavily about his mother. He never spoke of her but people who knew him knew that he had a great longing to see her. Mayeus wrote one of his first songs about his mother, titled, “Mom Where You At” the words of which (in part) were:
“Oh, Mom, where are you? Dear Mom, I’d like to see you one time before I die! Oh, Mom, where are you, dear?
Oh, Mom, where are you? It hurts! I’d like to see you one time before I die! Oh, Mom, where are you, dear?”
Mayeus (Maius) Lafleur was buried in Old Ville Platte Cemetery in Ville Platte, LA in a family plot where his father (Henri), stepmother (Dina Soileau), 2 half-brothers and his grandmother (Marie Elvina Manuel Lafleur Vidrine) are buried.
This is a good post about this music: “Mama Where You At?” – Leo Soileau & Mayuse LaFleur
And this is a good account of how his tragic death: Brawl Took Life Of Cajun Musician