Maglieaux's Grand Opening Friday to feature Jo-El Sonnier, Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs

Restaurant opens at 5 p.m., music begins at 7 p.m.

Maglieaux’s Downtown Grille will hold its grand opening this Friday with a free concert for its patrons. Non-dining music lovers are also welcome for a minimal $10 admission fee.

Owner John Richmond said the restaurant’s doors will open at 5 p.m.

Those in the dining area or at the restaurant’s bar at 7 p.m. will be able to enjoy Grammy-winning singer/musician Jo-El Sonnier and the 10-piece Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs band free of charge. Customers will be admitted to dine after 7 p.m. Non-dining patrons will be able to pay a nominal charge of $10 at the door to attend the event.

Richmond said the restaurant “is incredibly fortunate” to have been able to have the two Louisiana acts perform for the grand opening.

Maglieaux’s is housed in the former Red River Grill, located on Washington Street directly behind the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse.

Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs is a Natchitcohes-based showband. They performed for a crowd of 8,000 on the beach at Pensacola for a July 4th concert.

Sonnier, called the “King of Cajun” is one of the pioneers in Cajun music responsible for the genre breaking out of the Bayou State to the listening pleasure of music lovers across the nation. He won a Grammy in 2015 for Best Regional Roots Music Album for his The Legacy, which included 13 original Sonnier songs.

He said at that time that the album took “14 years to write, and a huge piece of my heart and soul went into each and every song.” He said his mission was to preserve his personal and cultural heritage in the album that he said “could be the most important project that I have ever recorded.”

The 70-year-old singer, songwriter and accordionist has been performing for over 60 years, alternating between Country and Cajun music.

He said traditional Cajun music is a dying art.

“Traditional French music is slowly fading from the music scene as the younger generation of Cajun artists are beginning to record a new style of Cajun music which leans more to the Zydeco flavor rather than the traditional Cajun French music of the old days,” Sonnier said in a 2014 interview. “This isn't a bad thing. It's just a sign of the times. And, as the younger generation speaks little to none of the old Cajun French language, fewer songs are being written in Cajun French and recorded in the old traditional style.”

Sonnier was born in Rayne, the son of Cajun French-speaking sharecroppers. He started playing accordion and singing in French when he was only 3 years old.

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