The Marks Post: Les chiens jappes pas
It was in late August of 2005 when I first started going to 210 St. Joseph St. for one of J.L. Brignac’s every other Wednesday night supper. I remember we were glued to the TV that night watching Hurricane Katrina churn toward the Gulf Coast.
The following January is when I started going for the AFC and NFC Championship games and for the Super Bowl. About a year later, I started going to J.L.’s every other Sunday for our fantasy football suppers. Then years later was when I started going to suppers there every Wednesday.
Over the years, I heard all the stories about things that would go on at J.L.’s house. Take for example this classic when he couldn’t find his dog, Lucy, years ago on Christmas. His family then arrived at his house, and they all started looking for Lucy. His mom, Hazel, sat down on the sofa later in the day and heard a whimper. They unfolded the sofa bed, and there was Lucy.
The best story about his house has to do with the saga between him and the new women delivery drivers for The Advocate. The saga went on for months and months. He would come to work at the clerk’s office and start fussing because he didn’t get his paper. Then he’d call his neighbor Preston Aucoin and start fussing in French. I vividly remember him screaming out on the phone, “Les chiens jappes pas,” which means “the dogs didn’t bark.”
Anyway, the new drivers went deliver his paper midway through a Saturday morning. He came around the corner of his house wearing shorts, no shirt, and a hat. He had blood coming down his arms and was holding a hammer in one hand and knife in the other because he had just finished killing a chicken. He then started screaming at the drivers to stop because he wanted to talk to them. They took one site at him and peeled off because they were so scared, and they hit his dog as they were driving off. The dog, however, was fine after that.
I experienced one of the stories first hand when I went to see about his chickens while J.L. and his family were on vacation at the beach. I got to his house and saw all the chickens in the tree. I don’t know much about chickens, but I know they usually don’t belong in the tree. I realized later they were in the tree because a chicken hawk was flying around plucking off one chicken at a time.
J.L. ended up shooting the chicken hawk with his dad’s old shotgun. I wish I could have been there to watch that, but I am convinced he fed us the chicken hawk on the following Wednesday night.
Weeks later, I was with my family at Disney World, and I had a juicy summer cold. We were taking the bus back from Downtown Disney to our hotel one night when I was hopped up on cold medicine. I was so hopped up that I loudly started telling my sister Haley the story about the chicken hawk. I’m sure all the other people on the bus were thinking “what the heck is this guy talking about?”
I mentioned all this because I went to his house last week for a big 4th of July get-together. His brother, Zig, and sister-in-law, Mitzi, bought his house after he died and did a lot of work. They turned the summer kitchen into a patio area, turned the winter kitchen into the only kitchen in the house, turned the computer area into a bathroom, and turned the formal kitchen into a sewing room. You read that right. J.L.’s house was the only one of its kind with three kitchens.
As Zig was giving me the tour of the house, I felt a little funny because the house looked so different and because memories started flooding back.
I made the comment that J.L. is turning over in his grave knowing all the work that was done to his house. Mitzi replied that he was haunting the house. She said she kept hearing a knock at the new door leading to her she-shed. By the time she would get to the door, nobody was there. That went on at night for a couple months. Logic says it was probably the house settling in after all the work was done, but Sally Baquin confirmed such a haunting while at the house on the 4th of July. She was with Mitzi in the kitchen one day and heard a big knock, but nobody was there.
These alleged ghost stories just add to the many other stories about J.L. and his house. I keep saying I am going to sit down and turn a lot of them into a book. Maybe one day I will. One title I have floating around in my head is none other than “Les chiens jappes pas.”