Coming Aug. 7, Lafayette vinyl hoarders, rarities collectors, DIY organizers, The Clash lovers, The Jam haters and liner note librarians will sound an analog fanfare celebrating the opening of Lagniappe Records in Downtown Lafayette. Not to be confused with the used vinyl shop on Dulles Drive, Lagniappe Records of Baton Rouge will bring its specialty in punk rock collectivism, Louisiana vinyl rarities and new production LPs to Jefferson Street.
Owners Tess Brunet and Patrick Hodgkins are relocating their Baton Rouge operation to Lafayette amid rising rent in the residence-cum-rock ’n’ roll-community center they've occupied for the past two years. While the move is an exciting development for the husband and wife team, and certainly one welcome to folks who mourned the loss of Raccoon Records, it's not without regret that they leave for Jefferson Street.
"We’re super heartbroken and also super excited," says Brunet. "We love that building, and we love that neighborhood, and we love that community. But from a longevity standpoint, this move made the absolute most sense to us."
Since opening in Baton Rouge in 2013, Lagniappe has set about a vigorous community outreach in the underground and independent music scene, looking to create something more than a fractured string of shows by bands coming and going from LSU. To that end Lagniappe hosted in-store performances, listening parties, record-store day events, and formed a record label arm that supported releases by now-household Baton Rouge bands like The Chambers and Loudness War. Brunet hopes to bring those same initiatives to the Lafayette music scene.
The DIY enthusiasm that abounds Brunet comes from her fundamental adoration of late ’70s and early ’80s American hardcore bands, which had a profound impact on mainstream culture in the decades to follow with the development of word-of-mouth advertising for band tours, record and tape swaps, and the convergence of subversive art and music.
While the attraction to Lafayette had cultural and financial magnetism, fundamentally Brunet believed that Lagniappe could strike the same chord in a vibrant and increasingly idiosyncratic Downtown Lafayette. From a business standpoint, vinyl sales have increased industry-wide in a time of an overall decline of physical sales. Still, the decision to go Downtown wasn't so much about foot traffic as was about feeling like the shop would belong.
"We cultivated something really cool in Baton Rouge. I strongly believe that. It's genuinely palpable thing," says Brunet. "Moving to Lafayette is adding another element, being sandwiched in between a skateboard shop and a yoga studio and across the street from a badass screen printing place. It’s all those things. So many intangibles."
Lagniappe will see its final day in Baton Rouge on July 26, a little less than two weeks before its opening day at 313 Jefferson St., between Rukus Skate Shop and The Lafayette Center For Yoga.