Two local recording studios among victims of deluge

by Nick Pittman

Drums in standing water at Dockside Studio in Maurice Nails

For generations, Louisiana’s natural beauty has inspired her people to create art — in both visual and auditory means. But just as she gives, she takes away. And in return, her children sing odes to the suffering we face living so close to the brink. Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927” is the most well-known of these examples, but BeauSoleil’s “L’Ouragan,” Roddie Romero & The Hub City All-Stars’ “It Ain’t Easy” and “Gulf Stream” and a slew of post-Katrina and -Rita dirges and hymns also populate this list. The flood of 2016 will be no different.

Yet, where there is creativity there is also the undeniable truth that Louisiana does not play favorites, even when it comes to those who make up her playlist. Two local studios from opposite ends of every spectrum — one hidden away in rural Vermilion and catering to roots music, the other in a Lafayette suburb and vital to recording its alternative and hip-hop sounds — were both hit by the flood waters that stared to rise on Aug. 12.

A Hammond B-3 organ saved from the rising water at Dockside Nails

Dockside Studios is a multi-building compound on the banks of the Vermilion River in Maurice that has been the site of eight Grammy-winning projects and has a client list that includes Sonny Landreth, Scarlett Johansson, Arcade Fire, B.B, King, Dr. John, GIVERS and many more well-known artists who were drawn to the studio’s renown Neve recording consoles.

After seeing social media posts by its owner Cezanne “Wish” Nails and her son Dylan pulling consoles out of the darkened studio — in un-airconditioned spaces she said smelled like turtles — Dave Nezat put together a crew of musicians to help her and her husband Steve.

“Dockside is so important to not only the musicians of Acadiana, but to musicians around the world. We can not let a three-day storm take that away from us,” says Nezat, reporting that Dockside took two feet of water in some places. Nezat also jokes he was being selfish, as his band Doublewide is set to record their second record at the studio. “So, we have to get it resurrected.”

In Lafayette, Paul Broussard shares his home with his Leap Recording Studio. Broussard woke up to a squishy carpet — making him at first think that he spilled a drink — and a shock from his wet phone still plugged into its charger. With two to three feet of water and a loss to both household and studio items, the damage is in the $30,000 range.

Just like the ebb and flow of Louisiana’s feisty climate, both Leap and Dockside look to be back. Broussard estimates to be down for upwards of three months. In the meantime, he hopes to record in other studios and has established a Go Fund Me account to offset his losses. Nezat estimates that it could take a month to get Dockside back in shape.

“We hope to be up and running soon,” says Broussard, “because we love recording great music.”