Support smoke-free La. with ... ping-pong?

Yes, there’s a table tennis tourney in the late-great David Egan’s honor Sunday at Warehouse 535, and it benefits a cause near and dear to his heart.

Little-known fact: David Egan, the brilliant singer-songwriter who passed away last spring after a battle with lung cancer, was a devoted ping-pong player. According to his wife, Rhonda, he was “always looking for places to play and more people to beat. He was really cocky about his skills!”

Enter the 2016 Egan Cup, a smoke-free ping-pong tournament at Warehouse 535 to benefit the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living, a coalition of clean-air and smoke-free workplace initiatives to which David was both a devotee and public face, testifying before the Legislature and the City-Parish Council in support of legislation to get smoking out of the workplace, including bars and casinos where so many Louisiana musicians — and bartenders, waitstaff and others — earn their living and are subjected to harmful second-hand smoke.

David Egan
File Photo by Robin May

“David lent his image and his own cancer story to this cause and I’m grateful to have an opportunity to continue on in his name, just as we’ll keep his memory alive by playing his music and raising funds to help his many friends in the local artist community,” says Rhonda. “Becoming involved in these projects hasn’t lessened the pain of his loss, but it does give [our son] Reuben and me a purpose in moving forward. And it makes us feel like he won’t be forgotten.”

Proceeds from the 2016 Egan Cup will benefit Tobacco-Free Living as well as the new David Egan Dreamer Fund at the Community Foundation of Acadiana. It will also be an opportunity to remember and celebrate David’s life and learn more about upcoming initiatives to promote a smoke-free Louisiana.

Participants must register by Friday, Nov. 18 for the Sunday (Nov. 20) event. A form can be downloaded (with email and other instructions) at Healthier Air For All’s Facebook page. It’s $15 to register as a competitor; $5 to attend and cheer on your friends. Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band will perform to close out the event, which begins with a 1 p.m. registration followed by the tournament at 2.

Although an ordinance to ban smoking in local bars has stalled at the City-Parish Council, the effort will no doubt be revived at some point in 2016. Bar workers and musicians are the only employees in Lafayette who are subjected to second-hand smoke in their workplace.

“It’s time to extend this kindness to the musicians and chefs, bartenders and waitstaff who form the bedrock of our local cultural economy,” Rhonda notes. “After what our family has been through, I can’t imagine not doing anything I could to help another family avoid the same fate.”

We couldn’t agree more.