Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Mischievous Child: The Ghost of Nash’s Restaurant

Nash's Restaurant
Excerpted from “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” by Cheré Dastugue Coen, published by The History Press and available in bookstores.

             Nash’s Restaurant in Broussard serves up fine Creole dishes, whether inside the elegant Victorian home or on the enclosed veranda that skirts the entire front of the house. It was the perfect lunch spot for a mini family reunion when my sister visited and my niece celebrated a birthday, so along with my mother and me, we made a lively foursome. And because the beautiful old home is, well, old, we decided to inquire if there were any family members lingering behind.
            Our waitress smiled knowingly. She’s had a few experiences, she said, and so have other members of the staff. Mostly waitresses hear their names being called or items moving about unexpectedly. In the women’s bathroom once, our waitress witnessed the hand dryer turning on twice without cause.
            The activity is playful and harmless, she insisted, like that of a precocious child. It could be that of young Edmond Comeaux.
            The Victorian-style house with a wraparound porch and an onion-shaped cupola was built around 1908 for Edmond Joseph Comeaux and his wife, Cecile Lena St. Julien. Inside is a gracious staircase leading to the second floor, fireplaces and an exquisite bar area. Comeaux operated a mercantile in town and served as postmaster of Broussard. The couple had one child, Walter St. Julien Comeaux, who married Carmen Emilie Labbe. Walter Comeaux and his wife had eight children, one of whom was Edmund Joseph Comeaux II.
Edmund Comeaux at Nash's Restaurant
            The restaurant is currently owned by Nash Barreca, a third-generation restaurateur from New Orleans. According to “The Haunted Table” by Simonette Berry in the October 2011 issue of Our Louisiana magazine, his wife, Jenny, chalked up the paranormal activity in the restaurant to the mischievous child “Edmond.”
            “He died in the home of a fever when he was only four, according to his brother Mr. Walter, the previous owner,” Berry writes.
            Jenny Barreca has witnessed chairs moving and glass breaking of their own accord and the sounds of a child running up and down the hallway laughing, according to the article.
            “Both customers and wait staff have encountered him, and a few have even seen him,” she is quoted as saying.
            Visitors to Nash’s Restaurant can catch a firm glimpse of the boy — his portrait hangs in the hallway.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Tour of Historic Acadiana,” both published by The History Press.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Haunted Lafayette at Lafayette Barnes & Noble!

"Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana," is now available at Barnes & Noble, 5707 Johnston St. in Lafayette. I'll be doing a booksigning there from noon to 1 p.m. on Oct. 26!

Cheré Coen is an award-winning travel writer specializing in the Deep South. She is the author of "Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History," "Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana" and "Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana" and co-author of "Magic's in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets." She also writes Louisiana romances under Cherie Claire, including "A Cajun Dream" and "The Letter." Write her at

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Spirited Happenings: Book events this fall

            The following are fall 2013 book events for “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana”:
            Sept. 14, 2013: Cheré will sign copies of her books at the annual Master Gardeners’ PlantFest from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Lafayette Horse Farm. She will be part of the Writers’ Guild of Acadiana table, which will also host several authors signing books, including Christee Atwood, Sudie Landry, Nancy Rust, Rosemary Smith, Sue Schleifer and Carol Stubbs.
            Sept. 19, 2013: Chere, who has also co-authored "Magic's in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets" with Jude Bradley, will demonstrate how to create Intention Bags from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, at Earth-N-Herbs of Grand Coteau, Louisiana. Workshop materials, including bags and herbs, will be provided. Fee: $20. To register, call (337) 662-4022.
            Sept. 21, 2013: Chere will sign copies of “Haunted Lafayette” and other books from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at Wild Birds Unlimited in Lafayette, part of the Hummingbird Day celebration. Hey, birds like ghost tales too!
            Oct. 12, 2013: The Writers’ Guild of Acadiana will be on hand with authors, including Cheré reading and signing “Haunted Lafayette,” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at J&R Educational Supplies, 3123 Johnston St., Lafayette.
            Oct 17, 2013: Cheré will sign books and read from “Haunted Lafayette” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at Café Joie de Vivre in Breaux Bridge. Special guests may be there too!
            Oct. 26, 2013: Cheré will sign “Haunted Lafayette” from noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at Barnes & Noble, Lafayette, along with author Camilla Hunt Cole who will sign her paranormal novel, “Long Shadows.”
            Later, Cheré joins mediums Vicky Cormier and Allyson Glynn Schram and Traiteur Becca Begnaud for a “Coffee, Tea and Spirit” discussion from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Little Big Cup in Arnaudville, Louisiana. The talk will be followed by a booksigning.
            Oct. 30, 2013: Cheré will tell Lafayette's ghost stories from the book at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, at Carpe Diem Gelato & Espresso Bar in downtown Lafayette, as part of Voices in Fall literary series.
            Nov. 2, 2013: Cheré will appear at the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge.

            Check back for updates to the schedule. We add things constantly.