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.