Offbeat reports that Floyd's Record Shop (Louisiana's oldest record store) is closing its doors.
“Basically, we just couldn’t cut it anymore,” says owner Floyd Soileau. “The last two years have just been horrible. Like I told several people, having a record store now is like having an antique shop. I talked to the staff about six months ago and we discussed the situation. Luckily most of them are close to retirement now. We’ll start discounting product in December and keep discounting it week by week until we close. Whatever is left over we’ll auction off in January.”
This is absolutely a shame, but not an unsurprising one. Floyd's was ground zero for cajun & creole music, being in the same building as Jin and Swallow records as well as radio station KVPI, where owner Floyd Soileau worked before opening Floyd's. After years of meaning to find the opportunity, I made my pilgrimage only a few months ago in September. The building was charmingly dated, convincingly a product of its era. I couldn't wait to get inside. I was disappointed to find that the biggest slice of Louisiana history was a shelf against the wall smattered with 45 repressings of in-house labels, which given the lack of major Jin, Swallow, Maison etc recording artists, appeared to be the leftovers. This was where I spent most of my time. The rest of the store was stereo equipment and CDs, half of which were cajun, the other half assorted pop. There were about 30 LPs in all. As for any history, I was disappointed to find that there was merely a small section of cajun cookbooks etc. No plaques, no paraphernalia. I had just come from the swamp pop museum, but figured I could read some local history here. So to me, this is the saddest note of Floyd's closure: that it didn't seem to try. Perhaps I came too late? We have people fly to this state from Australia to see the Ponderosa Stomp. People are crazy about Louisiana's culture, especially music. I came to Floyd's as a cultural pilgrimage, one that I know many others have taken, and left with two 45s and a rubber alligator I thought was kinda funky. Could they not procure any used records of local artists? Why were there no represses of cajun country groups, such as the Uniques reissue Sundazed recently pressed? Why did I not see any history (pictures, articles) of a 50 year old record shop? To be honest, I'd heard descriptions of Floyd's today and set my hopes low, but upon visiting I was sad to say the reality limboed right under my expectations. In recent years, Lafayette has had successful flea market vendors selling material Floyd's should have been selling, and Rayne recently opened a new store (currently closed for building code reasons)... especially with historical name recognition, I have a hard time believing that the conditions weren't right for Floyd's to continue with a little bit of elbowgrease. And maybe that's the key here. Record stores continue to exist and even appear these days, but they never run themselves; they take a lot of blood sweat & tears from the people that run them. Maybe I overestimate the interest in cajun culture (after all Mulattes in Breaux Bridge recently closed as well). I don't know what Floyd's situation was exactly, but maybe after 50 years, more than anything, this was retiring. -- photo from here