Sunset, LA — The sun is always rising in Sunset, Louisiana, a community known for its local artisans and numerous antique shops. On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at 10am, the Town of Sunset will unveil its first public art piece, the Zydeco Rubboard. This 4×6 ft. sculpture, created by local welder Pat Miller, will be revealed on the north-west corner of Duffy Avenue and Napoleon Avenue, just off of Interstate 49.
After witnessing the success of Opelousas’ creative placemaking efforts and the public art project, Fiddle Mania, Sunset citizen, Dori Janise, was inspired to bring a rubboard to the gateway of Sunset. “Even though it’s an American instrument, the rubboard is enjoyed by artists internationally, and we welcome fans to visit Sunset from all over the world” says Janise. In fact, 15 years ago Sunset attracted Irish musician, Tony Davoren, while he was on tour with Riverdance. Tony was charmed by the town’s “hearty craft scene” and has become an active member of the community. In an effort to find an authentic rubboard as a gift for a friend in Ireland, Tony discovered the history of the famous frottoir. His research led him to Sunset resident and local craftsman, Tee-Don Landry. In 1946 Landry’s father Willie, a metal work, and the “King of Zydeco”, Clifton Chenier, together designed the first wearable rubboard. This invention is one of few instruments created entirely in the United States.
Inspired by the history of the rubboard, Tony and Dori began working toward a special proclamation for the town of Sunset. In 2014, with the assistance of then Councilman Charles James, then Senator Elbert Guillory, and former Representative Ledricka Thierry, Sunset was proclaimed the “Rubboard Capital of the World” by the Louisiana State Legislature.
Today Tee-Don continues his father’s legacy with his company, Key of Z Rubboards. His instruments are world-renown and are even on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. “I’m just so thankful for everything going on in my life. Sunset is a great little city. I know that this project will put Sunset on the map and hopefully it will bring prosperity to the city and the tourism industry,” Tee Don said. Tony is also excited about the project’s impact sharing, “Shining the light on these cool, hard-working creatives is great. There’s a lot of artists, musicians, singers, dancers, and it’s starting to attract a lot of people who want to live and be here.”
Following the unveiling, Tee-Don and his group, The Wayne Blue Burns Band, will play for a reception at the Sunset Community Center located on Leo Richard Lane. The town of Sunset invites the public to join the celebration and learn more about the Rubboard, a great American instrument and the pride of Sunset, Louisiana.
For more information about Sunset, Louisiana or tourism in St. Landry Parish, please contact The St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission (SLPTC) at 337-948-8004. SLPTC is the official destination marketing organization tasked with the purpose of promoting tourism in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. More information about SLPTC can be found at CajunTravel.com.