Builder: Edward Poullard
Beaumont's Ed Poullard makes accordions so that his family's heritage could be handed down.
Poullard was born in Eunice, La., in 1952. Nine months later he moved with his family to Beaumont, where the oil industry was growing and jobs were to be had. John Poullard Sr. worked for the county as an equipment operator and truck driver.
His father was one of the best accordion players around, Ed Poullard said. Three uncles and his late brother, Danny Poullard, also played.
Ed Poullard learned to play the music by watching his father. No private lessons or music camps like there are now.
"Before I ever tried to play a song, I knew every note in my head, how it was supposed to sound," Poullard said.
His first instrument was the drums and then the guitar, and then he picked up the accordion and fiddle.
"I've been following in musical footsteps ever since I was a little kid," Poullard said.
For years, Poullard earned a reputation, playing the fiddle and accordion in competitions and bands. He also has worked for 27 years in a plant now owned by Lucite International.
In addition to music, Poullard was a dedicated woodworker who had worked as a cabinet maker. Danny Poullard was the first person to suggest he combine the two interests by making accordions.
It was a music called "traditional French music," or Creole music, that predated zydeco. As his father performed it, the songs were in the French spoken by Creole and Cajun Louisianans, and the instruments usually included an accordion.
"It was whatever they could get," Poullard remembered. "A lot of times it was an accordion or fiddle or maybe a washboard or someone beating on a book or something."
But about four years ago, Poullard decided to start crafting not just the music of his family history but also the wood, bellows and reeds of an actual accordion.
"There were no Creoles building these instruments," Poullard said.
The detailed work required was frustrating, he said.
"This is a pretty complicated little box," Poullard said. "If this is not functional or operational to do what it is designed to do, all you have is a box."
As a musician and woodworker, Poullard was also concerned that making intricate wood cuts would be dangerous.
"I was afraid to lose my fingers," he said.
951 Hillebrandt Road,
Beaumont Texas, 77705.