Posts Tagged With: martin accordions


“We were Cajuns when Cajun wasn’t cool,” said Mrs. Floyd Sonnier, above. “My husband was a fierce Cajun. “Floyd (now deceased) was known as the artist of the Cajuns. As a child, he picked up bits of charcoal from the fires and drew with them. Pen, ink, and charcoal brought to life the people and places he loved.

His grandparents above…his daughter as a child below. He published two books and has a website:

Clarence Junior Martin is a famous accordion maker. He builds 150 a year, his nearest competitor and friend, Mark Savoy builds 26 and the next guy builds 7.   He was making accordions when accordion wasn’t cool, that is, anywhere but Cajun Country. His daughter Penny, explained how embarrassed people would be, and the flak and teasing they took because they played an “outdated” instrument! Shucks, now the small accordions Martin makes, (which sell for $2400 and up) are the centerpiece instrument of  Cajun and Zydecko Bands. Its called a melodeon and is most closely related to a harmonica. It arrived in Southern Louisiana with the German immigrants in the 1800’s. A former builder and cabinet maker, Martin started building accordions and never looked back.

Martin’s daughter, Penny is a school principle by day and plays guitar, triangle, and bass with the family.  Martin plays his favorite, steel guitar. “I can’t compete with my grandson, (on accordion) he’s better than me,” he proudly claims. Raised around his grandfather’s shop all his life,  Joel wasn’t interested in accordion until age 7.  He suddenly discovered its appeal when a kid his age was playing with one. Joel has two CD’s out and has written a couple songs.   ( Joel’s father, recently deceased, also played in the family band.)

Most of the great Cajun bands, (like Richard LeBouef above)  can be seen using  Martin accordions with his signature crawfish on the bellows. Don’t miss Martin Accordions if you visit Lafayette.

Another cool place was the only Borden’s retail ice cream shop in the United States. We stopped for a cool scoop because, Borden’s was always cool!

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Lafayette, Louisiana Day – 2 (Great Cajun Music Video enclosed)

Jim says:

And what a great day it was!

Mary and I spent another day wandering around Lafayette, Louisiana. For me, two of the places we visited made my day. The first was a visit to Martin Accordions where they have made making and repairing accordions for 28 years. We chatted with the owner Clarence “Junior” Martin who was alone in the shop. He spent about 30 minutes with us answering our questions about the history of his family and the accordion shop.


He makes about 150 accordions a year and they sell for between $2,400 and $2,700 depending on your desired options. He is the top producer of the about 26 accordion manufacturers in Southern Louisiana.


After-wards Mary and I found the only Bordon’s Ice Cream Shop remaining in the United States and enjoyed a nice ice cream treat.


At 5:00 PM we returned to Martin Accordions for a 1.5 hour program by the Martin Family about the History of Cajun Music and the workings of their instruments. Clarence was there and played the steel and acoustic guitar. His daughter Penny played the bass guitar and triangle. His grandson Joel played several different accordions and the acoustic guitar and sang the songs in French. They are all very talented musicians and for 22 years old, Joel plays a mean accordion!


As a special treat just for you, I made a video for your enjoyment and to give to a tiny little taste of the music we enjoyed here.

To see the other 26 photos I took, click this link…

Here’s the Martin Accordion Website link…

If you are ever in the Lafayette, Louisiana area, don’t miss a visit to Martin Accordions! They’re located at 2143 West Willow Street Extension in Scott, Louisiana.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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