LOREAUVILLE — Hundreds of mourners donning yellow ribbons spilled into the aisles of St. Joseph’s Church on Tuesday afternoon to pay final respects to longtime community servant and three-term Mayor Al Broussard, who was killed in a head-on collision Friday evening.
Twenty-six police cars and three firetrucks led his funeral procession beneath a massive U.S. flag suspended above the road leading to All Saints Mausoleum, where Broussard, 65, was laid to rest four days after the two-car collision that left his fiancée, city clerk Phyllis Savoy, 62, hospitalized with critical injuries.
The couple that evening had just finished hosting Broussard’s annual Good Friday crawfish boil with family and friends.
“I find it exceedingly comforting and affirming that God chose Good Friday — the day of His own passing from Earth to heaven — to take Al,” the Rev. Buddy Breaux told the mourners.
Breaux then disclosed something he learned from Savoy: that Broussard was discussing the passion of Jesus Christ at the moment of the crash.
“What could be more affirming than that?” Breaux asked.
Like Breaux, residents remember Broussard as a generous, honorable man with a love for family, the outdoors and the Iberia Parish community of Loreauville, where he was an alderman for 24 years before being elected mayor.
“His reach went further than the community,” Leleux’s Pharmacy owner Gail Leleux said.
She recounted the last time she saw him, on Thursday afternoon, when he attended her surprise retirement party at the Main Street pharmacy she’s owned since 1976.
“He was really a good man. I think there’s gonna be a void without him,” Leleux said.
Broussard is also remembered as a regular at The Corner Grocery, another Main Street business. Manager Linda Derouen said the mayor visited the store almost daily.
He had been there the morning of the accident to buy food for his crawfish boil, Derouen said. And she recalled passing the accident scene that evening as a medical helicopter was landing, only to hear news a half-hour later of Broussard and Savoy’s involvement.
“It’s just so hard to believe,” Derouen said. “You couldn’t have asked for a better person in this world. He was a great man. Very kind-hearted, soft-spoken. He will be missed very much.”
State Police are still investigating the accident, in which a 13-year-old is accused of yanking the steering wheel of a 2006 Dodge Ram truck before it crossed the centerline on La. 86 and collided head-on with Savoy’s 2013 Ford Mustang.
The truck’s driver, 34-year-old Forrest Simon, and his 26-year-old passenger, Catherine Derouen, were cited for not wearing seat belts. Derouen and the juvenile were treated at area hospitals following the collision.
The juvenile was cited on a count of obstruction to driver’s views or driving mechanism, although additional charges could be filed at a later date, State Police said.
Mayor Pro Tem Mark Landry will serve as acting mayor until the three-member Board of Aldermen nominates an interim replacement. The village will be able to elect a new mayor in a special election Oct. 24.
Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook , call her at (337) 534-0825.