After spending a little time at the Zydeco to the Rescue fundraiser Sunday afternoon, Dirk Powell simply got up and left the building.

The event at Buck & Johnny’s in Breaux Bridge was a mission to help local musician Major Handy and his wife, Frances, get back on their feet after a devastating house fire Aug. 17. What the fire didn’t burn or melt, smoke and water teamed up as the coup de gras for belongings, including many instruments, in the charred Lafayette home.

Buck & Johnny’s Coatney Raymond stirred-up the idea for the "Rescue" and she enlisted the help and talent of Gerard Delafose & the Zydeco Gators, Corey Ledet & His Zydeco Band, Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys, Terry & the Zydeco Bad Boys, and Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie.

All proceeds from the door went to the Handys. Talk about passing a good time for a good cause.

Dirk had left for The Cypress House, his studio in Parks, which is maybe a long, slow waltz and three two-steps from the funder Breaux Bridge. He returned with a pearly, off-white Italian instrument, The Coronet.

“It’s a pretty nice accordion I had in the studio,” said Dirk. “And I just thought, ‘You know, I don’t play this very much, and he needs it.’

“I really wanted to support him in a way that was so direct and give him a channel to express himself. When you’ve gone through a loss like that, I don’t know, some kind of gesture like that, it has a meaning because it’s giving you a way to have a creative outlet.”

Dirk is well familiar with Handy, a blues, R&B and zydeco musician with ample accordion and guitar skills and a gentle, gravelly voice.

“I’ve appreciated them on the scene for so many years, so much pure energy,” said Dirk.

The gift moved both musicians.

“It was really beautiful to watch his reaction, man,” said Dirk, going over the scene. “When he first saw it, when he first put it on, when he first played it. I was so grateful that I had the opportunity to touch him like that and take a moment that can be so depressing and full of loss and turn it into something that affirms how we all feel about each other.”

Down the front of the instrument and spelled out vertically in all caps is “J-A-N-I-C-E,” pronounced “janis” or “janeese.”

How it got the name is a mystery, for now.

“I don’t know the story of that,” Dirk said.

But he does know that in the last couple of years that he’s had the accordion, it was used for the score of the 2018 film “Dirt Road to Lafayette."

After 10 years touring with Joan Baez, Dirk’s been seen and heard around town lately. He and Rhiannon Giddens just had a gig at Artmosphere in Lafayette.

He’s also playing some with Buddy Miller, an Americana artist, and has an upcoming festival gig with him in San Francisco. He’ll join Miller on a cruise next year.

The studio is busy, too, as Dirk is working on a solo record by Ann Savoy “that I’m really excited about,” he said.

“I’m just happy to be playing more local gigs and be around home a bit and focus on the studio,” said Dirk. “It’s such a great community around here. It feels really good not to feel like I’m running off for five weeks every couple of months.”

His road life with Baez ended in July with her farewell concert in Madrid.

“She might do an occasional collaboration or show or something like that," he said. "But as far as her touring life, she’s been doing it for 60 years.”

In the decade with Baez, Dirk’s (and Christine Balfa’s) daughters, Sophie and Amelia, would sometimes join their dad on tour.

“The girls grew up in that world a lot, and it’s been a huge difference in our lives,” he said. “I mean, she’s like family. She watched them grow up. They were 7 and 5, and now they’re 17 and 15.”

The kids were there for the Spain finale, tucked away in the wings, as usual.

“She came out so strong, and the only time that I heard her voice break during that show was when she looked over at Sophie and Amelia and her granddaughter Jasmine on the side of the stage where they’ve sat for years,” said Dirk. “She looked over and saw the girls sitting there and saw Sophie crying, and her voice choked up and she got a little teary-eyed and then she kept on.

“It was such a strong show for her last show. It was really powerful.”

The song? “Joe Hill,” of course.

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