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Cedric Watson and Chris Ardoin perform during the first St. Landry Sounds in Opelousas March 9, 2019.

Zydeco musician Chris Ardoin was shot in the back and hospitalized while performing at an event in Colfax, his wife said in a statement on Facebook.

Ardoin was performing as the Friday headliner at Zydeco Bike Fest when he was shot in the back. Ardoin’s wife, Kerri, posted on his official Facebook page at 3:36 a.m. Saturday and said he was struck on his right side while performing.

“Doctors said thankfully he’s a built guy. The bullet didn’t penetrate his lung and stopped near his ribs...Please keep him in your prayers and will update you all later!” she wrote.

His brother, Zydeco musician Sean Ardoin, posted an update on his personal Facebook account around 10 a.m. Saturday that Chris Ardoin was doing well and resting safely at home after his visit to the hospital.

“God is faithful and praise Him that the bullet is ‘safely’ lodged in soft tissue in his back and is not a threat. Thank you [for] your prayers and concern, we’ll all believe that it will just be a reminder of how blessed he is…,” he wrote on Facebook.

At noon, Chris Ardoin’s Facebook page followed up with a simple “thumbs up” sign signaling to fans and friends he was doing OK.

The shooting happened in Colfax, Louisiana, at Louisiana Mudfest, an ATV and mudding park where the weekend festival was being held. Ardoin was slated as the Friday headliner, with Lil Nate and the Zydeco Big Timers scheduled to perform Saturday night. Lil Nate posted on Facebook Saturday morning that his group was canceling its performance.

The remaining events for Zydeco Bike Fest were also canceled. 

Grant Parish Sheriff Steven McCain said deputies responded to reports of a shooting at the venue around 1 a.m. He said two people were struck by gunfire and suffered moderate injuries; one was identified by family as Ardoin, and the other was listed by the sheriff’s office as a 14-year-old child. McCain said they were taken by ambulance to a hospital in Alexandria.

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An update on the child’s condition was not available Saturday afternoon.

McCain said two men — Ajontae Brown and Zachary Thomas — were arrested on two counts each of aggravated assault with a firearm after jumping on the running boards of a truck attempting to leave the venue and pointing their weapons at the occupants. The truck was one of hundreds crammed into a line attempting to leave through the venue’s one exit as people fled in panic following the shooting, the sheriff said.

He said it was unknown Saturday afternoon if Brown and Thomas were involved in the shooting that injured Ardoin and the unidentified child.

Investigators collected 20 shell casings from several areas at the venue and will analyze them to determine whether one or multiple weapons were involved, McCain said. All of the shooting happened outdoors; Louisiana Mudfest has an outdoor stage positioned beside the Red River, with a large field for concertgoers, he said.

Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to call 318-627-3261 or anonymously submit a tip to grantso.org/tipsubmit, the sheriff’s office statement said. 

Ardoin comes from a long line of Zydeco and Creole musicians, including his grandfather Alphonse “Boise Sec” Ardoin, his father Creole accordionist and bandleader Lawrence “Black” Ardoin and his older brother Sean Ardoin, a twice Grammy-nominated Zydeco musician.

The Ardoin brothers formed the Zydeco group Double Clutchin’ and began releasing music in the ‘90s, before splitting to chart their own careers.


Email Katie Gagliano at kgagliano@theadvocate.com