101021 human condition (toned)

Andrew "Bob" Babineaux died at his home in Erath on July 29 surrounded by his loving wife of 63 years Romona and his family.

Bob was born on Dec. 19, 1937, and raised in the fishing village of Delcambre. He met Romona, the love of his life, at a little café in Erath.

Bob, a very unique Cajun, was an ever-enthusiastic hard worker, who was the proud owner of Babineaux’s Body Shop, where he worked until the day he fell ill in January. The meticulously kept shop contains hundreds of tools displayed in an orderly fashion, covering every square inch of wall space. He famously painted a cryptic sign above the door of the shop which stated, “No credit, Not even to President Biden or even the First Lady.” Whenever a new president was elected, he would paint over the name of the old one and insert the name of the new one.

Bob had one employee, Ronnie Hebert, who was his good-natured sidekick. Ronnie was always interested in making sure all of the customers were satisfied. Every Friday at noon, friends would take turns bringing delicious plates lunches to the shop to share while sitting beneath the oak tree.

To show how much he appreciated their patronage, Bob was well-known for bringing all of his customers Mexican blankets and vanilla extract from his annual trip to the Mexico border. He also personally delivered to his customers local, freshly harvested corn and boxes of sweet potatoes.

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But Bob was probably most famous for his beloved silver truck put together from parts of various other old cars and trucks. This resulted in a hodgepodge of parts that fit together amazingly well. This vehicle was similar to the one in the story recounted in Johnny Cash’s 1976 hit song "One Piece at a Time," where parts stolen from a GM plant over a period of 25 years were reassembled to create a "psychobilly Cadillac.”

What was originally Bob’s 1968 Chevy C10 had over 2 million miles on it. The front-end grill was from a Volvo. The rear was a 1979 Suburban. The four Cadillac grill hubcaps came from the 1990s. It had a Chevy 350 motor with an automatic transmission. The cab was extended to put an extra fuel tank inside, and later, he installed a Rhino Liner on the truck bed, a vinyl car top and a dual exhaust system. The radio had only one speaker in the dashboard, and the truck had no AC and no spare tire. The vehicle also had no seat belts until his wife got stopped by state police who mandated them. Every Thursday, he would wash and wax his truck.

His last wish was for his casket to be brought that “last mile” from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Erath to the Delcambre cemetery in the rear of his beloved truck. The family granted his wish. Bob’s son Marty Babineaux drove the truck to the cemetery, and Marty’s son, Matthew Babineaux, was in the middle and Dennis Mouton Jr. was on the passenger side. Matt and Dennis were Bob’s only grandsons.

— Perrin lives in Lafayette


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