Music in the Family Part IV – Patureau Keepsake
I thought I should have a Keepsake version of Music in the Family. Especially since I was wanting to showcase this instrument for a while. I tried to find photos or audio files of it in action, but no such luck. I do have a few photos of it though. So here you go.
This was my dad’s banjo for many years. He played it at Shakey’s sometimes with the family band in the 1970s, but it has a longer history than that. Daddy left me a document about the banjo that he wrote on January 15, 2005.
Besides playing it with the family band, he also stated that he played it with some Dixieland bands in Lake Charles. He also played it in the orchestra pit with a ‘pit band’ for Lake Charles Little Theater productions. But he wasn’t the first owner of this Vega Four string Tenor banjo.
Daddy inherited it in 1956 when his uncle Vincent Maximilian Patureau, Jr. passed away. Daddy was 27 years old at the time and Uncle Vincent died at the age of 54. He was my Mee Maw’s youngest brother. Uncle Vincent had it for many years and played it with a band in Baton Rouge. That’s about all I know. I’m not sure when he lived in Baton Rouge. Probably in the 1920s and 30s when he was in his twenties and thirties.
Maybe at the age he is in this photo. I got this photo recently from my dad’s cousin. (Thanks again, Sis!) He may have honed his craft for a few years, then decided to buy himself a nice Vega banjo. That would fit with the timeline of when this banjo was produced. According to Daddy the serial number places it as being put together in 1928.
I got the banjo in August of 2015 when we moved my mom and dad into Assisted Living in Lake Charles. I encouraged him to keep it because there was room for it in the apartment that he had, but he wanted me to take it. So I did. I’ve always thought it was a beautiful instrument. And now it’s back in Baton Rouge, where it first came into our family.