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What’s old is new again at the historic Lafayette smokehouse on the Cajun Boudin Trail

Roughly every two months there is an event at Johnson’s Boucaniere where attendees are asked not to speak. This event is about listening.

The downtown Lafayette eatery launched Les Contes de Galerie last year, which translates to “Stories on the Porch,” where musicians talk about their music, childhood favorites, and anything else that comes up. Past guests have included Andrew Duhon, Louis Michaud, Sweet Cecilia, Michael Doucet and others.

What started just over a year ago as an idea based on co-owner Greg Walls’ appreciation of VH1’s Storytellers series has grown into a bi-monthly ticketed event. The next one is April 22nd and will feature Steve Riley & The Riley Family Band.

“It’s just a cool event,” Walls said. “As hard as it is, we enjoy it immensely. I think the audience enjoys it. It’s a way to really focus on the artist and put them in the spotlight.”

Walls and his wife and Lori Johnson Walls have run Johnson’s Boucaniere, 1111 St. John St., for years, but the site’s history stretches back even further. The restaurant’s history dates back to Johnson’s Grocery in Eunice, which was opened by her grandfather Arneastor Johnson in 1937 while his children Wallace, Marie, Harrison, Joe, Stephen and Matthew Johnson were all involved in running the shop until it closed 2005

Wallace’s daughter, Lori Johnson Walls, decided in 2008 to develop the property and bring back prairie-style smoking to the Lafayette restaurant. Wallace Johnson, who turns 95 in July, is still active at the restaurant and can usually be found there Wednesday through Saturday, Walls said.

The restaurant still uses recipes and techniques from the time it opened and has received its fair share of press over time. It’s one of the main stops along the Cajun Boudin Trail. It has also been featured on the Travel Channel and other television programs, and last year Food Network named it the best barbecue spot in Louisiana as part of the network’s 50 States of Barbecue feature.