SHOWCASING LOUISIANA: Symphony of sawdust keeps uniquely Cajun sound in tune

SHOWCASING LOUISIANA: Fidlin' Around

ARNAUDVILLE, La. (WAFB) - He fixes broken necks and cracked ribs, but he’s not a doctor.

He’s a man who turned a harsh dose of reality into a passion.

“I get in this zone. It’s like, you know, meditating,” Tom Pierce tells 9News.

Tom Pierce fixes broken necks and cracked ribs, but he’s not a doctor.
Tom Pierce fixes broken necks and cracked ribs, but he’s not a doctor. (Source: WAFB)

At age 50, he decided he wanted to play the violin on stage or in an orchestra.

“I tried to learn how to play. So, I took two years of that and figured out I wasn’t going to be up on stage with those guys,” Pierce said.

Now the sound of a hand plane is music to his ears.

“I was a wood guy. I wanted to build my own house, and roof and learn how to build closets,” Pierce said.

So, He went to work. “I was just banging nails. I wasn’t doing this, bending curves and stuff,” Pierce said. Studying, measuring, scraping, and basically fiddling with instruments.

Tom Pierce fixes broken necks and cracked ribs, but he’s not a doctor.
Tom Pierce fixes broken necks and cracked ribs, but he’s not a doctor. (Source: WAFB)

He even went back to school. After nine years at the New Hampshire Craftsman Institute, Tom built his first instrument.

“Every step is a major project,” he says.

In 2005, he retired from building submarines for the Department of Defense and moved to the heart of Acadiana. Got lost in Arnaudville and saw the house he now lives in.

He opened Tom’s Fiddle and Bow and created his own symphony of sawdust. Today, he repairs fiddles and keeps the Cajun sound in tune.

“They come from everywhere. Everybody comes in with different problems. They have a broken sound post. They have a broken peg. They have a broken neck. They have a loose rib,” he explains.

Tom fixes them all with the same love he has for classical music.

“I think the gift for me, is I found something that I really enjoy,” he says. “I want to be good. I guess that’s my passion.”

And once a month, the guy that wasn’t good enough for the stage or the orchestra gathers his friends and customers to play before a packed house.

Tom Pierce fixes broken necks and cracked ribs, but he’s not a doctor.
Tom Pierce fixes broken necks and cracked ribs, but he’s not a doctor. (Source: WAFB)

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