On the Lighter Side: Remembering Milton “Boo Boose” Guilbeau

Joe Guilbeau

Milton was an inventor, a craftsman, a mentor, and a teacher to many in the music industry. A man of many talents. He played pedal steel guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and dobro.

Joe Guilbeau

Milton, affectionately known as “Boo Boose,” was born Milton Louis Armand Guilbeau on May 11, 1927, to Augustin and Lydia Broussard Guilbeau, as the baby of eight children.

Milton graduated from Scott High School, where he was president of the 4-H Club. After high school, Milton met Sadie Marie Courvelle, from Cankton, and they were married on Feb. 14, 1950. They built their first home in Lafayette, where they lived the rest of their lives.

Milton worked as a plumber in his early years, owned a business, then was hired as a shopkeeper by the Coburns Supply Co., a wholesale plumbing company.

While working at Coburns, Milton furthered his career by taking Dale Carnegie courses. He was always learning, even taking computer courses. He was a wealth of knowledge on so many subjects.

He was instrumental in putting computers in all Coburns locations and organizing entire inventory systems. After years of hard work, he was promoted to manager of Coburns Supply in downtown Lafayette, then promoted to president of the Maloney Division of Coburns.

From “stockkeeper” to president of the Maloney Division of Coburns, but it was not his only trade.

Milton started playing steel guitar at an early age, taking his old guitar, and raising the strings on it. While serving in the Navy, he would play this guitar, and it sounded like Hawaiian music using his pocketknife to make the chords.

One steel he made from plumbing parts was on exhibit in the Hilliard Museum, featuring a lap steel he made from cypress, nails and strings.

He was honored there for “Crafting the Louisiana sounds, tools of Cajun and Creole Music.” This honor meant the world to him.

Milton, serving in the Navy aboard the USS Ranger, drew notice for his mechanical skills and he was given a rating of Machinist’s Mate and was in charge of all the ship’s batteries in thousands of them.

He traveled a great deal. In his lifetime, he appeared several times at The Grand Ole Opry, the mother church of country music. I have a picture of him on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry with music legend Ernest Tubb.

He performed in the Astrodome, the Superdome and dozens of dance halls in Louisiana. He worked with so many talented musicians in Acadiana and befriended many in the country music industry.

He was a member of The C.O.D. Band, which was named “Best Country Band of the 80s.”  C.O.D. stood for “Country on Delivery.” Two of his pallbearers also performed at his funeral.

In his e-mails, he would say, “MY GOAL IS TO ASSIST AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE, ESPECIALLY THE SHUT-INS AND UNDERPRIVILEGED.”

I am glad we were friends.