Joe’s Restaurant and Lounge, whose founder and namesake was my grandfather, Joseph Clayton Foulcard, first opened its doors on July 4th, 1950 in the city of Franklin, LA. As the decades passed, it became so much more than a gathering space to laugh, eat and be entertained. It became legacy. A golden thread woven intricately through the fabric of time and space connecting the past to the present, interwoven in a tapestry of a family, a community, a town; and for nearly three quarters of a century it stood as one of the pillars supporting this community. Since time immemorial humans have gathered in celebration and ritual of all kinds, both in and out of doors. If the last few years have taught us nothing it has certainly been an education in the sacredness of time spent face to face with those we hold dear. Gathering spaces should never to be taken for granted. Communion between old comrades and equally welcomed new friends will always be sacred.
Joe’s was such a monumental part of my youth that I’ve known since I was a young man in college that one day I’d take up the mantle and carry it forward for a new generation. For nearly two years, fueled by a lifelong dream and a heart charged with joy, we remodeled and reinvented the old fella and although our fathers, Don Foulcard Sr. and Charles Foulcard Sr., passed from this earth before its completion, we reopened the doors to Joe’s on October 31, 2022. It was no small feat, but worth every ounce of love, attention, and detail payed to it over nearly a two year period. On Friday, April 7th right before we were primed for an epic Easter weekend celebration, Joe’s suffered devastating damages caused by an electrical fire. The initial shock and loss was overwhelming and heartbreaking. Truth be told, we were unsure how, or even if we would rebuild, But this legacy, this thread, is fire resistant—it lives still… It lives within me. We feel duty bound to ourselves, our family, our community, the very people of this town whose streets we’ve roamed our entire lives to resurrect this bastion. The tapestry must continue. However,we cannot go it alone. We need the community now more than ever to help build it back stronger and better. Besides, what are any of these structures without the people who breathe life into them? We are asking those that can or will to join us in the journey of rebuilding and the reimagining of Joe’s.
-The Humble Custodians of Joe’s Restaurant & Lounge.