The Flying Vet of Lafayette
“It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s the Flying Vet of Lafayette,” an actual phrase that may have been uttered by residents of Lafayette in the 1940s as they watched well-known local vet, Dr. Louitpould Leonpacher circle the area before touching down in his plane.
Few have made their mark on history without an ingenious twist to their livelihood, and Leonpacher, affectionately known as Lippi, was no exception.
Lippi was a German immigrant who became one of the first licensed veterinarians in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Lippi left behind journals, photographs and films from his life, but it wasn’t until his granddaughter, Leslie Leonpahcer, saw her father slowly slipping away before her eyes that she became motivated to pull together all the pieces left behind by her grandfather to create a cohesive documentary about his life.
In the mid-1930s Lippi acquired his pilot’s license alongside his wife, Fanny, and purchased a plane to use to reach the more remote areas of Acadiana with his veterinary practice.
After discovering a more effective anthrax treatment for cattle, Lippi made a name for himself as a local authority on the disease and helped to save hundreds of cattle in the Acadiana area, and solidify the formation of the region’s cattle industry.
Lippi passed away two years before Leonpacher was born, so for her the process felt like getting to know her grandfather for the first time.
“I love how many people have come up to me with stories of him coming out to their grandfather or father’s farm and they always paint a very colorful picture of who he was,” says Leonpacher. “I never met him so when they tell those stories it feels like I’m meeting my grandfather.”
Leonpacher enlisted the help of her neighbor and filmmaker friend, Eric Breaux, to achieve her goal of creating the documentary in the summer of 2015, and the first screening of the show was offered in October of 2016.
While many locals remembered Lippi for taking care of their cattle and loving his work, his blend of interests as a pilot, avid photographer and German native, resulted in him being arrested twice on suspicion of being a German spy.
The second time around, testimonies from local farmers and friends halted the accusations from going any further, but the pageantry that accompanied each of Lippi’s visits likely did not help to make him any less conspicuous to authorities.
Before visiting an area, Lippi would often send out penny post cards to announce his arrival to locals, and many times local priests would tell their congregations about his coming visit during a Sunday service.
In case residents missed any of these announcements, Lippi would circle the area before landing to announce his arrival to an area.
Lippi would often spend the day vaccinating hundreds of cattle with the anthrax treatment.
Despite his busy schedule, Lippi always made his family a priority, often spending his precious time off with his wife and five children at their family camp.
His detailed records of early veterinary practices in the Lafayette area make his life and contributions a valuable piece of Acadiana culture.
The journals he left behind, contain records of his veterinary practice and musings about his travels, alongside the films and photographs he took.
The journals and photographs are now housed in the Special Collections and Archives in the library at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
The Directors Cut and bonus footage of “Flying Vet of Lafayette,” will be shown at the Acadiana Center for the Arts on Aug. 9.
Before the show, Lippi’s journals and photographs will be on display at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby, and the screening will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Following the show, there will be a question and answer panel with Leonpacher, Breaux and Lippi’s son, Robert Leonpacher.
To purchase tickets or for more information about the show visit acadianacenterforthearts.org.
- Les Mains Guidees: How to ‘Tit Fer, Sat., Aug. 5, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Lafayette
During August's workshop, Kevin Huval and members of the band ŒUVAL will be teaching Cajun rhythms on the triangle.
This workshop can accommodate 20 students, and the $20 participation fee must be paid in advance. You must have your own triangle for this class. Vermiliionville has a limited number of triangles made by its blacksmith, Jay Steiner, available for sale online for $10.
- Church of the Sacred Ear Volume 8,” Sat., Aug. 5, 6 p.m – 9 p.m., Lafayette
Come out to Staffland Studio in Freetown for the 8th show of Church of the Sacred Ear, with Sean Bruce.
This is a BYOB event, but there will be some drinks provided, free of charge, while it lasts.
The doors open at 6 p.m. and the music will go from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $12.
For more info on Sean Bruce visit SeanBruceMusic.com and for more info on Church of the Sacred Ear, visit facebook.com/ChurchOfTheSacredEar.
- The Basil Ganglia, Free Show, Sat., Aug. 5, 10 p.m. – 1 a.m., Lafayette
On Aug. 5, the band formerly known as Vriodhamine, now The Basil Ganglia, will be at the Blue Moon Saloon with no cover.
The Basil Ganglia is a band made up of guys who love music and love sharing it with you. They have acoustic roots and atmospheric sound with fuzzed out rock.
They perform covers as well as original music, and are a four-piece Lafayette band blending classic rock, modern acoustic folk rock and some psychedelic blues. Classic rock inspired by Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and Credence. Original songs about love and friendship, death and heartache. And a gigantic dose of hope and positive vibes.
The Basil Ganglia is a band that will put a groove and a melody deep in your brain.
- Lafayette Comedy presents Barrel of Laughs at The Barrel, Thurs., Aug. 10, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., Broussard
Lafayette Comedy presents Barrel of Laughs, a standup comedy showcase featuring the best regional and touring standup comedians around.
Event is at The Barrel of Broussard on Aug. 10 at 8 p.m., no cover and it’s Ladies Night.