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One of Acadiana’s most popular, locally owned restaurants has become the victim of a car chase.

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Popular Acadiana restaurant badly damaged in car chase

On Sunday, Jodi Choate, one of the owners of Cajun Claws in Abbeville, posted photos and an emotional message describing the aftermath of the accident: “It looks like a chase ended up in our restaurant, but it could have been much worse if we had customers in our bar.”

According to her post, they planned to reopen next week. However, as she explains, the damage is extensive and repairing the restaurant will require some time and donations.

A post on the company’s page informs customers of the situation, thanking customers for their years of support and asking the community to consider donating to the GoFundMe page: “It’s going to be a long, hot minute, but we will never let our dream die.”

The man responsible for the damage has warrants out for his arrest in New Iberia. He had shoplifted at a Walmart in Abbeville and prompted police to follow him. After police turned on the lights, he sped off, which turned into a chase. “We were told he sped into the building at 90-100 miles per hour.”

Making something positive out of a tragedy

Jodi Choate explains that a year ago, this would have devastated her, but instead of being angry and bitter, she encourages everyone to be kind: “We never know what someone is going through… this too shall pass… until then, I will keep reminding myself to breathe.” We can all learn something from how this local business owner handled this tragic situation with professionalism and grace.

Hi everyone!! My name is CJ Frederick, a long time friend and co-worker of the infamous Original Cajun Claws of Abbeville. On 7/7/24 Cajun Claws was hit by a car during a chase. The damage sustained is beyond their means. Over many years I have watched both Jodi and Donnie Choate and their three sons Kyle, Tyler and Tanner help in many ways where they could. They never expected anything in return. They would never ask for help but it takes a village to help them rebuild what was destroyed. Please read Jodi’s perspective on this tragic event. Such a strong woman who has been carrying a heavy burden for some time. If you can find it in your heart to help them then I have done my job helping them in any way I can. Anything helps! Thanks in advance. Love!

Help rebuild Cajun Claws in Abbeville, Louisiana

The Acadiana community always stands behind our local businesses, especially in critical times of need. As Choate says in their message, “We are not able to do this alone,” so they have asked people to share their story and donate to the GoFundMe campaign set up by a longtime friend and co-worker.

Donate here.

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Gallery credit: Sydney Ducharme