The Spirit of Acadiana takes us to Lafayette and a guy by the name of Hal Guidry. Mid-2000s Hal, injured on the job, really can’t work for a couple of years. He was going around, looking for purpose, asking himself, ‘what am I going to do?’ Guess what Hal Guidry found? Did Hal Guidry find purpose? Did he find passion? Did he find crosses?
“What I realized not long afterwards,” begins Guidry, “was God had given me something to be able to do something with my hands, with my mind, with my body, and figure out where I was physically, and what I had to offer.”
It began slowly: he’d see a pile of wood near the curb or hear of fences blown down in a storm, and then, gradually---the inspiration and the crosses began coming. Sure, it makes a few dollars; that’s one thing that keeps him going…
“And the next thing that keeps me going?” asks the Breaux Bridge native aloud, “Is the peace it gives me when I get to work in the woodworking shop. With my hands and my mind, just to create and express myself that way.”
“That one is made out of cedar, mostly fence boards. This would have been the bottom of the fence boards… “
That’s Guidry showing off the first cross he ever made back in 2005. His crosses sell from about $75 to $300 or $400--- some pay a bill or two; but, fairly often, Hal Guidry finds a cause, a good cause, or a friend in need. Like when he simply gave David Wooten this cross after the flood of 2016.
“And Hal saw the struggle we were going through, and he decided to give it to me, the cross itself –to me it’s hope, hope and something real,” says a still-emotional Wooten.
Or when he took wood from a broken gate and brought five once-estranged siblings back together, by using five Guidry-made crosses to remind them of what really matters. “Ya’ll just talk about this fence, that gate, and remember your parents who put up that fence and gate, and who raised you into the people you are. That’s what I get to live now,” he smiles.
He does commission work--- some just want a cross, some want a “specific” cross. But regardless, Hal Guidry gets the job done, and his motivation? It’s Christian motivation.
“Scott, I believe we’re all here for a purpose,” philosophizes Guidry. “We’re all here for a reason. To be the best that we can be. Whether it’s following our religion, be the best you can. Do the best you can.”
For more information on Hal Guidry’s cross-making artistry, call 337-284-0196 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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