PLAQUEMINE, La. (BRPROUD) — A new exhibit opened up at the Iberville Museum highlighting some of the greats of the Louisiana music industry.

The “Down Home Music” exhibit made its debut at the museum Friday at 5:00 p.m., kicking off during Boogie on the Bayou in Plaquemine.

“It all began with the recording of vinyl music, which my dad Charles Kirkland and at Gascon’s Record Shop,” said “Down Home Music” creator Allen Kirkland.

Kirkland, a retired teacher and music lover, put the display together. His journey started with him wanting to learn more about his father’s music studio at Gascon’s Music Shop and his first recording the “Hammy’s.”

“When I look back on it, I just didn’t realize how involved he was in the music industry. Being a sound engineer,” said Kirkland.

He discovered there are a large number of musicians and artists in his hometown and surrounding areas, along with old jukeboxes and vinyls.

“The more I dug into records and vinyl, the more information I found, and I found more studios and more vinyl records,” he explained.

It was his mission to showcase talent from the Plaquemine area between the 1940s to the 90s, all genres included.

“I have label records from all over the state. All over the state… Hammond… the Red Stick in Baton Rouge, Redbone in Racceland…” he said.

Kirkland collected many artifacts and interviewed 55 local recording artists for his exhibit. Johnny Koonse is one of those interviewed. He has more than 500 songs, including his hit “Don’t Let me Cross Over.” His nickname was “The Music Man.”

“My mama wanted me on piano, and I picked up the guitar,” said Koonse.

The 82-year-old rode the music waves in his career until he lost much of his hearing at 56 years old. He said music played a huge part in their lives when growing up.

“Well, playing down here… I learned that singing well was not as important as putting on a show. And I learned how to loosen up,” he expressed.

Many have passed on, but Kirkland wanted to continue the legacy of the generation.

“Music speaks to the soul of people,” he said.

“There’s more here than I ever thought. The number of performance trends that came out of this place is just staggering really,” Koonse added.

The exhibit will be at the Iberville Museum for a year. Admission is free.