Exclusive interview: Big Tee on his Swamp People family and his medical fundraiser

Big Tee sent us the flier ahead of his exclusive interview with Monsters & Critics. Pic credit; Bubba's Sports Bar/Big Tee
Big Tee sent us the flier ahead of his exclusive interview with Monsters & Critics. Pic credit; Bubba’s Sports Bar/Big Tee

Joseph “Big Tee” Richard is healing up after a horrific infection in his foot that went unchecked after the skin healed over a bone that was infected.

This infection caused the sharpshooter and Swamp People fan favorite a grueling round of surgeries and intensive wound care treatments.

The problem is, Big Tee really is a Cajun swamper. Tee makes his living 100% off the land and waters of his native Louisiana, and he hasn’t been able to work for over a month.

He is following doctor’s orders and staying on antibiotics and off the foot that needs to heal ahead of the new season production of Swamp People.

His good friends in Breaux Bridge stepped up and have organized a fundraiser to help Tee get bills paid and caught up. Friends and fans have responded to Bubba Borque of Bubba’s Sports Bar’s fundraiser for Joseph “Big Tee” Richard in a big Swamp People way.

The event promises great food, fun raffle prizes, and even some donated guided trips and tours for people to bid. In fact, Monsters & Critics confirmed that Big Tee’s partner on the Bayou, Mr. Daniel (Daniel Edgar), donated a prize as well.

We will update the items donated for auction as we get closer to the day.

Today we spoke to Big Tee on the phone to find out all about what happened to his foot and about the event, plus the new season of Swamp People too:

For fans just reading the news, it was first posted on Facebook about Tee’s situation and the fundraiser.

According to Bubba’s Sport’s Bar, the star has a medical condition that went south fast:

Joseph “Big Tee” Richard went in the hospital for 10 days & was diagnosed with cellulitis. After two surgeries he was sent home. A week later was admitted back for another 11 days. His foot was still infected & he had two more procedures done. He was released to go home with a PIC line in his arm for home antibiotics for six weeks. Between hospital stays, home health nurses & traveling to & from doctor’s visits weekly, he hasn’t been able to work & he has incurred some pretty big bills on top of his normal bills.  BIG Tee has always gone to other bars & benefits & shown his support when he could. Time to pay pack the favor. We’re scheduling this on a weekend where nothing else has been scheduled so we can get a big turnout for him. We will be hosting a scotch doubles 12 drop 8-ball tournament & benefit to help raise some money to get him back on his feet (pun intended). We will be selling tickets for pork & sausage jambalaya dinners. There will be auction items, 50/50 raffle tickets, 9-ball break contest (if time permits), sweets for sale & whatever else we can do to raise money. Anyone that wants to help or donate items or cash can get in touch with BIG Tee or the staff at BUBBA’S SPORTS BAR…Please spread the word & come out & support BIG Tee.

We spoke to Tee and got the scoop:

Monsters & Critics: How did you get the nickname Big Tee?

Joseph “Big Tee” Richard: My brother gave me that name when I was a baby. He was 27 years older than me, and I was the little brother — and down here, little is “Tee” because we call it petit in French. So, I was a little brother, you know, and it stuck, calling me Tee, and as I got older they started calling me Big Tee.

M&C: How did you get to know Mister Daniel?

Big Tee: My dad and Mr. Daniel were best friends. I mean, they hunted together they fished together, they hunted alligators together, and I’ve been knowing Mr. Daniel since I was a baby.

He’s been in my life, and he’s like a father figure to me, I mean he did a lot of things for me that my parents couldn’t afford, a lot of things that I did for the first time were with him.

M&C: How did you get so good at shooting — you’re a sharpshooter!

Big Tee: Lots of practice, I have always been around hunting since I was a kid, and my family pretty much lived off the land.

I love shooting guns then ammunition costs when you hunting, so you get to learn how to shoot straight.

M&C: How many of your Swamp People family do you know?

Big Tee: I know Troy [Landry] and [his sons] Jacob and Chase really well. I’ve met Bruce [Mitchell], RJ, and Jay Paul [Molinere],
and I’ve met pretty much all of the cast.

M&C: How many seasons now for you on Swamp People?

Big Tee: I have been on two seasons so far. And I am healing up now to go on my third … We are going to start filming late August, the beginning of September … Sometime in there. We only have one month to film, because alligator season is just one month.

M&C: Sticking with Mr. Daniel?

Big Tee: Yes, ma’am. As of right now, that is what the plan is, I am sure. Me and him work good together, so they are gonna keep us together.

M&C: Do you get along with his sons?

Big Tee: Oh yes ma’am, they are all like brothers to me.

M&C: With production looming, you’ve got to get that foot healed…

Big Tee:  Yes! I went yesterday to take the stitches out and the doctors really started with that. The way it is looking, he will have me healed, he thinks, by the beginning of August.

M&C: How did you injure your foot?

Big Tee: This happened with the little bitty scratch from an air conditioner vent. The doctor said bacteria closed inside the cut, and I mean it was a small tiny tiny cut.

And I’m diabetic and it just flared up all of a sudden and I had to have the surgery to open it up for debridement and he had my foot wide open.

I went to another surgery to be debrided again and stitched up. A week later I was back in the hospital because a bone in my toe was infected, they left an infected bone in my toe, and muscle…all of what was healed up already.

They open that back up, and then they put whatever [it is] they put in little kids when they get cut to make the flesh take back together.

Then I went back in for more debridement before they closed me up again, and I’ve been sent home with a PIC line in my arm for six weeks antibiotic [treatment] at home.

I’m traveling back and forth, I went to a doctor yesterday [and] I got to go to one tomorrow. I gotta go back Friday.

M&C: It’s been a long haul for you, you can’t work at all

Big Tee: Oh, yes, ma’am. I  have been out of work for seven weeks, and I got another five weeks that my doctor doesn’t even want me to sweat.

M&C: How did Bubba Borque know to arrange this fundraiser for you?

Big Tee:  I posted on Facebook, you know, the struggle was getting real, bills are piling up, and I’ve not been able to work, you know… just stressed out over it and then he messaged me.

I’ve been knowing Bubba [Bubba Borque] for 29 years. I’ve been playing pool with Bubba and a bunch of other good players and helped out at many, many benefits before, you know.

Even though I didn’t play in the tournament, I helped out in all kinds of medical benefits, fundraisers …[just] any anything, anything… I helped out.

So he [Bubba] came to me on Facebook and said ‘would you want us to make a tournament to help you out?’ So that’s how it all got started.

M&C: Hopefully, the Swamp People family can get in on the fun…

Big Tee: Well, Mr. Daniel donated a tag, so we are going to be auctioning off an alligator hunt, he donated the tag. We are going to donate that [for the fundraiser auction], so we are going to take someone out on an alligator hunt.

We got a charted fishing trip to Toledo Bend for auction, and other fun things, yes’ ma’am. And anyone is welcomed to this event at Bubba’s Sports Bar.

How to help Big Tee

His full name is Joseph “Big Tee” Richard.

You can send him gifts, donations, and well wishes addressed to his attention at Bubba’s Sport’s Bar, as Bubba Borque told Monsters & Critics via a private message that he will make sure all mail that comes to Tee’s attention will go directly to him.

Joseph “Big Tee” Richard c/o Bubba’s Sports Bar
551 W Mills Ave
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana 70517
(337) 442-6960

Monsters & Critics wishes Big Tee a speedy recovery and hopes the fundraiser is a huge success!

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