Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cajun & Creole 101: La Boucherie and Cochon de Lait

     This Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013, Vermilionville offers a free Cochon de Lait demonstration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. that includes a history of the cochon de lait — or hog butchering — with Vermilionville artisan Jay Steiner, who will also serve as emcee for the day. There will be demonstrations on cracklin’ and boudin making with John Norbert, a soap-making demonstration with Vermilionville artisan Greg Guidroz and a full boucherie (communal butchering) using both traditional and new age methods. 
     Samples from the boucherie will be provided as well as samples of local Parish Brewing’s new Envie ale that pairs well with the sweetness of pork. Jambalaya, boudin, cracklin’ and pork stew will be available for purchase along with soft drinks, water, beer and mixed drinks throughout the day. Live music by Horace Trahan & Ossun Express will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Performance Center.
Cajun Microwave
     Admission is free and open to all ages. 
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.: Food both, pig roasting demo
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Live pig viewing, kid's activities, Cajun Microwave demo
11 a.m. – Noon: Pig’s ear cooking demo, jam session
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.: La Cuisine de Maman restaurant is open
11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Soap making demo
12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m.: Cochon de Lait history 
1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Parish Brewing beer tasting 
1 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Horace Trahan & Ossun Express performs
2 p.m. – 3 p.m.: Boudin making demo 
3 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Cochon de Lait tasting 

     For more information, call (337) 233-4077.

Friday, August 30, 2013

2013 African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference

     This fall, the African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference will be in Lafayette, offering notable speakers, cultural tours and fascinating presentations. 
     The conference is scheduled for Oct. 9-12, 2013, and will offer thought-provoking conversations and first-hand experiences of how to preserve, promote and protect sites that are important to the global narrative of people and culture of African descent. 
     Featured presentations are:
     “Africans in Louisiana” by Dr. Ibrahima Seck
     “The Creole Journey to the Promised Land” by Charles Larroque, Dr. Ray Brassieur and Dr. Jihad Muhammad
     “Roots to Routes: Creating the Creole Homeland with Music and Dance” by Nick Spitzer from National Public Radio
     Haitian Mission Project: “International Day for People of African Descent for Recognition, Justice and Development” by Ambassador Savadogo (presentation in French and English)
     Breakout sessions include:
     “Cultural Tourism and Entrepreneurship” with Minister Percy Paris, Wayn Hamilton and Georgina Dhillon, moderator Charles Larroque
     “Development of Local Heritage Trails” with Dr. Kim Dismont Robinson of the ADHT Board of Directors
     “Long Road to Freedom: Civil Rights in Louisiana and Beyond” with Keith Weldon Medley, Kathe Hambrick-Jackson and Melba Danzie Braud, moderator Ted Maris
     “The Creole French Languages and Challenges to Its Viability” with French Creole-speaking citizens, moderator Dr. Ray Brassieur
     “The Role of African American Museums and Repositories: The Resurgence and Responsibility of Institutions Chronicling the Lives, Including Migration Patterns of Africans in the Diaspora” with Dr. Carol Adams, Masequa Myers and Gail Adams, moderator Dr. Sharon Telleen
     “Slaves and Sugar: Transatlantic exchange in Louisiana, the Caribbean and Africa” with Dr. Ibrahima Seck, Jean-Marc Masseaut and Dr. Barry Jean Ancelet, moderator Dr. Jordan Kellman
     In addition, the ADHT Conference gives attendees a chance to experience the Creole culture of South Louisiana first-hand. The opening ceremonies will be held at Vermilionville, a folk life museum featuring the life of the Cajuns and Creoles between 1765 and 1890. The 23-acre park on the Vermilion River features 18 structures in a living history museum setting. A Creole dinner will be served while Grammy Award-winning zydeco musician Chubby Carrier performs for the group. There will also be presentations on "The Healer's Garden" by Creole folklorist Rebecca Henry and Creole Mardi Gras traditions with Avoyelles Indians of Southwest Louisiana.
      The ADHT Conference will close with one of Louisiana's biggest celebrations of the Cajun and Creole cultures of South Louisiana — Festivals Acadiens et Créoles. Since 1977, Festivals Acadiens et Creoles has been preserving the Cajun and Creole heritages of Louisiana through presentation of the music, food, crafts and traditions at this annual fall festival. This year, the festival is honoring the Cajun and Creole Cowboys, who have a longstanding horse culture originating in 1765. This year's festival is also dedicated to one of our most prominent cowboy musicians, Boozoo Chavis, who helped to define zydeco as it was emerging in the 1950s.

      For more information and to register, go to To keep up with the latest news, like the ADHT 2013 Facebook page.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cajun ingenuity

     People in South Louisiana know how to make something out of practically nothing. Recycling is an old concept on the bayou, where making due with what you have is a lifestyle.
     Take the Bathtub Madonna, for instance. South Louisiana residents are heavily Catholic, which is why visitors will see Madonna statues and little altars everywhere. If finances are tight, or the outer grotto has been damaged, an upright bathtub will do the trick to cover the Virgin Mother.
     Another example is staying cool. In the depths of deep summer we will use anything to fill with water and chill out. 
     That’s why Downtown Lafayette and Townsquare Media are celebrating the Hottest Night of the Year, Aug. 23, 2013, with a family-friendly, summer blowout party from 7-10 p.m. at Parc Sans Souci in downtown Lafayette. There will be water slides, fire dancers, the Sans Souci fountain (feel free to jump in), cold beverages and DJ Digital from Hot 107.9! After the sun goes down, there will be a live performance from One Trick Pony. Best of all, admission is free! 
     But here’s where Cajun ingenuity comes in. The party includes a contest for the best Pickup Pool prize. In other words, bring your pickup trucks, fill up the cab with water and saw us your best pool idea.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Learn Cajun culture at annual Acadian Culture Day

     Want to learn all about the Cajun culture. Here’s your chance. The Bayou Vermilion District celebrates its annual Acadian Culture Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013, at Vermilionville. The event happens near National Acadian Day, held every year on Aug. 15. 
     Vermilionville’s Acadian Culture Day focuses on family folklore and will include tarte cooking demonstrations, artisan demonstrations such as trapping, creating Job’s tear rosaries, quilting, wood carving, Mardi Gras capuchon and mask making, open hearth cooking and old-time washing and clothesline hanging. In addition, there will be canoe trips on Le Petit Bayou, games and crafts for children including tintamarre noise makers, rag dolls and Acadiana flag making and sharing circles on “Healing Traditions & Superstitions.”
     Best of all, it’s free. 
     The film “Tintamarre — On the Trail of Acadians in North America” by André Gladu and “T’Galop: A Louisiana Horse Story” by Conni Castille will be screened and La Recolte Band and the Al Berard Family Band will perform in the Performance Center with dance lessons beforehand. 
     Each year for Acadian Culture Day Vermilionville presents a representative of the community with the Acadian Cultural Preservation Award in recognition of outstanding lifetime contributions to the preservation of the culture and the community. This year’s recipient is Richard Guidry for his impact on multiple levels of the Acadian community.
     Past award recipients include: the Michot Family, Pat Mire, Aldus Roger, Floyd Sonnier, Camey Doucet, Warren Perrin, Eddie Richard, A.J. LeBlanc, Karl Breaux, Pete Bergeron, Elaine Clément, Dr. Carl A. Brasseaux, Dr. Ray Brassieur and Edward Cazayoux.

     For more information, visit