Monday, January 10, 2011

Acadiana Louisiana

Driving over to this area, which is in south central Louisiana, we went past many marshes and bayous. Initially on the drive we saw only sugarcane farms, but as the land became more noticeably wetter we then started seeing rice fields. Harvest is over now for that crop, and many egrets and crows could be seen feeding in the fields. I imagine what they are dining on is left over grain as well as crustaceans. We are now in the heart of Acadiana Louisiana. It may as well be a foreign country, as there are times when we find ourselves surrounded by people chatting in Cajun. The weather forecast this morning on a local television station was spoken in French as well as English. Most of the French language spoken here is Cajun French which has numerous local variants. Its roots, however, are from the peasant French language which was spoken in sixteenth century France. In the eighteenth century, after the Seven Years War, the French settlers were expelled by the British from the Canadian Maritime Provinces. As they were not accepted in towns along our eastern coast, they eventually settled in what is now Louisiana. Yesterday we visited the town of  Eunice, which is the home of great Cajun music. Most fortunately, at the time we were visiting the Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve Acadian Culture Center, a Cajun music show was just beginning. That is sure some toe-tapping music! The words to the music are in Cajun so we had no idea what was being sung.  One song was called the "Convict's Waltz" ( they did give the titles in English), the words to the song had a lot of wailing in it and we were encouraged to participate in that part of the singing.
Every Saturday evening the local radio station broadcasts live in the Liberty Theater the Rendevous-des-Cajuns music show. The evening we were there the show held a tribute for Hank Williams. Part of the reason he is well liked here is because of his song "Jambalaya( On the Bayou)". I did not think that I liked country music but somehow I was familiar with most of the songs sung last night. Guess I must have listened to a lot to Hank Williams in my younger years!  It was a good show. As in the earlier show, which we had heard that day, the fiddle music was quite awesome with an infectious beat and a smooth style.

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