Saturday, January 15, 2011

Vermillionville, Louisiana

The town of Lafayette was once called Vermillionville after the Vermillion River. What is Vermillionville today is a folk art and cultural center of the Cajun and Creole people. It recreates what life use to be for those people between 1765 and 1890. On the grounds there are 19 buildings including 6 restored original homes which are filled with artifacts and living history. At La Maison des Culture, an Acadian home built in the 1840s, we were able to look at an exposed wall on the porch which has the bousillage which I mentioned in a posting of two days ago. It was interesting to actually see the mud and Spanish moss bricks.
At the Beau Bassin House, circa 1840, we were able to watch cotton being carded and then spun into thread. In Canada Acadian women wove wool and flax, in Louisiana they learned to weave cotton. It was interesting to see a wad of cotton being spun into thread, it looked so easy!
At the L'Ecole, or school, we heard a man, D'Jalma, playing Creole music on his fiddle. He discussed with us, in much detail, the difference between Creole, Cajun and Zydeco music. He grew up in New Orleans in a family of jazz musicians and started learning to play the fiddle at the age of five years. Currently he plays for a couple of Creole bands, besides working at Vermillionville.
The last sentence on the blackboard was the punishment for children who spoke the principle language of southwestern Louisiana during the early years of the twentieth century. They had to write 100 times that they will not speak French.. One of the last homes on our tour of Vermillionville was the home of Armand Brossard, built around 1790. This is the oldest and largest of all the homes in the village. Armand Brossard had fourteen children. It is a French-Creole house which borrows from Anglo-American architecture. This is our last posting for Louisiana, Friday we are moving to Texas.

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