ERATH – The Acadian Museum of Erath is sponsoring a series of four workshops in Vermilion Parish to transmit Cajun traditions.
The workshops are funded by the Louisiana Folklore Society, the National Endowment of the Arts, the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, according to the press release on Thursday.
“The Passing It On grants aim to save the traditions of parishes in Louisiana affected by coastal erosion,” explains Warren Perrin, president of the Acadian Museum. “The livelihoods of Cajuns raised in the wetlands are threatened and vital knowledge and traditions are disappearing with the swamps. One of the main missions of the Acadian Museum is the transmission of folklore.
They say that almost 30 years ago a documentary showcased many of their local traditions.
Perrin says: “In 1993, Dr. Patricia Sawin produced the Living Traditions of Vermilion, a series of programs that document many aspects of our culture, such as children’s games, accordion making, chair caning, storytelling and alligator hunting. Finally, all of these programs will be available on the Acadian Museum’s YouTube channel.
The Passing It On project is another layer of the work they’ve been doing for almost 30 years, they say, as it helps identify and connect people who want to pass traditions on to younger generations.
The first workshop the museum plans to host on January 7 honors the work of Catherine Brookshire Blanchet, who has brought together Cajun folk songs and dances, they say. It will be held from 9:30 am to 11:30 am at the Vermilion Parish Library, 405 E. St Victor Street in Abbeville.
“One of the goals is to encourage Ms. Blanchet’s many students to take up the songs she taught them, especially for their own grandchildren,” explains Earlene Broussard, one of the facilitators. “Next, we will teach round dances to French immersion students at LeBlanc Elementary. Broussard, originally from Kaplan, studied with Blanchet when she taught French at Abbeville High School in the 1990s.
Natial d’Augereau, native of Henry, will participate in the singing and lead the dance. She has performed with Renaissance Cadienne, the Abbey Players and the Woodlawn Players. “Preserving the round dance is essential to keeping our Cajun heritage alive in Vermilion Parish,” says d’Augereau.
“We are very happy to have recruited a new generation from Vermilion Parish to help us teach the Mrs. Catherine Round Dances,” says Warren Perrin. “There are now students at UL who study French and are passionate about their Cajun heritage. This is what we are also striving to do with our other three workshops.
In February, they are planning a Cajun storytelling workshop that will help a younger generation tell jokes and stories in French. On March 19, the workshop, chaired by Mary Perrin, will highlight the healing traditions of Acadiana.
On April 2, starting at 10 a.m., Elaine Bourque and Austin Clark will demonstrate the spinning and weaving of Acadian brown cotton in their program, showcasing Madame Dronet’s techniques. This workshop will be held at Perrin Farm in Prairie Greig, 6805 Hwy 330 in Erath, Louisiana.
Pre-registration is required for the workshops. For more information on these workshops, call the Acadian Museum at 337 456-7729 or see [email protected] The Acadian Museum is located at 203 S. Broadway, Erath, Louisiana. It is open Tuesday to Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to noon.
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