Thursday In St. Martinville
National Day of the Acadians annual celebration is a full day
of museum activities, including a family banner procession
and refreshments. Free admission, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fete-Dieu du Teche
The 5th annual Fete-Dieu du Teche Eucharistic Boat Procession
will take place throughout the day.
The big party celebrating the Acadian migration to North America starts this week. The sixth Congrés Mondial Acadien takes place from Aug. 10 to 24 on Prince Edward Island and in Southeastern New Brunswick. Their mission, and gathering every five years, is to bring together Acadians and anyone passionate about Acadian culture. The first Congrés was held in Lafayette but soon moved north — partly because Aug. 15, the National Day of the Acadians, is during the hottest part of summer in south Louisiana — and because the first stop in the passage from France was in Canada. Displacement went from there with many Acadians settling in the Nova Scotia, along the eastern coast before making their way to south Louisiana. Therefore, the true homecoming on this continent is in the northern region.
Always moving from place to place to encourage local and regional attendance, this year begins on Prince Edward Island for opening ceremonies and yet activities are sprinkled throughout neighboring communities as well. Representing Iberia Parish will be Nelwyn Hebert, who will also be revisiting the Hebert family reunion, one of many Acadian families gathering from around the world to meet their relatives — some for the first time.
A full list of activities is available at visit the dual language website CMA2019.ca. Too many activities to list them all, the closest explanation is that there will be a lot of people “passing a good time” together, Cajun style. Naturally — they are from the same ancestral DNA pool and know all about joie de vivre.
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser will lead a Louisiana delegation of tourism and cultural leaders to Canada. The Louisiana Office of Tourism will host a pavilion at one of the event’s main staging points in Moncton, New Brunswick. Hebert will be greeting family and friends on behalf of Iberia Parish, but any number of Acadiana residents are also traveling there.
Moriah Istre Hargrave Ph.D. and Elista Istre Ph.D. will premiere their film “First Cousins: Cajun and Creole Music in South Louisiana,” one of the most entertaining documentaries on the music culture of the Cajun Creole Zydeco family of musicians produced by local talent. Warren and Mary Perrin have a full schedule of events with Warren speaking at the Daigle Family Reunion in Richibucto. Together the couple is preserving and making history. They will launch their latest book at Congrés, “Seeking an Acadian Nation: The 1930 Diary of an Evangeline Girl.” Corinne Broussard kept a detailed journal of the 17-day 3,000 mile train trip, the first official Louisiana Acadian pilgrimage to Grand Pre, Nova Scotia, by Sen. Dudley J. LeBlanc, the Hadacal Man. Acadian Museum of Erath will be represented by Andy Perrin who will be recording events for local television during the Congrés.
Ray and Brenda Trahan are the Louisiana and Acadiana coordinators. Music will be provided by Zachary Richard, Terry Huval, Sam Broussard while other speakers and dignitaries such as Dr. Barry Ancelet, cover topics about the research and culture preserved in south Louisiana.
Artists will also be part of the party throughout the 14-day festival of events. Melissa Bonin, a favorite artist of former Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, will have an exhibit that starts Aug. 9 with an opening reception Aug. 20 featuring Ancelet and Richard. Performances across the celebration region will feature Wayne Toups and Louisiana’s Sweet Crude playing among groups from Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
It might be safe to say, they know how to throw a good party just like the people of Acadiana. In reality, they are the same people that make reunions fun learning experiences at home.