Music is a huge draw in St. Landry Parish, and nobody knows that better than Herman Fuselier. You may know him from the "Zydeco Stomp", his long running Zydeco Radio show on KRVS.
Fuselier says, "This is the home of Zydeco. Zydeco music has had four Grammy winners and three of them are from St. Landry Parish."
Fuselier is also the Executive Director of the St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission. He remembers well going from stompin' to stillness. "We had just had a big jam session here, and that following week things started closing and the bottom really started falling out."
With nobody traveling, people were missing out on a great St. Landry attraction. The facility is located on I-49 at the US 167 interchange. Fuselier adds, "It was built to be an attraction. We have a theme of reclaim and recycle here."
They use the natural landscape as the foundation of the visitors center. They even collect their own rain water, they use wind power, and there's plenty of natural lighting.
Fuselier says, "The visitors center stayed closed for at least a couple of months and we came back with a lot of safeguards in place. Since St. Landry Parish is made up of so many small communities, cancelled festivals was like a punch below the belt.
"Some places like the Port Barre Cracklin Festival, that's their main event of the year. The Zydeco Festival here in Opelousas, that's huge for us!" The Zydeco Festival was more like missing family.
"We still love to Zydeco, we still love the music. For a lot of people it's a chance to come back home. It's always like a family reunion."
What about upcoming festivals in 2021? Fuselier says, "We have the Sunset Herb festival. It is going to happen again. The Zydeco Capital Jam is the second Saturday of every month. We have a jam session where a professional musician would come in and lead. Anyone who'd want to play a rub board, an accordian, or a fiddle could play. Some would just come tap their toes. It gotten to be really popular."
St. Landry thinks big, because it IS big! "Way back in the day almost the whole corner of southwest Louisiana was St. Landry Parish. It's still a big parish, 12 municipalities, all of them unique in certain ways. We're so proud of the music, food, arts and culture we have here.
You take so many things for granted when you live in a place.This place is pretty special and we need to support it, and some did which is pretty great.", adds Fuselier.
Start your visit at the St. Landry Parish Tourism Center at I-49, exit 23. You may find something you never knew about, and it's a great place to start your journey across St. Landry parish.