ERATH — The Acadian Museum of Erath is sponsoring a series of four workshops in Vermilion Parish to pass on Cajun traditions.
The workshops are being 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 Thursday's press release.
“The Passing It On grants strive to save the traditions of the parishes of Louisiana affected by coastal erosion,” says Warren Perrin, chairman of the Acadian Museum. “The livelihoods of Cajuns raised in the wetlands are being threatened and vital knowledge and traditions are disappearing with the marshlands. One of the core missions of the Acadian Museum is folklore transmission.”
They say nearly 30 years ago, a documentary featured many of their local traditions.
Perrin says, "In 1993, Dr. Patricia Sawin produced the Living Traditions of Vermilion, a series of programs that documents many aspects of our culture, such as children’s games, making accordions, chair caning, storytelling, and alligator hunting. Eventually, all of these programs will be available on the Acadian Museum’s YouTube channel.
The Passing It On project is another layer to the work they have been doing for nearly 30 years, they say, as it helps to identify and connect individuals who want to pass on traditions to younger generations.
The first workshop the museum plans to host on January 7 honors the work of Catherine Brookshire Blanchet, who collected Cajun folk songs and folk dances, they say. It will be held from 9:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. at the Vermilion Parish Library, 405 E. St Victor Street in Abbeville.
“One goal is to encourage Mrs. Blanchet’s many students to once more sing the songs she taught them, especially for their own grandchildren,” says Earlene Broussard, one of the facilitators. “Then, we will teach the round dances to the students in French Immersion at LeBlanc Elementary.” Broussard, a native of Kaplan, studied with Blanchet when she taught French at Abbeville High School in 1990s.
Natial d’Augereau, a native of Henry, will help sing and lead the dancing. She has performed with Renaissance Cadienne, the Abbey Players and the Woodlawn Players. “The preservation of les danses rondes are key to keeping alive our Cajun heritage in Vermilion Parish,” says d’Augereau.
“We are very excited to have recruited a new generation from Vermilion Parish to help us teach Mrs. Catherine’s round dances,” says Warren Perrin. “There are now students at UL who are studying French and are passionate about their Cajun heritage. That is what we also strive to do with our three other workshops.”
In February, they plan a workshop on Cajun Storytelling will help a younger generation to 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 10:00 A.M. , Elaine Bourque and Austin Clark will demonstrate the spinning and weaving of Acadian brown cotton to their program, highlighting the techniques of Madame Dronet. This workshop will take place at the Perrin Farm in Prairie Greig, 6805 Hwy 330 in Erath, Louisiana.
Pre-registration is required for the workshops. For more information about these workshops, call the Acadian Museum at 337-456-7729 or consult firstname.lastname@example.org. The Acadian Museum is located at 203 S. Broadway, Erath, Louisiana. It is open Tuesday through Friday from 1:00 P.M. -4:00 P.M. and Saturday 10:00 A.M. to noon.
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