nouvelles de villes
Duke Erikson, Allison McGourty, and Bernard MacMahon together created, wrote and produced “American Epic.” MacMahon directed the films as well.
photo courtesy “American Epic”
Film Features Cajun Musicians
A new three-part documentary executive produced by Robert Redford, “American Epic,” featuring various Cajun musicians in addition to Elton John, Steve Martin and Willie Nelson, is slated to air in mid-2017 on PBS and BBC. The musicians were filmed using a reconstruction of America’s first electrical recording system. The piece examines the trailblazing era from the 1920s when record companies toured America with a recording machine to capture the raw music of ordinary blues, country, gospel, folk and Cajun musicians. The project sparked a cultural revolution that gave a voice to the nation’s poorest. Redford describes it as “America’s greatest untold story.” Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings will release a companion series of archival recordings featuring ground-breaking audio restoration, while Third Man Records will release a deluxe box of vinyl records (americanpie.com). Among those Cajun musicians appearing in the film are husband-and-wife duo Joe and Cleoma Falcon and the Lost Bayou Ramblers. The group has released their new Aloha Golden Meadow limited edition beer, born of their latest musical endeavors, the Aloha Golden Meadow single and Cote Clair.
Grammy Nominees Party
After three Acadiana groups were nominated for the Best Regional Roots Album as part of the “59th Annual Grammy Awards, “ which is broadcast live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. on Feb.12, Vermilionville hosted a send-off “Gateway to the Grammys” party that featured nominees Barry Ancelet and Sam Broussard, Joshua Caffery and 10-time Grammy nominee Joel Savoy, Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars. The star-studded soirée was broadcast live on KRVS 88.7 FM, housed on the University of Louisiana, Lafayette campus.
TOPS Cuts Give Rise to Out-migration
While many of Louisiana’s 50,000 TOPS students have had to scramble to come up with funds for their Spring, 2017 semester due to the state’s unprecedented budget cuts, leaving most students with a 41.8 percent tuition shortfall, universities are reporting that our brightest and best are consequently exploring more out-of-state college options, while enrollment in the National Guard has spiked by 20 percent. UL/Lafayette, which has around 7,000 TOPS students, is offering up to $1,000 (for the current semester) for its most needy students and up to $1,400 (for the current semester) through campus jobs. Payment plans have been extended from three installments to four. Legislators devoted to reversing the crisis hope to find around $89 million more to fund TOPS fully for the 2017-18 academic year.
World Championship mudbugs
Put on your dancing shoes and arrive hungry for the 32nd annual World Championship Crawfish Etouffée Cook-off in Eunice, where more than 100 professional chefs and amateur cooks compete during the free March 26 festival. After sampling the etouffée and boiled crawfish, couples twirl to the music of live Cajun and zydeco bands while the kids enjoy a petting zoo and pony rides (etouffeecookoff.org).
Honored in Quebec
Congratulations to Dr. William Arceneaux, president of CODOFIL. He was chosen as a recipient of L’Ordre des Francophone d’Amerique by the High Council on the French Language in Quebec for his lifelong commitment and unending devotion to French in Acadiana and beyond.
A new south Louisiana-styled interior design and décor studio featuring everything from lighting to bedding, and chandeliers to furniture recently opened in Breaux Bridge. Housed in a renovated former antique store located at 115 Rees St. (337-298-9768, cmacconstruction.com/antiquity), Antiquity is the brainchild of designer Lisa McDaniel and her husband, Beau — who has been building custom homes in South Louisiana for 13 years. They are co-owners of C. Mac Construction, which specializes in custom homes. Lisa’s creative vision inspires her clients through individualized consultations for their homes.
McNeese Band Headed for London
The Pride of McNeese Marching Band has received a prestigious invitation to the 2018 London New Year’s Day Parade and Festival from the former Lord Mayor of the City of Westminster and Senior Parade Patron Catherine Longworth, who is representing Queen Elizabeth. Only 16 American bands and two university marching bands have been chosen to perform for the 32nd annual parade, which is expected to attract more than 650,000 spectators and over 350 million viewers for the worldwide TV broadcast.
Have you ever tried rabbit gumbo? Head to the Iowa Rabbit Festival March 17 and 18 where over 20,000 people gather annually to enjoy rabbit dishes galore, a rabbit cook-off, the Miss Bunny and Petit Lapin beauty pageants, carnival rides, local crafts, live Cajun and zydeco music (iowarabbitfestival.org).
The 61st annual Louisiana Folklore Society meeting is being held at the McIlhenny Archives at Avery Island March 10-11. The Society invites proposals for papers and other types of presentations on any aspect of Louisiana folklore, folklife and traditional artists throughout the state. Scholars, folk artists, musicians, students, and others interested in local Louisiana cultures are encouraged to participate. Submit 250-word abstracts for presentations via email to Jennifer Ritter Guidry, firstname.lastname@example.org. The next Folklorists Retreat is taking place at the Gray Center in Canton, Mississippi April 7 to 9. The gathering of academic, public sector and freelance community scholars as well as graduate student folklorists will include networking, panels and professional development opportunities, so save the date.
The many intriguing and influential people and events that have shaped Terrebonne Parish are showcased in a beautiful new coffee table history book, “Terrebonne Parish: Stories of the Good Earth” (HPN Books, $39.95). The heavily illustrated volume contains more than 100 historic photographs, maps and paintings. Available at bookstores, amazon.com and through the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce, the book’s historical narrative was written by Rachel Cherry, executive director of the Southdown Plantation House/Terrebonne Historical and Cultural Society. On March 18, the Southdown Marketplace for Arts and Crafts festival is held at Southdown Plantation House featuring more than 300 local and national vendors, Cajun cuisine and tours of the plantation and museum.
Agency Wins Big
Entries from 22 countries were submitted for the recent Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the world’s preeminent business award for female entrepreneurs and executives. Lafayette-based brand communications agency BBR picked up a Stevie Award in New York as winner of the Fastest Growing Business of the Year.
Zachary Richard’s Video
Singer Zachary Richard and “Les Etoiles d’Ibérie” immersion students from North Lewis Elementary in New Iberia recently released a French song, “La Belle Vie,” which can be downloaded at lesetoilesdiberie.com (sales benefit French education in Louisiana). The students star in a new music video filmed by Eric Breaux that features New Iberia landmarks including Avery Island and Shadows-on-the-Teche. Richard co-wrote the song with the children. “We managed to write a song during my visit in the spring of 2016 and the project was launched,” he said. “With the help and support of the whole community, we were able to record the song and shoot the video.”