Into Louisiana and fun in Lafayette
After Texas it was the long drive to Lafayette, Louisiana, for some Cajun experiences. These were farcical at first when we arrived at the Ready Stay Inn and it took three hours to get into our room. If you're ever here avoid the place. Nothing works. Things picked up when we went for a Cajun meal at Randol's where a band called Low Maintenance were playing. From there we went to the Cajun jam at the Blue Moon which was crowded, noisy and not very satisfactory as we couldn't hear anything.
Thursday saw us head out of town to St Martinville, which I last visited in 1989. There's a memorial there by the Bayou Teche to Evangeline, the subject of Longfellow's poem, and it's a pretty place with Spanish oaks and a view of the bayou. We went on to pay our respects to the King of zydeco Clifton Chenier, at his grave in Loreauville and his former club, now seemingly disused. We also had a look at New Iberia, the only town in the area with Spanish origins, and the newly opened Bayou Teche museum.
In the evening we joined the great and good of Lafayette at the world premiere of a new film called First Cousins - Cajun and Creole Music in South Louisiana, which charts the origins of the black and white French speaking communities in the area and the links between Cajun and zydeco music. Featured in the film and in many cases on stage were some of the greats, including D L Menard, now in a wheelchair, Rockin' Dopsie Jr, Wayne Toups, Nathan Williams, Steve Riley and Geno Delafose. Later, on stage at Warehouse 535 we enjoyed the latter two perform. Steve, with the Mamou Playboys, is my favourite Cajun artist and this was, as ever, an excellent show mixing traditional Cajun music with some more modern styles. He switched between accordion and fiddle and was excellent on both. Afterwards I asked him if there was any chance that Lil Band of Gold might reform. That, he said, was down to C C Adcock, but of course they first have to find replacements for keyboard player David Egan And drummer Jockey Etienne who have died. One name he mentioned was a really exciting one, but I had better not say who. Geno Delafose and French Rocking Boogie also put on a great show with some hard rocking bluesy zydeco. A great evening.
Today we are off to New Orleans. Photos to follow.