February 21, 2013
9th Annual Acadian Memorial Heritage Festival and Wooden Boat Congrès
*St. Martinville, La.*—On Saturday, March 16, 2013 the Acadian Memorial
will host its 9th annual heritage festival under the Evangeline Oak and
along the Bayou Teche. The festival is a celebration of Louisiana’s
distinct Cajun culture and heritage. It is free to the public and will
begin at 10am and last until 4pm, followed by a Cajun music jam session at
the Evangeline Oak until dusk. This year, we will honor the *Melancon
any and all representatives of those families to attend and participate in
this year’s festival.
Special guests include the International Acadian Festival of Plaquemines,
Louisiana’s Queen Evangeline, Miss Annette Stassi and her Princesses.
Representatives of the Melancon and Theriot families will be in attendance
and participate in the reenactment on the Bayou Teche along with members of
the Atakapa Ishak Nation and La Compagnie Franche de la Marine, who will
hold rifle musket and cannon fire demonstrations throughout the day.
Entertainment includes live Cajun music by La
performances by Renaissance Cadienne
boat Parade on the Bayou Teche, Reenactment
of the Arrival of the Acadians on the Bayou Teche, children’s hands-on
Mardi Gras with Cheri Armentor, Boussilliage Workshop by Lake Fausse
Patricia Hauth. Festival goers will also enjoy boudin and cracklin
cooking demonstrations, Cajun arts & crafts, free boat rides on the bayou,
antique car show, and antique wooden boat displays.
The Acadian Memorial Foundation has for the last eight years recognized the
historical value of the Pirogue by featuring it at its annual Wooden Boat
Congrès and in the Re-Enactment of the Arrival of the Acadians*.* Last
year, the Legislature of the State of Louisiana passed, on May 14, 2012,
House Concurrent Resolution 746 declaring *The Pirogue as The Official Boat
Of Louisiana,* so the Acadian Memorial Foundation has issued a Proclamation
declaring 2013 a*s The Year of the Cajun Wooden Pirogue*.
The Wooden Boat Congrès, brainchild of Director Eddie Bienvenu, began as a
means of honoring and displaying traditional South Louisiana vessels,
especially those indigenous to the Atchafalaya Swamp region like pirogues,
dugout canoes and chalons, known locally as "putt-putt" boats. Each year
boat enthusiasts come from all over Louisiana and even other states to
display their antique boats. A Re-enactment of the Arrival of the Acadians*
*is always a part of this festival, with costumed Acadians paddling
Also each year, the event honors someone who has shown outstanding
achievement in preserving or restoring traditional South Louisiana vessels.
Boaters are asked to vote and the winner is named *Monsieur ou Madame
Bateau de Bois – *Mr. or Ms. Wooden Boat*. *Yes, we do have several women
who bring their boats.
A Christening of The Pirogue will be conducted at the festival and an
authentic handmade Cajun Wooden Pirogue will be raffled. Raffle tickets are
$10 a chance and can be purchased from our board members and at the Acadian
Memorial. You can also purchase a ticket from the Acadian Memorial by phone
or online by using our PayPal donation button and typing “pirogue tickets”
in the notes box. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased right up
until the drawing on March 16th at 4pm.
All proceeds from the pirogue raffle will be used to fund an oral history
project in conjunction with the ULLafayette’s Center for Cultural and
Eco-Tourism <http://ccet.louisiana.edu/>. The project aims to record and
preserve the stories of those men and women who locate, remove, restore,
and rebuild the wooden boats of our ancestors found in the Atchafalaya
Basin area. Our project plans currently include developing educational
programs from the interviews in order to ensure that future generations
have the tools they need to preserve this aspect of our cultural heritage.
Additional details and updates can be found on our website,
www.acadianmemorial.org. Anyone interested in participating in this
cultural event, or for further information, please contact Michelle Johnson
at 337-394-2258 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
*The mission of the Acadian Memorial is to memorialize and document the
nearly 3,000 individuals of the Acadian Exile who came to Louisiana in the
mid-eighteenth century, found refuge and established a new life and a
distinct culture. *
Michelle Verret Johnson
Curator/Director of the Acadian Memorial
121 S. New Market St.
P.O. Box 379
St. Martinville, LA 70582