Sharon and I love both Zydeco and Cajun Music so I wanted to learn more about their history. The Cajun people of Louisiana are said to have left France to settle Nova Scotia in Canada around 1605. By 1755 the the British ran them off and those seeking asylum found their way to south Louisiana. These exiled French people or Acadians (as they were called) brought with them a musical heritage that likely originated in medieval France. The word Cajun is said to have derived from the word Acadian. The music the Acadians preserved evolved into what is known today as Cajun Music!
Meanwhile another genre of music was developing in Southern Louisiana, Zydeco. The French-speaking Black Creoles of African descent were also evolving their historical music. It is said that Zydeco began as jure or hand-clapping and foot-stomping mostly used by black field hands. As jure evolved it became known as LaLa or la musique creole. Then in the late 1800’s local stores imported inexpensive accordions and both Creoles and Cajun musicians soon adopted them into their music.
While the Cajuns were adopting the diatonic or button accordion Zydeco later adopted the piano accordion and the washboard. Cajuns also later added the steel guitar, bass, drums, and and the fiddle. The Cajun music later incorporated the sounds of jazz as well as country and western into their music while Zydeco had adopted more soul and jazz. They both incorporated some elements of the blues as well.
Culturally speaking the Cajuns and Creoles have borrowed and influenced each others music over the years. Even today their sound is really not that too far apart, yet it remains distinct. I bring this up because if visitors want to immerse in not only the Cajun culture but into the Cajun and Zydeco music of southern Louisiana then Betty’s RV Park is a great place to be.
We have already enjoyed great music at a few classic locations here. The Museum Café in Erath hosts a Cajun Jam every other Saturday right next door to the Acadian Museum in the Le Café du Musée. The café also hosts the "Living Legends" program is a true Road Treat! Not only can one experience great Cajun Music here, but if you happen to be there on the right Saturday you might also witness a living legend become inducted. We were lucky to see both on this last trip as Lafayette Parish sheriff Don Breaux was inducted and, as you may or may not know, the owner of Betty’s RV Park, Betty Bernard, has also been inducted as a Living Legend!
Another day we visited Poppa’s on Dat River in Lafayette, La to enjoy another great Cajun band. Another treat on this day was when the band invited yet another living legend up to sing a few Cajun songs in French, Arconge Touchet, affectionately known as “T Coon. It really was cool listening to this 87 year old Cajun bellowing out his lyrics… One can only wonder at all this fellow has seen during his lifetime here in Southern Louisiana. It's that colorful mix of music, food, language, southern Louisiana culture, friendly and welcoming people that makes visiting here so absolutely delightful…
Laissez les bons temps rouler…