Festival International de Louisiane

As I have been reminded recently, there are a fair number of folks from out of state and even across the pond who check in on this blog from time to time. The content here is determinedly local so these folks deserve special praise for putting up with our Boudreaux and Thibodeaux shenanigans and wading through laws and lawsuits that don’t particularly make much sense–and aren’t intended to, by and large. One of the good things about this fight for fiber is that it doesn’t involve, for the most part, foolishness that we ourselves generate. (Lousianaians will affirm, I think, that we do a lot tripping over our own feet.) This one is being visited on us by outsiders. Makes it a little easier to take.

For those patient visitors who’ve offered sympathy during our travails, I offer up one of the better things about our culture and people in partial repayment: Festival International de Louisiane. Go thumb through the too-abreviated but handsomely designed site. (And hey, if you are from around here and not going, I say why not, cher? Get up and get yourself in gear.) The festival is the United States’ premiere francophone festival. Music from all over the world with an emphasis on French-speaking lands; a big juried craft fair, un place des infants, mixed drinks, great food stands (really), and dancing..lots of dancing…almost anywhere.

It’s a wonderful experience spread out over downtown’s three stages with activity also running along the turn of the century main downtown drag, Jefferson Street. The festival stages are new, with a clean design, spacious enough for a real crowd but not so large that anyone ends up out of sight or out of earshot. This is what they were designed for and the spaces work. The artwork and the crafts look out from your usual American fare and toward the Caribbean and Africa. There’s an energy and…well..joie de vivre. If you ever get the chance you should come. Folks get happily addicted.

It’s hard to capture the spirit, maybe impossible, but here are two moments from past festivals that might convey some sense: The fiddler, The dancer. What the heck..one more: Cajun dancin down on Jefferson Street.

And here’s the best part. If you’ve developed a certain sense of solidarity with Lafayette after following our efforts, you can participate in the festival with us virtually. During the next 4 days, (through Sunday, April the 24th) the festival’s fun will be streamed live via KRVS from the festival. Being with us in spirit might be a little more fun in the next few days than your reaction to most of the stuff you’ve found yourself being sympathetic about here. Give yourself a break, pop open a beer and pretend you’re down in Louisiana in April. It’s just starting to cool off, evening is falling, and the dance band is starting up a block down. Just as soon as you get up the energy you’re going to go down there too…

Thanks folks, for all the support from all over the country and the world. What we can give back we will… if at all possible, by remaining ourselves…

Lagniappe Update, Friday 4/22/o5: The Adverstiser has a nice backgrounder piece on the music that’s worth your review.

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