This past weekend I spent some time in a place called Pontchartrain (appropriatly the namsake of a beautiful lake in Louisiana) for a cajun music festival. The festival was really nice and super well put together for its first year of operation. I was extremely impressed and I really had a great time there.
When I got to the Ponchartrain Festival I wondered around the grounds to try to assess the entire situation that I found myself in. Wandering into the main dance hall I peeked in on a sound check for a band. I thought to myself, “well, those are some pretty cute guys in the band”. Who other than the Lost Bayou Ramblers had arrived in France FINALLY. I had been waiting to see all of them for days. Some good Cajun jams! It was like a saturday night at home (except for having to endure the occasional line dance). An amazing weekend ensued of people who got my jokes about Banjo players and laughed when i said “mais”, just like home.
And I wonder again, why am I here? Oh yeah that whole thing about enriching my appreciation of where I am from and stuff.
But really though my adventure so far has really made me appreciate the things I have at home. The people in Louisiana are truly an amazing sort. Kind, hospitable, talented and diverse. Some people may argue that the people from Louisiana are ultra conservative, closed-minded people stuck in the past. Compared to the people who say these things though, the people of Louisiana are more advanced than they. Over here racism is a huge issue and the racial language is pretty shocking. Also their conception of stereotypes is totally off. Perhaps it is the fact that the US is an immigrant country but I find that the US is much more carefull with their political correctness. Use of racial slurs and racial profiles here are
the norm not taboo and mostly in conversation no one stands up for the underdog.
Hearing the LBR made me feel like I was right back at home. I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry a little bit. Those boys put on an amazing show! So much energy, so together, so much diversified talent, so much bass! They are total rockstars. I loved them at home but seeing them outside of La was a totally different experience. It was hard to say goodbye to that and I wish it had gone on longer.
Louis talked a lot about what is going on on the coast right now. I think it really communicated to the people that heard him how we as a people in Louisiana are feeling right now. I’m very glad he talked about as much as he did and in the way that he did. It brought the situation out of the news and in front of people. It was no longer an interview with someone edited into sound bites for time. It was a citizen, far from home, speaking from the heart about what is happening to his home. Anyone who knows Louis knows that he does a lot for the preservation and the studies of Louisiana wildlife. I don’t think there was a better person to represent us at this time and he did an amazing job at it. It seems like the people of Louisiana are feeling as hopeless and frustrated as I do over here. It is very frustrating when something is happening and there is nothing you can do about it. This situation isn’t like a natural disaster, you can’t just throw benefits and raise money and collect clothes, there has to be DIRECT action. Stuff needs to HAPPEN and so when you aren’t doing anything then you feel helpless and desperate for things to go into motion. I’m amazed what the Dirty Cajuns are doing in Louisiana. If they can’t directly affect the spill they are bringing awareness to the state of our coast. They are out there cleaning beaches and getting people involved in the process. I was so very proud when I saw footage on their website of a family in their bathing suits, obviously on vacation, helping to load trash into the trucks. Those two parents were setting an amazing example for their young daughter. So to anyone out there who wants to get involved go to dirtycajuns.com they are posting some great news and doing some amazing work for our coast.
Emilieinparis (from Loirs-Pontchartrain)