Posts Tagged ‘Lafayette’

Acadian Village

A place that surprises us in so may ways.  We thought Acadian Village was just another tourist attraction, with the additional advantage of being able to stay, with our little RV, hooked to power on “the grounds”.  When we pull into where we think we’re supposed to park,  we notice quite a few buildings near us that are geared to clients of some social programs, but we can’t read/decipher the signs.  We’re the only people here – I have to admit to being concerned for a moment.  Is it a safe place – who are the clients?  Will they be here tonight, or in the morning?  But, forget that – we make sure the campsite will work for level and power, etc. and head right back to Randol’s in Lafayette, because it’s supposed to be a great for Cajun music/dancing/eating. It’s rocking – we eat, and dance one dance.  Because, by gosh, we were going to dance down here in Louisiana.  But, in reality, we feel like we’re dancing in small-town Wisconsin. Is it the accordian?

The next morning, we hear lots of buses, cars and vans arriving.  We walk over to the Acadian Village General Store to get our tickets to tour, and hear that the clients are going to be having a big shindig today. We finally understand that LARC stands for the Louisiana Association for Retarded Citizens, and that this great historical park exists to fund their programs.  So, while we start touring historical buildings, all kinds of God’s children come into the park, some in wheelchairs, some with aides, some just helping one another along the paths.  They’re having a big barbecue party on the far side of the park, so we hear the pounding music and hear their laughter while we tour the village.  And it’s wonderful.

The Navion "campsite"through an historical window

Acadian Village

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Lafeyette is at the heart of Acadiana and we’re here for the Acadian village museums, the food and the music.  We start with Vermillionville, a Cajun/Creole Heritage and Folklife  Park (Vermillionville is the original name of what is now modern-day Lafayette).  True to form, we start our visit with the on-site restaurant, La Cuisine de Maman, because it was listed in our “1000 Things to See Before You Die -U.S” book.  It was just fine, and if we hadn’t such high expectations we probably would have liked it a lot more. Being in our 60’s now, we’re getting a bit finicky about the 100o things we have left to do here, let alone in foreign countries.  We have no regrets about this visit, though.

Vermillionville home

It’s a pretty park to roam at leisure – lots of historical buildings, some of them with crafts demonstrations and  Cajun/Creole musicians in the schoolhouse.  One of our favorite simple pleasures was coming across a rope-pulled wooden ferry, and pulling ourselves to the other side of the river.

Next, we head to the nearby Acadian Cultural Center.  It’s a good introduction to the history of Acadiana, starting with the deportation of the french Acadians from Canada, their settling in this part of Louisiana and how their distinctive culture still thrives We love coming full circle-last year we did the Evangeline trail in Nova Scotia, so we’ve now followed the story from beginning to end. Or maybe I should say, to another beginning.

St. Martin de Tours Church

After a stop at a lovely church square in St. Martinsville and a visit to St. Martin de Tours, the Mother Church of the Cajuns, we end the evening with dinner at Mulate’s in Breaux Bridge, with a Cajun band and crawfish dinner. We may have missed the best dancing part of the night – there were people in the parking lot putting on boots as they got out of their cars as we left.

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