Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Young Cajun Girl Celebrates Bastille Day...

Young lady dances the two-step and steals the show!

This is my second year celebrating Bastille Day at the local library here in Folsom, LA. Bastille Day, which is celebrated in Louisiana every July 14th, herald's France's independence from the monarchy way back in the guillotine days of 1789. The program presents a mixed bag of American, French, American Indian, and Acadian history and how each contributed to the culture of southern Louisiana over the past three or four hundred years. The speaker is a friend of mine, Bernie David, who is part Acadian and part Mi'kmaq Indian, and one who brought along with his folklore, bag of artifacts, percussion instruments and native indian customs, his accordion.

And, two other Cajun musicians, Ed Delaony on violin and Gill Gerard, on acoustic guitar.

It didn't take long to get the blood stirring and the toes 'a tappin'.  Let me tell you, historical forays into Lewis and Clark, the War of 1812 and the Louisiana purchase, are all well and, well... educational, but it all pales when compared with that "chanka, chanka, chanka rhythm and bayou whine of Bernie's accordion. After a spirited singalong of "You are my Sunshine," it didn't take long for many in the audience to kick up their heels on the makeshift dance floor in a waltz or two step shuffle.
As there was at last year's program, an aged dance instructor from the "Northshore Cajun Dancers" club, offered lessons to any of the ladies who might be so bold to try and follow his lead and Bernie's Ah-EEEEEEE! He managed to intercept a few prospects as they went back for second helpings of jambalaya and boudin, which was excellently prepared by the library volunteers. 

During the two hour program, Bill managed to instruct just about half of the ladies there to the finer points of the two step, but the best and most entertaining student he had was a young lady named Haley, who managed to keep up with him and actually do it with a little bit of her own "pizzazz!" She and Bill had everyone laughing and clapping along until her sandal got caught on the rug and they both came crashing down to the carpet. Bill, who must be well into his seventies, bounced right back up with a little help, but Haley seemed embarrassed and ran off to her mother who was standing back behind the book rack.

But after the initial fear that someone might have gotten hurt in the fall, the audience's gasp turned into applause as they encouraged the little lady to come back out and finish the song.

And with everyone's approval and a big smile, Haley came back out to "center stage," took Bill's hand and did just that!

Copyright 2012/Ben Bensen III

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