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Beausoleil Day

Fete to Honor 250th Anniversary of Acadian Arrival

Expelled from their home in Acadie, 202 refugees later to become known as Cajuns arrived in New Orleans 250 years ago. On Saturday (2.21), a program of readings, music, dance, and food at the Old U.S. Mint will commemorate that arrival at 2:30p.m.


Organizer Warren Perrin elaborates, “We are going to stage a two hour event that consists of historical readings of the only remain historical documents that record the arrival of Beausoleil and the Acadians. There will also be singing, dancing, praying—things that Acadians did when they arrived and what they experienced during they four months that they were in New Orleans.”


Highlights include performances by Bruce Daigrepont including his celebrated historical ballad, Acadie á La Louisiane. New Orleans based filmmaker Glen Pitre and Dr. Michael Vincent will act out the reports of the émigrés arrival by Acting Gov. Aubry and Denis-Nicolas Foucault. Perrin says that the afternoon will end on a “optimistic note” with a song from the third grade students at Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans.


The nations of France and Canada will both send official representatives as well.


The event marking the sestercentennial was inspired by a book co-authored  by Perin along with his wife Mary Broussard Perrin, and frequent collaborator Phil Comeau. Acadie: Then and Now is a people’s history of the Acadians told through 65 different articles. However, the book and forum are just two elements in a larger celebration of the anniversary called the Grande Reveil.


Perrin tells NoDef, “The word connotes the reawakening. It’s similar to reveillon dinners in New Orleans.”


The day is intended to provide a reminder of the past as well as the special role that Acadians still play. “Every group of Francophone that came to Louisiana assimilated except for one the Acadians,” Perrin says as he explains how the people completed transplanted their culture across the continent. “And, they fought for two hundred and fifty year to make sure that those efforts weren't in vain.”


Perrin notes that only one half of one percent of New Orleans residents indicated Cajun ancestry in the last census, yet the culture is ubiquitous. “It’s hard to walk through the French Quarter and not hear Cajun music, or see ads for Cajun food or culture. Clearly one of the facts that the non assimilation of the Acadians is a vital part of our tourist industry. It was not intended this way, but it is unintended effect. We didn’t become a Disneyland. Other groups came to North America to be Americas, but we did not. We are a culture that developed entirely in North America. It developed in Acadie and was transplanted to Louisiana. That benefits everyone. Tourists come to see a culture that has not become a Disneyland or a caricature of itself.”


Organizers were emphatic about the community support they have received including National Park Service; the Louisiana State Museum; Gregor Trumel the French Consul-Gen. of New Orleans; the French American Chamber of Commerce;; Perrin & Associates Architects; the Boudreaux Family Association; CODOFIL-West Bank Chapter; CODOFIL; the Francophone Section of the Louisiana State Bar Association; Andrepont Printing, Inc.; CAFA Inc., Good Old Cajun seasonings; Gerami Academy of Fine Arts; New Orleans Conventions and Tourist Bureau; the Acadian Memorial; Renaissance Cadienne; NAP; Festivals Acadiens et Creoles; and Louisiane-Acadie GRA2015.

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