The Cajun Reconnection (Gravy Ep. 25)

A 1936 photo of one of the first events reconnecting Cajuns and Acadians. It was taken at the Grand-Pre, the national historic site where the largest settlement of Acadians was before the expulsion of the mid 1700’s. That's Simon Thibault's great uncle, Francois Comeau, on the far right. Photo courtesy of Simon Thibault.

How is a region of the far north—Canada—intimately connected to a region 2,000 miles away in the Deep South? It’s a story that begins 250 years ago, and involves both loss and reunification, the reconnection of a people with shared ancestry.

In this episode of Gravy, Simon Thibault looks at how a bunch of Acadians, the cousins of the Cajuns of Louisiana, came to understand their extended family through copious meals of gumbo, boudin, jambalaya and everything étouffé’d that they can eat.

This group of Acadians, some of whom have made a life in Lafayette, not only found a second home, but a second family in Louisiane. They’ve learned what it truly meant to be un bon cadien, and subsequently looked at their own Acadian identity, and how and where culture is transmitted through generations.

The 1936 reconnection of Cajuns and Acadians at Grand-Pre, the national historic site where the largest settlement of Acadians was before the expulsion of the mid 1700’s. Photo courtesy of Simon Thibault.
The 1936 reconnection of Cajuns and Acadians at Grand-Pre, the national historic site where the largest settlement of Acadians was before the expulsion of the mid 1700’s. Photo courtesy of Simon Thibault.

You can read more about Barry Ancelet’s research here… Or in this fascinating essay he wrote about the signs of Cajun cultural identity in Louisiana.

The Tintamarre at the Festival Acadien de Clare. Photo by Simon Thibault.
The Tintamarre at the Festival Acadien de Clare. Photo by Simon Thibault.

You can learn more about the Festival Acadien de Clare, which Simon attends in the story, here. And if you’re up for a Cajun festival that combines food and music (and dancing!), check out the Black Pot Festival.

The Tintamarre at the Festival Acadien de Clare. Photo by Simon Thibault.
The Tintamarre at the Festival Acadien de Clare. Photo by Simon Thibault.

You can find some of the music featured in this story—plus a whole lot more wonderful music of Louisiana—through Valcour Records.