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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

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ORAL HISTORY

Vincent Fontenot


United States National Park Ranger - Prairie Acadian Cultural Center

When Vincent Fontenot’s parents moved from Louisiana to Texas following World War II, so that Vincent’s father could work in the petro-chemical industry there, they couldn’t have guessed that their future son would turn into one of Acadiana’s greatest boosters and cultural preservationists. Vincent grew up in Texas with his parents speaking Cajun-French at home, and he visited Louisiana often as a boy and loved to eat boudin sausage. Still, it wasn’t until he moved to Louisiana at the age of twenty-one that he really delved into his Cajun roots. At one point, Vincent simultaneously operated a saloon in Eunice, played in a Cajun band, and worked part-time for the National Park Service. Eventually, he helped found the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice, using many of his own belongings as artifacts to start the museum’s collection. He is now a ranger and educator at the Center, fielding visitors’ questions on every Cajun topic—from the Acadians’ exile from Nova Scotia in 1755, to why so few boudin outlets specialize in blood boudin these days. For the truly boudin-curious, Vincent even has tips on how to turn the sausage into a dip using Velveeta cheese.

Date of interview:
2008-06-19

Interviewer:
Sara Roahen

Photographer:
Sara Roahen

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