In Early October, Nicholls State University hosted a symposium on the particularly unique history and culture of certain Acadian descendants in both Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes, according to this new release from Nicholls. The symposium, which is titled: “The Last Acadian Coast: A Symposium on Acadian History and Culture in the Lafourche-Terrebonne” was held on Wednesday, October 5, 2022, in the Jean Lafitte Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
The event is hosted by Nicholls State University, the Nicholls Coastal Center, the Center for Bayou Studies at Nicholls, the Lafourche Heritage Society, and the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center. Additionally, this event is a part of the larger Grand Réveil Acadien 2022, which is a multi-parish experience that is designed to celebrate the lasting cultural impact of the Acadian people across southern Louisiana.
The Last Acadian Coast’s Symposium on Acadian history and culture in the Lafourche Terrebonne Area did so by featuring several notable speakers at their public event who spoke on the Acadians of the wetlands. The following speakers and topics were featured at the event:
- Glen Pitre, “Historic Lifeways in the Lafourche-Terrebonne”
- John Doucet, “The Last Acadian Coast: Settlement and Succession of the Wetlands Acadians”
- Windell Curole, “Shaped by Tide and Thunder and Terror: Historical Storms and the Shaping of Coastal Settlement in the Lafourche-Terrebonne”
- Nathalie Dajko, “French on Shifting Ground: Development of Unique Language in the Lafourche-Terrebonne”
- Donald (Don) Davis, ”Historical Wetlands Seafood Culture and Industry”
- Patty Whitney, “A Cultural Gumbo: Terrebonne Parish’s 200th Anniversary”
- Shana Walton & Helen Regis, ”Living off the Land in Lafourche: Hunting, Fishing, Planting and Community”
Prior to the “Last Acadian Coast” symposium, an event a part of Grand Réveil Acadien took place at Nicholls State University’s Chef John Folse Culinary Institute. The event was an “Acadian Chef Demo,” and it featured Chef Paul Thimot and Chef Shane Robicheau who cooked and prepared a traditional Acadian dish while highlighting the culture and food of Acadian culture and Nova Scotia in both the past and present.
After the “Last Acadian Coast” symposium, Grand Réveil Acadien also featured a Cajun Music Demonstration & Lecture at the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center. This demonstration and lecture featured Chad Huval on accordion and Brazos Huval on fiddle as they demonstrated Cajun Music techniques while also teaching about the history of Cajun music and the preservation of music specific to Bayou Lafourche.
In providing more information on the Acadian descendants of both Lafourche and Terrebonne Parish, Nicholls provided the following information: “the migration of Acadian exiles to Louisiana largely concluded in 1785 with the landing of seven-passenger ships in New Orleans carrying nearly 1600 persons. Following earlier establishments of the First and Second Acadian Coast settlements along the Mississippi River, most of the 1785 Acadian immigrants were settled along the Bayous Lafourche and Terrebonne.”
The arrival of the Acadian immigrants didn’t only the largest single migration and settlement of Acadians in the entire world, but it also marked the final mass re-settlement of Acadians in history. Over time, these Acadian immigrants migrated south along the bayous toward the Gulf Coast, and they founded “not only the bayouside cities, towns, and villages we know today but also forging their own history and developing a unique wetlands Cajun culture.”
Furthermore, Grand Réveil Acadien described their multi-parish experience as a way to “encourage Acadians from around the world to continue to advance our unique lifestyle through shared memories, French-speaking events, bonding and fellowship over Cajun food and music, and the general celebration of our shared culture.” Because of this, there is no better sponsor than Nicholls State University to host a symposium on the rich tapestry of the history of Acadian people in both LaFourche and Terrebonne Parishes.
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