San Rafael Valley, AZ ~~ Photo by Bill Haas

Friday, April 10, 2009

LIBERTY THEATER, Prairie Acadian Cultural Center, Eunice

Painstakingly and lovingly restored, the Liberty Theater, formerly a 1924 movie house, is now home to Rendez-Vous des Cajuns, a Saturday evening live radio broadcast.  It features different Cajun bands every week and is part of the National Park Service's Prairie Acadian Cultural Center.

The story goes that an itinerant painter offered to paint the theater's six murals in exchange for a warm and dry place to sleep.  He was obviously not trained at any Ecole d'Art,  but his scantily-clad maidens cheered up the walls, and no one paid any attention to the fact one of them had six fingers!

Miss Claudia wears many hats.  Here she announces the evening's band line up on Radio Acadie, KRVS.  Anyone using the microphone, makes announcements in two languages, the first in French!  The Cajun French Music Association is a major influence in these Cajun communities; almost all songs are sung in French; and the songs, instruments, dances, cuisine and culture have been proudly and meticulously preserved.
Some of the players...

Once the music starts, no one sits still.

Making sure the beat gets passed on to the next generation...

And this was one happy "dancer"!  The joy on his little face -- be still my heart!

Now, back to your desk Miss Claudia!  Isn't she fortunate not to be tied to it?
Besides hosting music sessions, cooking and weaving demonstrations, the Center contains exhibits and artifacts that do a superb job showcasing the history of the region's unique music.