long with the gumbo pots, the fall brings out our culturally rich music and dance steps shared by locals and visitors celebrating our season of festivals.

To enhance our culturally rich experiences in 2022 the children of Vermilion Parish now have a folk roots music project spearheaded by the Fine Arts and French Immersion Supervisor, Madeline DeHart.

This project is to be funded through a $7,500 grant recently awarded to the Vermilion Arts Council from the Louisiana Division of the Arts by way of the Acadiana Center for the Arts. Together with matching funds provided by the Kaplan Arts Council, Vermilion Arts Council, and the Al Berard Memorial Fund, the programwill have $12,500 to carry out the only project of its kind in the state.

Rene Rost Guitar Club

“Initially, this all started as a simple, after school fiddle club at LeBlanc Elementary, but because of the growing interest in French immersion programs throughout the parish, the popularity of “Lâche pas is also spreading,” said DeHart. DeHart also added, “Nearly 80 students at five of our parish schools will receive Louisiana folk roots music and Louisiana French instruction every week.”

The five parish schools and instructors participating in this culturally enriching experience are:

  • Jason Harrington and Lauren Schexnayder – Fiddlers at LeBlanc Elementary
  • Christ Vincent and Madeline DeHart – Guitar at Rene Rost Middle and Gueydan High
  • Kylie Griffin – Erath Middle Fiddlers and Zydeco Band
  • Justin Simon and Ryan Abshire – Guitar J. H. Williams in Abbeville

Folk roots music and French instruction will help preserve the rich heritage that we celebrate as culture.

While the pandemic removed some of our opportunities to teach the next generation about our rich culture, this project, “Lâche pas la musique en Vermilion” will go a long way toward expanding the cultural livelihood formed by language, dance and music.

Upcoming events to look forward to:

During the spring of 2022, Vermilion Parish Schools will be reintroducing a revival of the parish-wide dance jamboree under a new name and focus. The parish Fais do do will invite all 3rd graders throughout Vermilion Parish

Schools to engage in a Cajun Waltz, a Louisiana Two-Step, Zydeco line dances, among others.

Stay informed by joining the Vermilion French Immersion group page on Facebook.

Originally published in Abbeville Meridional on 12/28/21