I have enjoyed Cajun music and food for as long as I remember. Despite growing up in New Orleans, I never made it west of Houma. So I made sure to take the time when I went to New Orleans this month. Here is what I found with the music. The food will be covered next weekend.
Saturday Jam at Savoy Music Center
The high point of the Cajun music experience was the Saturday morning jam session at the Savoy Music Center run by Marc and Ann Savoy. They have recorded a lot of CDs and I loaded up on a few at the store. Every Saturday there is a Cajun music jam from 9AM to noon. The music goes non-stop and players come and go but the number seemed to stay around twenty. Marc and Ann’s son, Wilson, has a great band, the Pine Leaf Boys, that I saw in New Orleans in 2006 at the French Quarter Festival. Wilson joined in for the last thirty minutes.
It is a small room and most people know each other as it is a regular community event but everyone was very welcoming to me. A lot of French was spoken. I sat next to Charles Guillory, who played the triangle and lives near by. He was generous with his time and shared a lot about the area and the players. One was in his 90s and others were in their teems or younger.
Great food was shared. There was some hot boudin sausage, pecan pie, and red velvet cake. Charles got up and brought back some hogshead cheese. I probably do not want to know what is in it but it was delicious and I had more. The time flew and I will be sure to make this a must do event whenever I come back. The Savoy Music center is located at 4413 Louisiana Route 190 just east of Eunice. Here is my friend Paul Tamburello’s post on it, Mardi Gras in Lafayette: A Cajun Jam at Marc Savoy's Music Store.
That afternoon I went to a Cajun music jam session Vermillionville in Lafayette, There is a session 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM every Saturday. Some of the players from the Savoy session showed up.
Cajun Music Dinners
I had several dinners with live Cajun music. On Friday I saw Terry Huval & The Jambalaya Cajun Band at Randol's Restaurant, 2320 Kaliste Saloom Rd, Lafayette. There is a large wood dance floor but it is somewhat separated from the dining area by a clear plastic screen. I guess some people come just for dancing and others just for food. The food was excellent and Terry’s band was good.
On Saturday I went to Pont Breaux Cajun Restaurant, (formerly Mulate's) at 325 West Mills Avenue, Breaux Bridge and saw Jason Frey and his band. The band and dance floor were very connected to the dining area.
I also went to the Cajun Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a project of the Cajun French Music Association. The building is a one-room country store that dates from the 1930s. It contains such artifacts as a Model A electrical generator used to power microphones at country dances in the era before utility service reached the countryside. Irene Boone explained a lot to me including how this generator worked. She was very generous with her time. The museum has a display with mannequins of Joe Falcon, born near Rayne in 1900, and his first wife, Cléoma Falcon, born in Crowley in 1905, who together made the first commercial recording of Cajun music in 1928. In the center is Lionel LeLeux, who was a fiddler and fiddle-maker born in 1910 in Vermilion Parish. It is located at 240 South C.C. Duson Drive, a block east of the Liberty Theatre. Phone (337) 457-6534.