Archive Files of Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco Musicians
Posted between 1999 and 2008

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Don Fontenot

& Les Amis de la Louisiane

New high resolution photos of Don Fontenot et Les Amis de la Louisiane now posted on Flickr.

For current information, go to the band's official web site.
 

 Don Fontenot et Les Amis de la Louisiane in 2004

In 2004, Don Fontenot et Les Amis de la Louisiane continue to be one of the favorite dance hall bands in Southwest Louisiana.

Their 2004 CD, Ride the Donkey, released by Swallow Records, is also popular, garnering a lot of requests for airplay on Cajun radio programs, especially the title song, in which Mark Young (in English with hee-hawing in donkey) tells the rest of the band about a visit to a donkey auction. The song has become a favorite at live performances, giving the band a chance to have even more fun on stage than usual.

Young has another original song on the CD, "Perdu dans ma rÍve," about a dream of losing the one he loves that turns out to be a reality the next morning. Don Fontenot and Karl Deshotels have written a lively two-step describing "Samedi matin chez Fred's" in Mamou, one of the clubs where the band regularly performs. Fontenot also has an original swamp pop number on the CD, "My One and Only."  Layton Thibodeaux's "Pop, quoi faire t'es gone?" was written in memory of Paw Paw Thib, expressing a sense of deep loss now that he is gone.

Other songs on the CD include Fred Charlie's "La lettre," Belton Richard's "Donne moi une autre chance," Nathan Abshire's "La deux patte du Choupique," Bruce Daigrepont's "La deux patte du Marksville," Clifton Chenier's "I'm Coming Home," Boozoo Chavis' "Johnnie ma cabri," Jamie Berzas' "L'Anse Maigre Two Step," Wayne Toups' "Un amour secret," "Triangle Club Special," and "Crowley Two Step." In addition to Mark Young, guest fiddlers include Travis Matte, Jason Bergeron, and David Greely (who plays sax on the Belton Richard number and on "My One and Only").

Photos in this section were taken in 2004 at the annual Mamou Cajun Music Festival and at the conclusion of the Mamou Christmas Parade, which features live bands on floats.


Shown are Mark Young, Don Fontenot, and Karl Deshotels.
Other band members are Layton Thibodeaux and Kurt Daigle.


Don Fontenot et les Amis de Louisiane are on stage at the Mamou Cajun Music Festival.


 

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Don Fontenot is shown in the top photo at the 2000 Church Point Buggy Festival and then in two photographs taken at the Liberty Theatre.Mark Young, the group's current fiddle player, is shown at the Saddle Tramp Riding Club in Church Point at a dance following the Courir de Mardi Gras in 2001 and at the Liberty Theatre in May 2001, when the picture at right of Don Fontenot mixing it up with dancers was also taken.  The picture of Elridge Aguillard, fiddle player on the group's first CD, and the shot immediately above of the band in early 1999 were taken at the Liberty Theatre. Layton Thibodeaux is shown in the right column at the Buggy Festival in 2000.

 

 

For more information, including biographies of band members, more pictures, and a performance schedule, be sure to go to the official site of Don Fontenot and Les Amis de la Louisiane.


Don Fontenot and Les Amis de la Louisiane have quickly established themselves as one of the top Cajun bands performing in Southwest Louisiana. After playing for about a year, they stepped into the Acadiana Sounds Studio in 1998 and cut the songs for their first CD, Fier d' tre Cajun, released by Swallow Records. The album was subsequently named "Best First Recording of the Year" by the Cajun French Music Association, and Elridge Aguillard, who played fiddle on that album, was named "Fiddler of the Year." 

The band followed up with another award-winning album in spring 2000 titled Le Necessaire, released by Louisiana Proud Records. It received the CFMA Le Cajun award as "Best Album/CD of the Year" for 2000. The song "The Porch Swing" on the album, written by Don Fontenot and Ellis Deshotels, won the "Song of the Year" award. The band was presented the "Band of the Year Award" and Fontenot was presented "Male Vocalist of the Year" award during the ceremonies held August 17, 2001.

In addition to being a highly accomplished accordionist, Fontenot has an excellent voice that captures both the beauty and the feeling of songs like "Mon Amour," "J'ai Braille Pour Toi," "The Unlucky Waltz," and "I'll Never Let You Go." He started playing guitar about 1980 and then took up accordion in 1992, joining W.D. Fontenot and the Cherokee Playboys in 1994. He lives in Grand Prairie.  Layton W. Thibodeaux, Sr., who plays bass and handles some vocals, has more than 30 years of experience playing guitar in country, rock, and Cajun bands. He also became known as "The Spicy Cajun" on a Saturday morning radio show that he hosted at KBON in Eunice. Aguillard, who left the band after the first CD was recorded, has been playing fiddle for nearly half a century. Mark Young, who also plays keyboard, is the band's  fiddler on the second CD. Other members are Kurt D. Daigle on drums and Karl Deshotels on guitar.

One particular achievement of the second album is the number of new songs, including, most notably, the title song, "Le Necessaire," written by KBON's Paul Marx. The song describes the necessity of preserving the Cajun heritage, especially the Cajun language. Marx and Fontenot  wrote "The Mardi Gras Run," and Marx teamed with Richard Meaux to write "Mad Mother-in-Law." Karl Deshotels and Ellis Deshotels also contributed excellent new songs. As noted above, the song "The Porch Swing" by Ellis Deshotels and Don Fontenot has received a CFMA Le Cajun Award nomination as "Song of the Year." 

The band not only excels in the studio but also obviously has a lot of interacting with crowds at dances. They may even wind up joining the dancers during the middle of one of their spirited songs.

For more information on Les Amis de la Louisiane, contact Don Fontenot, (337) 826-7464, or Layton Thibodeaux, (337) 432-5261.

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All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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