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

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Liberty Theater
celebrates the 900th Show          

Larrell Richard serves up plates of jambalaya from his grosse chaudière noire.

On stage at the Liberty for the 900th show were the Lost Bayou Ramblers and Creole Stomp.

Louis Michot, fiddler and vocalist with the Lost Bayou Ramblers, shown in the second photo in this column, sang an original composition, "The Liberty Theater Special," written as a tribute to the 900th show. Among their other numbers, the band performed swing music by the Hackberry Ramblers. Alan LeFleur, shown in the right column, is playing a bass signed by members of  the Hackberry Ramblers.

Dennis Stroughmatt, shown in the photo immediately above, is the leader of the band Creole Stomp. He lives in Illinois but has spent a lot of time in Louisiana, performing with musicians like Sheryl Cormier and Dexter Ardoin. In 2005, Flat Town Music released Le Tracas de Morris, a CD in which he teams with Morris Ardoin, and Creole Stranger, a Creole Stomp CD (the title cut is by Dennis). Jennifer, Dennis' wife, is shown in the right column on triangle.

In the photo immediately below, host Barry Ancelet holds the mike for Larrell Richard.

Click here for the Liberty schedule.

The Liberty Center for the Performing Arts, known to just about everyone as the Liberty Theater or just "the Liberty," celebrated the 900th edition of the Rendez Vous des Cajuns radio program on February 19, 2005. The theater dates from the early 1920s, but it was through the hard work of community and cultural leaders like former Eunice Mayor Curtis Joubert, Marc and Ann Savoy, and many others that the Liberty was restored and the Saturday radio show began in 1987.

Central to the success of the program has been the host, Dr. Barry Ancelet of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, along with numerous volunteers backstage and others like videographer Jerry Devillier, plus the support of the National Park Service, the City of Eunice, and other agencies and businesses.

Over the years, of course, countless great musicians have performed on the Liberty's stage, receiving in return much less than they deserve financially but finding the experience deeply rewarding in the knowledge that they are helping to sustain the cultural legacy of Southwest Louisiana. They also know that the audiences at the Liberty appreciate good music when they hear it.

The Liberty audience on a typical Saturday night includes visitors from a number of other states and several foreign countries, along with Cajun music fans from the region who decide to make a trip to Eunice to see a favorite band. But there is also a core of regulars who are there every Saturday night, dancing, enjoying the music and having fun together. They speak French and can serve as interpreters for other audience members who miss the punch lines of the jokes Barry Ancelet tells in French. On several special occasions, they have gotten together to prepare a meal for the Liberty audiences, with the supplies donated by various businesses. Again, for the 900th show, Larrell Richard cooked up some of the best jambalaya ever made served up in his grosse chaudière noire. Other regulars served cake and made the evening into a real celebration.




The crowd lines of for jambalya while Creole Stomp plays on stage.



All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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