Lake Charles event celebrates Acadians’ arrival _lowres

Photo by DAVID SIMPSON -- Grammy winner Jo-El Sonnier will perform for the Great Acadian Awakening Music Festival next weekend in Lake Charles.

It’s a party with a purpose.

The nine-day celebration of Le Grand Réveil Acadien (The Great Acadian Awakening), with its family-oriented activities, is designed to increase French awareness among younger generations.

The events also mark the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the Acadians to south Louisiana.

International visitors are expected to join locals at the celebration, with events in Lafayette and throughout Acadiana from Saturday, Oct. 3 through Monday, Oct. 12.

The Great Acadian Awakening Music Fest starts a day earlier, running Friday-Sunday, Oct. 4, at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

The opening ceremonies for Le Grand Reviel will take place there on Saturday, with dignitaries and local school performances, followed by live music from Cajun and zydeco bands, including 2015 Grammy winner Jo-El Sonnier.

Local food and art vendors also will be on-site.

For more info, go to

Other events include:

An evening of haunted house tours, storytelling by local Cajuns, games of the past, music and eccentric food at the Acadian Village in Lafayette on Sunday, Oct. 4.

Boudin & Brushes at Gallery Acadie in Scott Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 5-6, where visitors can paint their own souvenir of the GRA while testing local world-famous boudin.

An Atchafalaya National Heritage Area-sponsored paddling trip in French at Lake Martin Tuesday, Oct. 6, and Saturday, Oct. 10. The guide, a native Louisiana French speaker, will teach about the natural resources of the Bayou Teche.

A Cajun history talk at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the Jeanerette Museum, 500 E. Main St., Jeanerette, will include a viewing of the film “Louisiana Story” and a presentation by Tika Laudun, senior producer at Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

A day of festivities in Loreauville Thursday, Oct. 8, beginning with a presentation on Acadian history and the New Acadia Project at 10 a.m. at the old fire station (119 Bridge St.), a performance by French students, the unveiling of plans for a park, museum and Acadian Odyssey Monument on the banks of Bayou Teche; a Tintamarre (traditional Acadian parade) to Town Hall on Main Street at 11:30 a.m., followed by music and gumbo.

“Iberia Parish Day” open house at the Iberia Parish Welcome Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, offering a special arts and crafts exhibit, contests and a photo scavenger hunt.

For more information, follow Grand Réveil Acadien at For aschedule of all events go to

Le Grand Reveil Acadien is sponsored by Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism; Richard Guidry Cajun and Creole Language Fund and the Cajun French Music Association.

Tool demo Oct. 4

Visitors can learn how the inhabitants of Poverty Point crafted implements they used in their daily lives during demonstrations from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, at this World Heritage Site near Monroe.

The people who lived at Poverty Point more than 3,500 years ago used these primitive tools for survival.

Demonstrations will begin on the hour.

The site offers visitors the opportunity to study the culture of area inhabitants from 1600-1100 BC. The $4 admission fee provides access to the museum, video, hiking trail and tram tour, which is scheduled Wednesday- Sunday. Children (12 and younger) and seniors (62 and older) are admitted free.

Poverty Point is located in West Carroll Parish, east of Monroe, on La. 577. The site is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, call (888) 926-5492.

Louisiana Travels is a column about travel destinations and events in Louisiana. Email items for Louisiana Travels to or