Feeding off the energy from the morning’s Zydeco Marathon, the Porch Fest throughout Lafayette’s historic Freetown neighborhood on Sunday brought together neighbors and friends for crawfish, drinks and even aerial silks — all on each other’s porches.
Organized by the Freetown-Port Rico Coterie, the neighborhood’s planning organization, Porch Fest began as a way to get the neighborhood outside and enjoying the springtime sunshine.
“Today, there’s eight or nine different houses having their own little porch parties, and it’s like a multiple block party,” said Elizabeth “EB” Brooks, who hosted aerial silks at her home and is the chairwoman of the coterie. Aerial silks is a type of performance in which one or more artists perform aerial acrobatics while hanging from a piece of fabric.
For some Freetown residents, the fest was an excuse to meet their neighbors. Abigail Bennett, who along with her wife, Bianca, hosted yard games outside their home, has lived in Freetown on and off for the past 10 years. Bennett said when she invited her neighbor to her yard festivities, it was the first time she had met him.
“There’s just something about this neighborhood,” Bennett said. “There’s a good atmosphere, and I like getting to know my neighbors because there’s a sense of community here.”
Danielle MoRoux, who lives at the Downtown Lafayette Hostel in Freetown, said the community festival reminded her of her childhood.
“This brought back so many memories of a Cajun Sunday afternoon,” MoRoux said. “I heard some music playing from the house (next door) when I woke up, and it reminded me of my daddy and how he used to go out to his car to listen to the Cajun music because Momma wouldn’t let him listen to it on Sunday.”
The Freetown-Port Rico neighborhood was named to the National Register of Historic Places last month, and once was a safe haven for freed slaves. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Lafayette and was originally part of Alexander Mouton’s Île Copal Plantation as sugarcane fields.
Coterie meetings are held at 5:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month on the second floor of the Lafayette Public Library in the public meetings room.