Friday, May 27, 2011

Seven Days Until the Opelousas Spice and Music Festival

    The 7th annual Opelousas Spice & Music Festival is scheduled for June 2-5 at South City Park in historic Opelousas.  A special blend of musical performances are scheduled throughout the festival event including Geno Delafose, Chris Ardoin, Jeffery Broussard, Leon Chavis, Cupid, Matthew Ewing & Fueling Fire, Warren Storm, Willie Tee and Cyprus, Chubby Carriere, Percy Sledge and more.  
Chris Ardoin
    On Saturday, international Cajun fiddler Hadley Castille will present a uniquely different Fiddle Workshop Concert & Jam Session nearby at the Opelousas Little Theatre building.  Carnival rides will also open on Thursday featuring family night and $15 all you can ride bracelets.  Rides will continue through Sunday.
     The festival will offer Cajun and Creole food lovers plenty of mouthwatering dishes including entrees like crawfish etoufee, alligator sausage, jambalaya, red beans and rice, fried catfish and more.  In addition to great music and mouthwatering food, the festival will include activities such as Arts & Crafts vendors, Cajun and Creole Cooking Demonstrations, a Cajun and Zydeco Dance Contest, Pepper Eating Contest, Queen’s Bar-B-Que Cook-Off and an art exhibit featuring the work of this year’s festival poster artist, Michelle Fontenot. 
    South City Park is located at 1524 S. Market Street, Opelousas, LA and is easy to access from Interstate I-49 and Hwy 190. There is plenty of free parking in designated parking areas where shuttles will run to and from the festival. These areas include the Opelousas Civic Center on Creswell Lane Ext., Andy’s Supermarket on Hwy 182 North next to Chicken King, and the former Rite-Aid parking lot located next to Piggly Wiggly on Heather Drive.  
    RV accommodations are also available at South City Park.   
    For more information about thefestival, visit or call (337) 948-5227 or (337) 948-6263. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fiddlers Host Music of Acadiana Series Sunday in Arnaudville

Kevin Wimmer and Mitch Reed

Fiddlers Mitch Reed and Kevin Wimmer host an afternoon of songs and stories during the Music of Acadiana Series Sunday at the new Nunu’s, the old Singleton Lumber Building, at 1510 Hwy 93 in Arnaudville. The event begins at 2 p.m. with a jam session open to musicians of all levels.
    An interview with Reed and Wimmer follow, along with a twin fiddle performance that audience members are sure to remember.
    Reed plays fiddle and bass with the two-time Grammy-winning band BeauSoleil. He also teaches private and group lessons at his home in Scott.
    A classically-trained violinist from New York City, Wimmer fell in love with Cajun music after meeting legendary fiddler Dewey Balfa 26 years ago.  He’s toured four continents and countless cities with Balfa Toujours, the Red Stick Ramblers, Danny Poullard, Preston Frank and other Cajun and Creole musicians.
    Admission to the Music of Acadiana series is $5, free for kids 12 and younger. Food will be available and guests are invited to bring their own refreshments.
    The series is supported in part by a Grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Acadiana Arts Council. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Koray Broussard Performs in Zydeco Capital of the World Friday

      Koray Brousard & the Zydeco Unit will take the stage for the Friday, May 27th for Music & Market in Opelousas.  The outdoor event is scheduled from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., with music beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the Farmer’s Market Pavilion located just off I-49 exit 19B in Opelousas. 
Koray Broussard
    Broussard is the lead vocalist and accordion player for Koray Broussard & the Zydeco Unit.  The musical heritage within Koray's family started two generations ago with his grandfather, Delton Broussard, his father John Broussard, and his uncle, Jeffery Broussard. In February 2010, he released his first CD titled Trapped.
    Friday’s event will mark the 11th anniversary of Opelousas as Zydeco Capital of the World.  On May 27, 2000, at a special ceremony around the St. Landry Parish Courthouse Square, through a legislative act, the City of Opelousas was designated Zydeco Capital of the World, reflecting the city’s significance in the history and continuing evolution of Zydeco Music.
    In addition to the music, local farmers will be on site with fresh homegrown produce for sale. The featured vegetable is pinto beans.
    Music and Market will be held at the Farmer’s Market at Le Vieux Village. Please leave ice chesst at home. Drinks will be available for purchase at the event.
    This event is presented by our sponsors, City of Opelousas Tourism, CLECO,  Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino, MIX 107.1/KSLO, Quik Quarter, St. Landry Parish Government, Louisiana Division of the Arts, Acadiana Center for the Arts, Crescent Crown Distributing, St Landry Parish Tourist Commission and Zydeco Online.
     For more information or to find out about vendor opportunities, contact City of Opelousas Tourism Office at 337-948-5227 or 337-948-6263 or visit

Zydeco Extravaganza Celebrates 25 Years Sunday in Opelousas

     Zydeco Extravaganza returns for the twenty fifth year and will be held at Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino on Sunday, May 29th, 2011. This year’s festival boasts local cuisine from various vendors, an indoor stage in the Evangeline Downs Event Center, along with the customary outdoor stage and some of the biggest names in Zydeco music today.
Geno Delafose
     This year’s lineup includes, Leon Chavis, Brian Jack, Grammy nominee Geno Delafose, Chris Ardoin and NuStep, Keith Frank, the original Zydeco Force and many more.
     Festival organizer Dustin Cravins believes the excitement for the 25th anniversary is extraordinary.
    “Every year we are amazed at how much we have continued to grow and this year is no different. What separates us from other events, are our epic performances, and being our 25th anniversary fans are expecting something magical and we certainly won’t disappoint!” says Cravins.
     Zydeco Extravaganza was begun 25 years ago by the Cravins family in an attempt to revitalize the suffering Creole culture. Since then, the culture has seen an unprecedented renaissance and Zydeco Extravaganza has become the largest one day Zydeco festival in the world, drawing thousands of music lovers to the annual celebration each Memorial Day weekend.
Brian Jack
    Presale tickets are on sale at Cravins Insurance Agency in Lafayette (337)234-9695 and Opelousas(337)942-8784, along with a free commemorative t-shirt while supplies last. For more information on Zydeco Extravaganza please visit,  or contact Dustin Cravins at 337-594-3137.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lt. Gov. among 200 guests at center's grand opening

     More than 200 guests were on hand Monday for the grand opening of the new St. Landry Parish Visitors information Center at exit 23 on I-49. Guests were able to get a first look at the new center, which provides information on parish attractions and promotes the use of natural resources and salvaged materials through its environmentally-friendly design.
Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne
    Those resources include a 1,500-gallon, galvanized cistern, to collect rain for watering plants, and a wind turbine, which helps power rooms in the center. The new facility is the only such “green” visitor center in Louisiana.
    “It’s a great testament to the ingenuity and foresight of the people of this parish to make this happen,” said Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, a guest speaker at the grand opening.
   Cajun and Creole musicians held an acoustic jam session, which also kicked off the center’s new series, First Fridays with a Little Lagniappe.  The monthly series, which continues through September, will feature local artists, musicians, storytellers, writers and more. A complete schedule will be announced soon.
Zydeco musicians Lil Wayne Singelton
and Goldman Thibodeaux
    The new center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Travel counselors are available to direct tourists into the parish to experience its rich music, food, history, culture and outdoor life.
     The 4,600-square foot center features exhibit and display areas for tourist information, a meeting area, public restrooms and administrative offices for the St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission.
    For more information, call (337) 948-8004 or visit Follow the center on Twitter @StLandryParish or on Facebook at St. Landry Parish – It’s Gumbo for Your Soul. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Art Series Kicks Off During Visitor Center Grand Opening

    Cracklin cooks, storytellers, fiddle makers, Mardi Gras mask makers and other artists take part in First Fridays with a Little Lagniappe, a new arts series from the St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission. The series kicks off from 1-3 p.m. Monday during the grand opening and open house of the new St. Landry Parish Visitor Information Center on I-49, exit 23.
    Veteran musicians Hadley Castille, Jeffery Broussard, Ann Savoy, Goldman Thibodeaux, Louis Michot, Lil Wayne Singleton and Lisa Trahan lead a community Cajun and Creole jam session during the open house. Musicians are invited to bring their instruments and take part in the jam.
    Christine Ledoux of Washington demonstrates mosaic art. Visitors to the new center can see the 4-foot, fiberglass fiddle, which was part of the Opelousas Main Street’s Fiddle Mania project.
    The First Fridays with a Little Lagniappe series continues through Sept. 16. Future participants include fiddle maker Anya Burgess, along with Georgie and Allen Manuel, who make traditional Mardi Gras masks and costumes.
    Storyteller and folk medicine expert Rebecca Henry and artist Jerome Ford host a Celebration of Creole Culture. Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque and writer Patrice Melnick celebrate the written word.
    The Port Barre Lions Club, sponsors of the Port Barre Cracklin Festival each November, hosts a cracklin cooking demonstration. Artist Trish Ransom revives debris into new art. Michelle Fontenot displays glass and mosaic pieces.
    Anne Hendrix specializes in clay art. George Marks shows his mixed media work.
    The complete schedule will be announced at a later date. First Fridays with a Little Lagniappe is supported in part by a Grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Acadiana Arts Council.
    For more information, call the St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission at (337) 948-8004.

Friday, May 13, 2011

St. Landry Parish Visitor Center Grand Opening Set for May 23

    St. Landry Parish is the home of famous musicians, chefs and artists. The parish now has a new claim to fame – the only “green” visitor center in Louisiana and one of the few in the United States.
    Green construction and parish culture are highlights at the new St. Landry Visitor Information Center, located at I-49 exit 23, just north of Opelousas. The center’s grand opening is set for Monday, May 23 from 1-3 p.m.
    The 4,600-square foot center features exhibit and display areas for tourist information, a meeting area, public restrooms and administrative offices for the St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission. The center also promotes green construction through its environmentally-friendly design and use of natural resources. Those resources include rain water collected from a cistern, once a common feature at rural parish homes. A wind turbine helps power the center and reclaimed materials are featured throughout, from recycled asphalt in the parking lot to salvaged bricks and pine flooring from old buildings.
      "As soon as the signage was placed along 1-49, tourists began stopping at our new Visitor Center," said Celeste D. Gomez, Director for the St. Landry Tourist Commission. “Visitors have been very impressed with the design and elements used in the construction and their interest is peaked even more as we tell them about St. Landry Parish's offerings. Through marketing and word of mouth, we know that travelers will want to add our sustainable-friendly venue to their itinerary, enabling us to tell our story about St. Landry Parish and the culture we live." 
   With more than 26,000 cars traveling on I-49 each day, travel counselors at the Visitor Center will direct tourists into the parish to experience its rich music, food, history, culture and outdoor life. St. Landry Parish, where zydeco music was born and Cajun music thrives, is the birthplace of Grammy-winning zydeco musicians Clifton Chenier, Rockin’ Sidney and Terrance Simien. Venues for these infectious sounds abound.
    Flavorful Cajun and Creole cuisine, made famous by native chefs Paul Prudhomme and Tony Chachere, are plentiful in settings ranging from candlelight dining in an age- old restaurant to a stick-to-your-ribs plate lunch at a grocery store deli. History lives throughout the parish at homes, schools and churches that have stood for centuries.
    St. Landry, a 939-square mile parish in south central Louisiana, is also known for its natural beauty and wildlife. The center showcases those surroundings with landscape that displays six of Louisiana’s seven major ecosystem types.  The building’s orientation and overhangs maximize daylight and conserve energy while the hipped roof can withstand high winds. Solar panels will also help to provide electricity.
    Following the grand opening, the center will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and will eventually open seven days a week.