December 30, 2010


In the countryside throughout the south, the New
Year has traditionally been rung in by the sound of shotguns and firecrackers at
midnight on New Year's Eve. Some Cajuns remember that Tit Homme Janvier
(some call him Bonhomme Janvier), a snowy-bearded bearer of good tiding,
would pass and leave fruit and nuts in the children's shoes and stockings. For
many families New Year's was the time for trinket exchange, not
An interesting French tradition is the running
of La Guignolee (Gaie Annee). This is a long standing New Year's Eve
custom in French communities of the mid-Mississippi Valley such as Old Mines
(Les Vielles Mones), Missouri, and Prairie du Rocher, Illinois. Of note
because it is closely related to the Cajun courir de Mardi Gras the
intent of La Guignolee is to gather pledges of food and money for a
king's ball held between Twelfth Night and Mardi Gras. On New Year's Eve, the
men dress in disguise as Indians or in old clothes turned inside out. The gang
of revelers travels afoot from house to house in the countryside with lanterns
as their only light. Today, trucks provide the transportation. In the quiet of
the night, they sneak up on the porch of each house and sing La Guignolee
accompanied by a fiddle.
"Bon soir le maitre et maitresse et tous le
monde du logis. Pour le dernier jour de l'annee, c'est la Guignolee vous nous
devais. Si vous voulais rien a nos donnais, ditez nous le. On vous demandez
seulement, la fille ainee..."
The song begs entry to the house, a 96-foot long
sausage, and a dance with the eldest daughter, then apologizes to the
inhabitants for any mischief caused and asks for an invitation next
For South Louisiana Cajuns, New Year's day used
to be a time for visiting from house to house to wish bonne annee. A
traditional French Creole song sung by Canray Fontenot wishes:
Bonjour bonne annee, belle heureuse
Heureuse annee que je souaite a tous.
Bonjour bonne annee,
In a recollection from the Anonymous Breaux
(1901), the author observes "people who have long been enemies
seizing the opportunity which the day presents to be reconciled and to wish
other good fortune and prosperity. A young man who wishes to marry often asks
his sweetheart's parents for permission to marry."
A traditional New Year's dish, black-eyed peas
and cabbage, symbolizes the promise of good luck and money in the coming year.
It is still prepared and eaten diligently by many every year.
Today, recently created community festivals have
become the calendrical markers of cultural identity. They have taken the place
of many deeply rooted rituals which once served to reinforce the concepts of
community and family.

"A people without a past are a people without a future."

December 24, 2010


(ACADIAN) Lighting of the way for Papa Noel this evening.
 On the First Acadian Coast, St-James (civil) Parish, tonight there will be the lighting of very fancy bonfires on the levees to show Santa the way down the river.

The other story is to provide a guide for the families to find their way to midnight mass.The other name you may know is St-Jacques de Cabannoce. The church was named for my 6th great grandfather Jacques Cantrelle patron saint. His two son-in-laws were the first Commandants (like in Zorro) during the transfer period from France to Spain.There should be several news shorts on the building & lighting of the bonfires on the New Orleans & Baton Rouge TV stations.Some are Baton Rouge
                                                           - NBC CBS
                                                                   - Fox?
The national stations news may also pick up the stories
Paul L LeBlanc<>

December 14, 2010


"If you or someone you know has a passion for culture, history and architecture and would like to become a licensed tour guide for the City of New Orleans, please consider taking the Friends of the Cabildo's Walking Tour Guide Training Program. The classes are under the expert direction of Friends of the Cabildo Board Member, Mrs. Jane Molony, and a staff of volunteer FOC tour guides. The program provides intensive and comprehensive training for tour guides.

The program provides an thorough overview of the history of Louisiana.

Subjects covered in the course lectures:

First Families of Louisiana

(Native Americans)

French Colonial Period

Spanish Colonial Period

Becoming American

The American Period

Free People of Color


Port of New Orleans


Civil War In New Orleans

Louisiana State Museum Historical Center

Those who complete the program are encouraged to make a commitment to the FOC to serve as a volunteer guide for a period of two years. Guides are generally on the schedule one or two times per month during this period.
The walking tour class is offered one time per year at the Cabildo. Acceptance into the program is contingent upon an interview process following application.

The upcoming course runs from January 31, 2011 to February 25, 2011, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9:00am-3:30pm. The cost is $175, which includes both classroom and in-field training with experienced guides.

Time is of the essence, so please contact me if you are interested in this exceptional program!"

Rebecca Duckert
Assistant Director
Friends of the Cabildo
701 Chartres Street
New Orleans, LA 70116
Phone: 504-523-3939
Fax: 504-524-9130

December 06, 2010


Isaiah 35: 1 – 10

1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus

2 it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.

The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God.

3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing for joy.

For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

8 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not pass over it, and fools shall not err therein. 9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.

10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Advent Wreath by Jeff Miller  http://