Re-enactment of Cajun cemetery vigil slated

By By Cliff Seiber / American Press

Amy Woodruff, McNeese State University theater graduate and “intermedia” artist, will present her performance piece, “Moon

Cove,” and re-enact a traditional Cajun cemetery vigil at Istre Cemetery in Acadia Parish south of the Mermentau community

overnight on Nov. 1.

The installation is planned for 2 p.m. Thursday through 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 2.

Woodruff, a 10th-generation Louisianian, wrote “Moon Cove” and first produced it in 2008. In the interim it has gone through

revisions, she said.

“It is the story of a girl who hears from an aunt family stories that she had never heard,” Woodruff said. “In a supernatural

twist, she realizes she has the power to contact her Louisiana French ancestors’ ghosts.”

She spoke in a telephone interview from her home base in New Orleans. “Moon Cove” is subtitled “A Louisiana Tale of Horror

from the Cajun Prairie.”

“I have always been fond of ghost stories,” she said.

The presentation involves solo theater

performance, multimedia projection, and handmade objects and garments.

It weaves together

live-narrative storytelling; music (she does a little fiddle

playing); and the projection of photographs and videos to tell

an epic story of the heartbreak, tragedy and resilience of a south

Louisiana family, she said.

Woodruff, who was born in Lake Charles, was separated from her father for many years because of her parents’ divorce, but

later connected with him.

“We got really close and enjoyed a really fine relationship for a number of years,” she said. He was a Thibodeaux from Acadia

Parish and is buried in Istre Cemetery, along with many of his ancestors.

“Istre Cemetery is a country family

cemetery,” Woodruff said. “It may be the only remaining one with wooden

Cajun houses constructed

over some of the graves, where they used to be all over south

Louisiana.”

This distinguishing feature and burials dating to 150 years ago helped the site attain a listing on the National Register

of Historic Places.

Woodruff graduated with a bachelor’s in

theater arts from McNeese and received a master’s in interdisciplinary

art from Goddard

College in Vermont. She has performed “Moon Cove” in New Orleans

and at Goddard College, where she said it was well-received.

She will present a fully staged version

Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and Dec. 3-4 at the Shadowbox Theatre of New Orleans.

It will be presented

in documentary style.

The production in Istre Cemetery will also be a “Tousaint-a-Thon” fundraiser, she said. Thirty percent of the proceeds — there

is no charge, but a collection will be taken — will go to the Istre Cemetery preservation organization, and the remainder

will be used for future productions of “Moon Cove.”

Directions: Drive U.S. 90 east of Mermentau and turn right on La. 92 (Mermentau Cove Road, which becomes West Whitney Road)

to Everglade Road, which becomes Swift Road. The cemetery is several miles south on the left side of Swift Road.