The Rendez-vous des Cajuns Music Radio and TV Show in Eunice will showcase Chris Miller, right, & Bayou Roots with special guest Milton Vanicor, left, 6-7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Liberty Theater. Murray Conque will serve as master of ceremonies. Rendez-vous des Cajuns presents live performances of Cajun music every Saturday. Tickets cost $5 and go on sale at 4 p.m. Saturdays at the theater’s ticket window. For information, call 337-457-7389 Monday through Friday or go online to www.eunice-la.com. (Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, August 17, 2012 6:52 PM
EUNICE — Nashville has its Grand Old Opry, Shreveport its Louisiana Hayride. So why shouldn’t Eunice, Capital of the Cajun Prairie, boast an entertainment venue that celebrates the music of its own region?
It does, in fact: The Liberty Theater, a gorgeous “Temple of Amusement” built in 1924, is that local drawing card. Located at the intersection of Second Street and West Park Avenue in Eunice’s tranquil downtown, it hosts numerous entertainment events, but the staple is the Saturday-night sessions of the Rendez-vous des Cajuns, a 90-minute live concert and radio and TV show that features Cajun music talent.
We’ve sampled the show three times recently, making the hour-long journey from the Lake Charles area to Eunice, taking a comfortable afternoon drive along U.S. 190 in ample time for the 6 p.m. start. The format is familiar: The shows are hosted by guest emcees and generally feature a Cajun band and perhaps a guest performer. Musicians play from a grand stage to a theater audience — seating is ample, the setting spectacular — while dancing is open on a wooden floor in front of the stage.
We stumbled our way through an occasional basic Cajun waltz, but, alas, are still lacking in instruction for the Cajun two-step. Dancers include polished Rendez-vous regulars as well as timid newbies; all are welcome.
The primary attraction, though, is the music. In July, we enjoyed performances by Jamie Berzas and Cajun Tradition, Goldman Thibodeaux and the Lawtell Playboys and Jackie Caillier, Ivy Dugas and Cajun Cousins. Emcees, who are steeped in Cajun music knowledge, added much to the flow and authenticity of the evening.
Show sponsors include Jean LaFitte National Historical Park and Preserve, the city of Eunice and the St. Landry Tourist Commission. The community packages other attractions to lure visitors for the full day: the Jean Lafitte Prairie Acadian Culture Center, remains open next door to the Liberty until show time; a local musicians program runs 3-4 p.m. at the center; the Eunice Depot Museum, 220 S. Duson St., is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and the Cajun French Music Hall of Fame and Museum is open next to the Depot Museum, at 240 S. Duson St., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.
Dress is very informal: Pressed jeans and a collared shirt would make you look sporty. Refreshments are limited to sodas and popcorn in this family friendly atmosphere.
Posted By: CJTHIB1 On: 8/21/2012
I REMEMBER WHEN CAJUN MUSIC WAS FREE, LIKE OUR CRAWFISH, UNTIL THE REST OF THE WORLD CAUGHT ON TO IT.