Roots of Fire: LC native Jeremey Lavoi co-directed, produced award-winning Cajun music documentary

Published 12:41 pm Friday, May 10, 2024

“Roots of Fire” is a documentary celebrating contemporary Cajun artists and South Louisiana roots music. Lake Charles native and award-winning director Jeremey Lavoi co-directed and produced the film.

Artists and bands Jourdan Thibodeaux, Feufollet, Pine Leaf Boys, T’Monde, Bonsoir Catin, Joel Savoy and K.C. Jones are featured in the documentary. Notably, the film includes vocal performances from four-time Grammy-nominated musician Chris Stafford — co-founder of Feufollet — who was killed in a vehicle crash earlier this month.

The documentary garnered success in the film festival circuit, including the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Documentary of the Year 2023.

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The documentary aims to honor the history and culture of Cajun music. As a Louisianaian, the content of “Roots of Fire” hits close to home for Lavoi. He said his childhood in Lake Charles is reminiscent of a “typical suburban American upbringing.” After moving to California in 2002, he realized how unique aspects of his time in Louisiana were.

“It didn’t take long to realize that growing up fishing with your family, pulling up crawfish traps at your grandparents farm, eating rice and gravy, boudin and rice dressings and hearing Cajun and Zydeco at every local festival was anything but a typical American experience.”

This realization made him homesick and inspired him to learn more about his culture.

“In a roundabout way, that leads to ‘Roots of Fire’ and moving back to Louisiana.”

The mission to preserve culture emboldens Lavoi. Without discussion or experience of unique regional cultures, traditions die. He explained that music is a direct tether to connect with cultural practices.

“Cajun music is an essential component of keeping our French language and culture in people’s lived experience. You can dance, and maybe learn the language of your grandparents at the same time.”

The greatest thing he learned while producing the documentary was the health of the Cajun music scene.

“There is a vibrant community of musicians in Southern Louisiana that are interested in both continuing the vernacular music of our ancestors, but also continuing to build on it, which keeps it relevant.”

“Roots of Fire” is currently available for streaming on Apple TV and is available for DVD purchase on Amazon. Lavoi encouraged audiences to watch the film and “then go check out all the artists we featured in the film, and then go check out all the artists we couldn’t feature in the film.”

“When you’re done with that, learn some Cajun French, and go dancing.”

To learn more about the film and future “Roots of Fire” projects, visit