SHSU to experience Cajun Mardi Gras

A taste of Cajun life comes to Huntsville when SHSU hosts its fifth annual Cajun Mardi Gras Festival tonight in the LSC Ballroom.

The festival, open to both students and off-campus guests, will feature dance lessons, a symposium on Cajun culture, and music from the Jambalaya Cajun Band with special guest D.L. Menard. The symposium, held in room 105 of the Evans Building, will be held at 6 p.m. and the dance will last from 7 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.

Dr. Terry Thibodeaux, professor and associate dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, wants the festival to allow people to learn more about Cajun culture and abandon any preconceived notions.

He said, “What you see labeled as Cajun oftentimes is not authentic at all.”

Thibodeaux will host the symposium on Cajun Music and Culture. D.L. Menard and Cajun musicians Terry Huval and Reggie Matte will also participate.

Thibodeaux said, “I think a lot of times the Cajun culture is misunderstood because of some of the images and impressions that are given from mass media and even in restaurants.”

The Jambalaya Cajun Band, featuring fiddler Terry Huval and accordionist Reggie Matte, hail from Louisiana. They released their first album, “Buggy Full of Cajun Music”, in 1979. They continue to record and honor their Cajun legacy.

Guitarist D.L. Menard is known as the Cajun Hank Williams. He’s best known for the 1962 hit “La Porte d’en Arriere” and he received a Folk Heritage Fellowship in 1994 from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Admission to the dance is $10 for the public, $5 with an SHSU ID and free to children under 12. Joe Paris will offer free Cajun dance lessons from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., prior to the start of the dance. Refreshments will be available at the festival.

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