NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Southwest Louisiana town of Eunice has become a hotbed for Cajun music, and if you want to learn more about the legends of Cajun French music, you can see them all in a Hall of Fame Museum.
When you drive through the city of Eunice, you are surrounded by Cajun French music. it’s on local radio stations, you can dance to it in an old Vaudeville theater or an old barn, and you can hear jam sessions at the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center or a local music store. And Eunice is also home to the Cajun French Music Hall of Fame. The walls of the museum are covered with the pictures and stories of musical legends.
“You have to be a damn good musician and played back mostly in the days when Cajun music was not in vogue. Now these people played on front porches, played at local dance halls and stuff like that,” said Louis Pavur, who works with the museum.
The nominees come from more than a dozen chapters of the Cajun French Music Association, and today, the Hall of Fame includes more than 100 artists. Museum visitors come from around the world.
“When anyone comes in here, they know what they're looking for,” said Elaine Moosa, who also works with the museum. “They're looking for someone they've heard play or sing. They've gone to a festival somewhere and they want to see his picture, they want to read his bio.”
You can see some of the earliest recordings of Cajun music, dance hall promotions and instruments that were played by some of the masters.
“We have fiddles, we have a lot of accordions. We have guitars and we have hats and belts. We have a wonderful collection of instruments,” Moosa said.
And Eunice is a place where for more than 50 years, musicians young and old have gathered every Saturday morning at Marc Savoy’s music store for a Cajun jam session.
“And you see a bunch of these young kids come in there like that, and they want that music to continue,” Parvur said.
It’s the music and the unique culture that make places like this a must-stop for many travelers.
“They find that our culture is really different, and they will tell me often, ‘Don't lose it,’” Moosa said.
The Hall of Fame celebrates nearly a century of Cajun French music, and with its growing popularity, it’s likely that more photographs and biographies will end up on the walls for the decades to come.