Vermilionville To Honor Michot Family
As part of the Acadian Culture Day, Vermilionville will be honoring three generations of the Michot family.
A free event for the community will happen in August as the Bayou Vermilion District’s Vermilionville plans to honor the Michot family. This day of celebration will take place in conjunction with the Acadian Culture Day and culimnate with the awarding of the annual Acadian Cultural Preservation Award.
The event will be held at Vermilionville on Sunday, August 12 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Each year an award is given to recognizes those who work for the preservation of the Acadian culture. The award is also given those who give of their time and talents to the community.
This year's award will be given to the Michot Family as a way to celebrated their commitment to the Acadian culture. The honor is also being being bestowed on the family for their various contributions to the Acadiana community. They are being selected for their contributions to music, law, politics, business and the environment.
According to a press release about the event, "Vermilionville’s Acadian Culture Day is a free annual celebration that gives the public a chance to explore how the Acadian community maintains their heritage."
You can find something for everyone in the family at this years event. They will have the following activities:
- cooking demonstrations
- boat tours
- artist demonstrations such as net making, bamboo fishing poles, bousillage bowls, caning, quilting and old-time washing and clothesline hanging
- crafts for children including tintamarre noise makers, kites and Acadiana flag making
- a genealogy station by the Acadian Memorial
- dance lessons with Cal and Lou Courville
- Cajun Jam in the village
- sharing circles on Cajun Women Across the Generations and Les Traiteurs
- film screenings of Pie Day by Drew Landry and I Always Do My Collars First by Connie Castille
- a Tintamarre through the village
- music in the Performance Center by The Huval-Fuselier Cajun Band followed by Feufollet.
Here is some of the scheduled of activities and you can visit the calendar of events at vermilionville.org or call (337) 233-4077 for more information.
10 a.m. Demonstrations: Net Making, Bamboo Fishing Poles, Bousillage Bowls, Caning, Quilting, Washing & Clothesline Hanging (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.)
Cooking Demo: Outdoor Cooking-Jambalaya (10 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
Healer’s Garden Tour (10 a.m. – 5 p .m.)
Films: Pie Day by Drew Landry & I Always Do My Collars First by Connie Castille (10 a.m. – 11 a.m.)
10:30 a.m. Acadian Cultural Preservation Award Ceremony & Interview with the Michot Family (10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)
Boat Tour ($5 for 30 min. tour)
11 a.m. Crafts & Games: Tintamarre Noise Makers, Kites and Acadiana Flag Making
(11 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
11:30 a.m. Boat Tour ($5 for 30 min. tour)
12 p.m. Sharing Circle: Cajun Women Across the Generations
Cajun Jam hosted by Ray Landry (12 – 4 p.m.)
Cajun Dance Lessons (12 – 12:30 p.m.)
Genealogy Station with Acadian Memorial (12 p.m. – 4 p.m.)
12:30 p.m. Music: The Huval-Fuselier Band (12:30 – 2:30 p.m.)
1:00 p.m. Sampling of Jambalaya from Outdoor Cooking Demo
Acadian Memorial Genealogy Station (1 – 4 p.m.)
1:30 p.m. Sharing Circle: Les Traiteurs
Boat Tour ($5 for 30 min. tour)
2:30 p.m. Tintamarre (2:30 – 3 p.m.)
Cajun Dance Lessons (2:30 – 3 p.m.)
Boat Tour ($5 for 30 min. tour)
3 p.m. Feufollet (3 – 5 p.m.)
3:30 p.m. Boat Tour ($5 for 30 min. tour)
A brief biography of The Michot Family by Dr. Michael S. Martin:
The bearers of Cajun tradition often are found among multiple generations of keepers of the cultural flame, probably because so much of that culture is rooted in the institution of family. Parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, teach their children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews the core characteristics of what it means to be Cajun—the language, the music, the beliefs, the connection with a common past. When it comes to music, the grand families of the Cajun tradition--the Balfas, the Abshires, or the Savoys, for instance—teach old forms to new generations and then share those forms with the world. Among these bearers of tradition, the Michot family has taken its place.
Louis J. Michot, Jr., was a veteran of World War II and a prominent Lafayette businessman and politician. Probably best known as the owner of forty-five Burger Chef restaurants, Mr. Michot also operated, at one time or another, a drive-in movie theater, a building cleaning service, and appliance and sporting good stores, in addition to running various real estate and investment ventures. His political career began in 1960 with an election to the Louisiana House of Representatives. Three years later he ran unsuccessfully for governor, but his political career continued with seats on the State Board of Education (1967-1971) and as State Superintendent of Education (1971-1975). While tending to his business and political careers, Michot found time to serve as manager of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, an organizer of the Bank of Lafayette, a member of the board of directors of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, and one of the founders of both the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition and Louisiana Public Broadcasting.
Mr. Michot and his wife, the former Patricia Ann Smith, raised a family of ten children in Lafayette. The Michots instilled in those children a reverence for the past and a passion for south Louisiana's culture. The result was a remarkable and talented brood of children, raised in the city of Lafayette but well-versed in the rural Cajun lifestyle thanks to time spent at Le Roue Qui Pend, the family's camp along Bayou Vermilion.
The influence of Louis Michot Jr. and Mrs. Pat Michot are evident in many ways among their children and grandchildren. Following in the footsteps of their father, three of the Michot boys entered politics. Rick is a state judge for the 15th District Court, a position he has held since 1990. His brother Mike served in the Louisiana House of Representatives between 1996 and 2000 and in the state Senate from 2000 until earlier this year. Their brother Tim was elected and served on the Lafayette Parish Council from 1992 to 1996.
A third brother, Tommy, holds a Ph. D. in Zoology and Physiology and is a research scientist with UL Lafayette's Institute for Coastal Ecology and Engineering. Befitting his family's devotion to south Louisiana, he has dedicated his career to studying the ecology and management of coastal marshes, mangroves, and seagrass beds along the Gulf of Mexico. Tommy also studies how migrating birds use those places for wintering.
The Michot family is also involved in numerous philanthropical and charitable endeavors in Lafayette and the surrounding area. Among those are the Boys and Girls Club of Acadian, the "Everybody Wins," program, the American Heart Association, Acadian Handicap Services, and the United Way.
Yet the thing the Michot family is probably most known for today is its music.
In 1986, five of the Michot sons--Tommy, Rick, Mike, Bobby, and David--formed Les Frères Michot, a musical group dedicated to performing Cajun music as it would have been heard at bals de maison in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The sounds are stripped down, absent of modern amplified instruments, and they call to mind a time when Cajun two-steps and waltzes were not international cultural sensations but rather music based in the home and family. Les Frères Michot have taken their music across the globe, have performed for President George W. Bush and Louisiana Governors Kathleen Blanco, Mike Foster, and Edwin Edwards, and have been featured in documentaries on CNN, the Discovery Channel, the Travel Channel, France's TV5, and Spain's Public TV. As their fame outside of their hometown has grown, and as their roster has shifted with the replacement of some of the brothers with their nephews, they've kept a firm footing in Lafayette through their weekly performances at Prejean's restaurant.
By the late-1990s, two of Tommy Michot's sons, Louis and André, who had been playing with their father and his brothers as part of Les Frères Michot, launched their own band, the Lost Bayou Ramblers. Through the release of six albums—including the Grammy-nominated Live à la Blue Moon--the Lost Bayou Ramblers have established themselves as being among the masters of the current generation of Cajun musicians. They've also showed themselves to be trailblazers, as their recent album, Mammoth Waltz, effectively blends the traditional Cajun strains so evident in the music of Les Frères Michot with modern rock sensibilities. Following in the footsteps of their father and uncles, the Lost Bayou Ramblers have spread their music beyond Louisiana, playing festivals and clubs across North America.
The Michots should rightly be considered at the forefront of the battle to preserve the French language in Louisiana, particularly through their use of French lyrics in Les Frères Michot and Lost Bayou Ramblers. Yet they also are involved in other forms of cultural preservation. André Michot, for instance, has become a master accordion builder and thus provides one of the main instruments of Cajun music for other musicians. His brother, Louis, was among the founders of the Acadiana Seed Bank, which preserves our area's agricultural heritage and serves as one part of the Cultural Research Institute of Acadiana. He and his family were recently featured in a New York Times piece about his home, which was hand-built using centuries-old construction techniques and reclaimed materials."