Allons in Cajun French means come now or let’s go, which perfectly sums up what our new blog series is all about. Each week we will bring you a series of stories told by our featured artist for the quarter. From tales of their life growing up in this special place to the latest food trends, local restaurants, attractions, music and upcoming events, Allons takes you along for the ride. Our featured artist for the third quarter is local singer, songwriter and poet Zachary Richard. Allons caught up with Zachary to talk about his childhood and memories of the family traditions that solidified the foundation of who he is today.
“I grew up in the small town of Scott, Louisiana, which had the advantage of being a small town when you’re a small child-it’s a very close knit community.”
“I’m an only child, but that’s the exception that proved the rule that Cajun people have a lot of kids. I have 27 first cousins on my father’s side; we had to have name tags at one point.”
“It was very securifying to be in a family where there was something always going on. An uncle, aunt, cousin dropping by and there was always activity. There were of course the major events that punctuated the calendar; all these festivities that we collectively celebrated. It was normal to me, but I look back and realize how fortunate I was to be able to grow up in that environment and be nourished by all this love.”
“My grandparents lived two doors down from me and they were very joyous people. I think it was very typical of their generation-the last monolingual French speaking generation in Louisiana. My grandfather had five sons before he had my mother, she was not spoiled. His sons would get under the house to smoke cigarettes, he caught them and from then on he made them smoke in the house. His house became the magnet for all the adolescent exuberance in the neighborhood.”
“My parents were more serious. My father was very serious. He was a good American that wanted me to do well and to achieve. We had access to all of that but then there was this other place we would go whenever someone from the older generation is around. We all spoke French, which was very joyful and exuberant. Being part of that was a real joy and treasure for me now because it nourished my soul and heart for my whole life.”
“That spirit is something I found very seductive as a child and something that I am convinced is absolutely unique in this American experience.”
“What really touched me is the spirit within these people.”