Maine filmmakers Brenda Jepson and Dr. Francoise Paradis will premiere their documentary “The Story of the Cajuns — Part I” in Louisiana this month in New Orleans and throughout Acadiana.
The film interviews Cajuns from all walks of life — from a shrimp fisherman to a college professor and from a cowboy to an Acadian artist. The stories are woven together with narrative links from Cajun musician and storyteller David Greely, whose lyrical fiddle tunes also grace the film’s soundtrack. Greely’s ancestor, Olivier Theriot, was instrumental in bringing a large contingency of Acadians from France to Louisiana in 1785.
“We could never have made this film without the tremendous help we had from Cajuns from start to finish,” said Jepson, who has been making films for PBS for more than 30 years. “We stayed with them throughout the filmmaking in Louisiana, and they not only took us into their homes, but they took us into their hearts. This has made all the difference in capturing the authenticity of their story. ”
The film tells the story of how Acadians were expelled by the British from their homes in the Maritime Provinces of Canada during the deportation that began in 1755. Some made the arduous journey to France, some throughout the 13 colonies and some to their new home in Louisiana. The film explores the hardships they faced and reveals how they survived and thrived in South Louisiana, in a climate so different from their ancestral Acadie.
Footage was shot in Canada, France and Louisiana.
The world premiere of “The Story Of The Cajuns Part I” will be held April 19 at an assisted living residence, Vista Shores, in New Orleans. Cajun artist Mary Anne Pecot de Boisblanc appears in the film and is now at the home.
Free showings include:
St. Martinville’s Acadian Memorial, 6:30 p.m. April 21;
Lafayette’s Vermillionville, 6:30 p.m. April 22;
Lafeyette’s Festival International, continuous showings, April 23–27; and
Ville Platte High School Auditorium.
The filmmakers will be present during their tour.
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