Aug. 9, 2016 10:57 AM

The long-shuttered Southern Club in Opelousas, photographed in 2013
Photo by Robin May
South Louisiana’s disappearing dancehalls will be highlighted during the 2016 Festivals Acadiens et Créoles, which is set for Oct. 13-16 at Lafayette’s Girard Park. This annual festival, which started in 1974, traditionally honors a musician who has had a significant impact on Cajun and Creole culture.

Dancehalls will be honored this year. These live music and dancing meccas once numbered in the thousands in south Louisiana. But only a handful of these clubs remain in the 21st century.

John Sharp, a researcher at the Center for Louisiana Studies, leads the effort with the Louisiana Dancehalls Project.

The Independent first profiled Sharp and his dancehall project in our February 2013 issue when he and historian Jennifer Ritter Guidry were initially embarking on the project, which has now chronicled nearly 1,200 former dancehalls across the region. Read that story, “Saving Saturday Night,” by clicking here.

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