Living Ind

Funding Folklore

by R. Reese Fuller

A stellar night of music, Archive Aid III benefits UL Lafayette's Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore.

With a backlog of 1,200 recordings and at least 2,000 hours of work, the Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore at UL Lafayette has one person ' Kristi Guillory, media archivist ' performing the daunting task. Created in 1974, the archive is the most comprehensive collection of recorded and transcribed materials on French in Louisiana and includes more than 2,000 field recordings, 5,000 hours of audio of Cajun music, oral history and folktales ' as well as video, slides and prints.

But with the Grammy Foundation grant that funded the media archivist position for the last three years set to expire, the Center for Louisiana Studies is trying to raise $8,000 to continue the work. Guillory and Jennifer Cooper, the assistant director of the Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism, have organized the benefit concert Archive Aid III, sponsored by Action Cadienne, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Cajun French language and culture.

The first year's event raised $3,000, which helped fund the debut CD in the Louisiana Folk Master Music Series, featuring field recordings of fiddler Varise Conner. A second CD, focusing on story songs and ballads by women, is in the works. The ongoing project is a partnership with the Acadiana Arts Council and Lafayette Economic Development Authority.

In order for this work to continue, the archive is reaching out for funding and providing a musical night in return. On Saturday, May 13, Cajun and Creole musicians like Feufollet, Corey Ledet, Cedric Watson, The Brothers Savoy, and Bonsoir, Catin will perform live at the Blue Moon Saloon, beginning at 6 p.m., with an all-star jam session wrapping up the evening.

In addition to performances, the archive is presenting an exhibit of photographs taken by the Farm Security Administration titled Burnt in Their Youth: The Children of Depression Louisiana. A listening station will also be on-site for the public to access and browse the archive's current digitized catalog.

Admission to Archive Aid III is $10, and donations are welcome.

For more information on the Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore or to hear clips of the digitized recordings, visit To make a donation to the archives, contact the Center for Louisiana Studies, UL Lafayette, P.O. Box 40831 Lafayette, LA 70504-0831 or call 482-6027. For more information on Action Cadienne, visit