Heart of Louisiana: Farmers Market Jam
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - If you want to experience a farmers market with a big dose of cajun music and culture, then you need to head to Lafayette. Local farms, cooks, and artisans have been selling their wares to the beat of live cajun music for nearly a decade.
The musicians gather here under the shade of old oak trees every saturday morning at this Lafayette park, this jam session, a mix of professional cajun musicians, and amateurs provides the musical beat for a long running farmer’s market.
“The farmer’s market here is considered a producer only market, which means the vendors are required to create their own products. So there’s no buying and reselling of goods, which creates more of like a real crafters market,” Mark Hernandez said.
That means farmers are selling crops they harvest. Cooks are bringing their baked goods, jams and jellies. Fishermen sell fresh seafood, and artisans sell their creations.
“We want the works of those artists to be a little bit more elevated in the refinement of their craft,” Hernandez said.
But the live cajun music is a big draw for shoppers. People grabbing a bite to eat or a drink, and for those drawn to this authentic traditional sound.
“It gives a lot of people who may not be exposed to cajun and creole music a chance to see it done in an informal setting. They can get up close to it, they can talk to the musicians if they like,” Chad Huval said.
Chad Huval, a professional cajun musician and music teacher, is the jam leader. He heads a group of season performers, but also welcomes those still trying to learn to play or learn the traditional songs of acadiana.
“It’s wonderful music. People interpret it differently, and I love that. I love new interpretations of our culture, new expressions of our culture,” Huval added.
Speaking of french, I noticed this tent that is devoted to those wanting to speak the french language.
“We’ve got cajun french going on, we’ve got standard french. We’ve got someone from Belgium, someone from France, some people from south Louisiana, it’s all french. What do you talk about? Well, it’s like anything you talk about when you get together with friends, or you meet new friends, we just do it in french,” Kevin Doingue said.
One of the cooler things about this farmer’s market is that most of the vendors are set up under the shade of these 150- year-old oak trees. They are originally part of an agricultural center that was operated by the local college.
Now it’s called Moncus Park, a newly developed city park with walking trails treehouses and a water play area. It’s a complete family getaway with lots to do from playing to shopping and listening to music, and it’s all done with a heavy cajun accent.
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