Review by Leah Cooper
“N is for Nova Scotia, the Acadian homeland, because of the Great Expulsion, they are now in Louisiane.” Cajun ABC is a delightful stroll through the Cajun area of south Louisiana settled by French-speaking people who were exiled from Canada by the British in the mid-1700’s.
From “A is for Acadiana, Andouille, and All Saints’ Eve” to “Z is for Zachary Richard, Who Gave Us Against the Tide, Which tells the story of Acadians and gives us Cajun pride,” the book is filled with snippets of information and delightful pictures of this unique and fascinating area.
Author Rickey Pittman and illustrator Alexis Braud honor the proud history that has turned life into a celebration in Acadiana.
Through rhyme and pictures, the reader is treated to the fanfare of holiday bonfires on the levees of St. James; to the marsh lights of the fifolet and the Cajun music and dance of the fais-do-do; and to the rural traditions of the courir de Mardi Gras, as Le Capitaine leads the costumed revelers along the route to gather ingredients for the communal gumbo.
Young children will delight in the bright pictures and lyric melody of the words, but this is also a fun way for adults to explore the history and culture of Acadiana. Armed with internet access on a phone or computer, simply pick a word or picture and see what you can find.
I was intrigued by an “M” picture inscribed “Mary in the Bathtub.” Turns out there are a number of areas throughout the country, including south Louisiana, where it is common to find religious shrines of a statue of Mary, mother of Jesus, framed in an upright metal bathtub.
Another “M” picture led me to read about the fish rain in Marksville in 1947. The glossary at the end of the book will help with pronunciation and definitions, too. Rickey Pittman bills himself as the “Bard of the South” and is no stranger to Jefferson.
He performed for Girlfriend Weekend in January. In March he gave a musical history of Texas to Jefferson Elementary School students, then returned later in the month to attend the Charles Garrett Memorial Metal Detecting Hunt.
Thank you, Diamond Don Rainey and Francene DePrez, for donating your autographed copy of Cajun ABC to Jefferson Carnegie Library. Come by to check out this or other books by Richey Pittman, or to use one of our new computers.
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