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Posts Tagged ‘Zydeco’

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Geno Delafosse

Geno Delafosse

La Poussiere means “the dust.”  The dance hall by this name in Breaux Bridge, LA was so named because the original floor was dirt, so when Cajuns danced a jig, the dust would fly.

Geno Delafose and the French Rocking Boogie sing a song entitled “She Makes the Dust Fly.”

Last night, my husband and I were Zydeco dancing to Geno at La Poussiere.

Twenty years ago, Geno would not have been welcome in La Poussiere.  There were strict unwritten rules against black people entering the club.  In 1996, The New York Times featured an article about a lawsuit that required La Poussiere to drop its policy and open its doors to black patrons, even on Saturday night.  Comments from locals stated that this was the way it’s always been.  There was an undercurrent of acceptance of racial discrimination.  However, as Breaux Bridge became more of a tourist area, these traditions came in to question.

Today, blacks and whites not only dance at La Poussiere, they often dance together. The cultures are becoming mixed and more accepting.  Last night, there was a Cajun man playing the triangle on stage with the all black band.

Yesterday, my friend Tara Smith posted about addressing civil rights issues with her students.  She teaches in an affluent, mostly white area.  She said, “As I have found in years past, none of my students had ever heard of Emmett Till, a boy not much older than they are, who lost his life to hatred and racism.   Few history text books seem to mention Emmett Till, and we can now add the names of Travon Martin and Tamir Rice (to name just two) to our country’s long legacy of racism and the heartbreaking violence it breeds.  But, teaching history demands that we seek the truth so that we can do better.”

Teaching demands that we do better.  We all need to do better.   We need to look at our neighbors as persons worthy of respect and honor whether we are dancing, having a meal, going to church, or driving on the highway.

Dancing and music are great equalizers. We are all comrades enjoying the parade.  Turn up the music, hear the beat, and remember always, always to be kind.

 

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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

chalk button 14

Fall is in the air…Whew Hoo! Morning temperatures almost require a jacket. Yesterday morning one of my students exclaimed, “It’s freezing!” I laughed. Because after daily temps in the 90’s, the 60’s feel like freezing.

The sugarcane is at its tallest. I drive to school through walls of tall sugarcane. Soon it will be harvested and the fields burned and the scent of sweet smoke will make fall-scented wind.

sugarcane 1

My students love the end of the month Chalkabration time. We pulled out the colorful fall colors and chalked poems. We had been discussing imagery in writing, so I was pleased to see imagery in their writing.

Kielan fall chalk

Chalkabration group

Emily fall poem

Tobie chalking

My husband and I love to dance. Thursday night we actually skipped our dance lesson to go dancing. One of our favorite bands was playing. The night was perfect. The crowd was amazed by the young rubboard player. She was incredible, dancing and playing along in beat with the band.

Chubby Carrier

Chubby Carrier

A shout out to my blogging friend, Holly Mueller. She wrote about her students responding to Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize speech with a hashtag. We watched the speech this week. My students were enthralled. They created hashtags and wrote passionately about her influence.

My hashtag is #inspirational because Malala gives the best advice in my point of view. Here are some of my tough questions and the answers to them. My first question is ”Why should girls go to school?” This is a question that Malala asked. I would say that the answer to this question is: girls should go to school because they should be and hopefully will be treated like every one else in humanity!!! Why do they even need a reason to go to school???? WE GIRLS MATTER!!! –Lani

#TakeALeap

“We have already taken many steps. Now, it is time to take a leap.” Malala believes that we have a done a lot to fight for children’s right to education. She believes that this should be the last time to fight for education. Every child deserves this because we are the next generation in the world and we can’t make it great if we can’t simply go to school to learn. –Vannisa

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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

This morning, I’ve been cleaning and doing chores like kitty litter and laundry. My hands smell like bleach. I kinda like the smell, tingly clean, but I should’ve worn gloves. As I swept the kitchen floor, what else was there to do but reflect on my week. Do I really have anything to celebrate? The list got longer and longer.

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The logo for SCBWI is a kite. I set out my kite last weekend. I found out it needs a few repairs, but it may fly one day. I have hope. The Houston conference gave me hope, but I also connected with other writers on this journey and that is what I celebrate today: Connections. I wrote about the conference for Slice of Life Tuesday.

On Tuesday night my husband and I attended a fund raiser for a fairly new nonprofit called the Shining Light Foundation. The organization provides financial assistant to children who have a dream. The event offered a roundup of local Cajun and Zydeco bands. I was particularly taken by a young girl playing the washboard. She has such a natural rhythm and a sense of confidence. I celebrate young talent and passion for going for it.

Chubby Carrier and students

Chubby Carrier and students

This week our gifted sixth graders finished up their project on Wonders of Iberia Parish by painting sets for an original play. Their performance was held at our Gifted by Nature Day for all elementary students, and the three boys that I teach felt proud of the accomplishment. I can see how this experience changed them into confident leaders. I celebrate student leaders.

set painting at WOW

My students continue to enjoy singing poems with Amy Ludwig VanDerwater over at The Poem Farm. Some of them are going to the site on their own between class meetings. One of my groups created their own song this week. See if you can figure out the tune. Here is a matching form from Amy’s site. Like Amy, I will post the Soundcloud tomorrow for you to see if your guess was right.

Written by Matthew, Tyler, Noah, Jacob, and Vannisa

Tree Song

Apples fall from apple trees
Watch out! Watch out!
Syrup comes from maple trees,
Sweet, a sticky mess!

Acorns fall from old oak trees.
Squirrels eat them.
Squirrels and humans both alike
all depend on trees.

All depend on trees,
All depend on trees.
Squirrels and humans both alike
All depend on trees!

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Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts.  Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!

Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts. Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!

My dance instructor, Lou, dances with legendary Zydeco Joe.

My dance instructor, Lou, dances with legendary Zydeco Joe.

I have been maddened, saddened, and frustrated by the happenings in Ferguson, Missouri. Could this happen in my own home town?

I asked this question to the line of people at Solomon House on Tuesday morning. Solomon House is an outreach mission that distributes groceries once a week to the poor in our community. I go every Tuesday morning around 7 AM and greet the clients. This Tuesday our Executive Director was out of town. She usually gives the devotional. I was asked to do it in her absence.

Clients wait for Brown Bag give out at Solomon House.

Clients wait for Brown Bag give out at Solomon House.


I was a bit emotional and nervous to address this mixed crowd. As I looked at the group, I saw white men and women as well as black men and women, young and old. Poverty does not know race. Neither does God.

I continued with my talk.

My husband and I love to Zydeco dance. We are two white people who didn’t know how to dance until we started taking lessons three or so years ago. Now we enjoy going out to dance. Zydeco dancers come in all colors. There are black men dancing with white women, old dancing with young, and women dancing with women. God wants us to be like Zydeco dancers. He wants us all to dance together no matter how old we are or what color we are.

I am also a teacher. I teach young elementary students. In the cafeteria yesterday, as the kindergarten students are getting accustomed to school, I asked an older student to take a kindergarten student to class. They held hands without hesitation, a black child and a white child. Children do not know prejudice.

Let us be like Zydeco dancers and like children. Let us hold hands and dance together.

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Michelle Haseltine is gathering the Nerdlution round-up at her site, One Grateful Teacher.

I am a total nerd and am embracing this nerdlution for 50 days. So how many days has it been? Eighteen, I think. I’ve had to cut my goal of exercise every day to exercise 5 days a week and I’m counting dancing as exercise. My husband and I invited some friends out for Zydeco dancing to Chubby Carrier on Sunday afternoon at Vermilionville. We love these Sunday afternoon gigs. One hour of jitterbug, waltz, and Whiskey River, and I checked off exercise for the weekend.

flickr image by Wally Gobetz

flickr image by Wally Gobetz


My second goal, writing every day, has gone OK, too, if I don’t worry about word counts. I have been journaling more and not really writing anything that anyone else will read, but practice is the important thing, right?

Staying Open, my One Little Word, is easier than I thought it would be. New things are available and happening all the time. On Saturday, I learned the art of Centering Prayer. I wrote about it on Tuesday for Slice of Life. I have kept up the practice every morning. The only downfall is that I resist the gotta-get-something-done mode. I get so calm and zoned-out that I want to stay in that moment. How many of you would love to live on a yoga mat? I know, it’s not very practical.

I got an appropriate fortune in my fortune cookie last night. “Don’t ask. Don’t say. Everything lies in silence.”

Laura Purdie Salas posts a 15 Words or Less poetry prompt every Thursday. This morning I wrote “Snow Cloud.” To see other poems in response to her picture prompt, visit her site.

Snow Cloud

Each time you
open yourself
to the world,
miracles happen
like snow from
boiling water.

My 15 word journal, a gift from my husband.

My 15 word journal, a gift from my husband.

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Another week into the nerdlution and I’m falling behind in one of my promises to myself. Exercise! Ugh! It’s always a challenge for me to fit. it. in. And the cold weather hasn’t helped. But this week has been better; I made it to Curves Monday and Wednesday mornings, Yoga class on Tuesday, and Zydeco dance lessons on Wednesday night. I’m even feeling a little sore. Learning to do the alligator walk does a job on your calves.

My attention to my OLW Open is working out pretty well. I try to attend the Acadiana Wordlab each week. On Saturday, the workshop leaders were two young actresses from an Improvisation Group, Silverbacks Improv Theatre. These girls were amazing actresses! We played the craziest games. In one of the games, we each added a line to a story; In another, we could only add one word. I participated even though I felt absolutely ridiculous and totally out of my comfort zone. As always in Wordlab, the writing was unique to the writer and wonderful.

And that leads me to my third nerdlution: writing every day. This has been easy with Laura Shovan’s daily color prompts. At her site, Author Amok, she is posting different color swatches from Pantone colors to prompt poetry. If we send her our poems, she posts them the next day. I have been feeling so famous all week as she daily posts one of my poems and tags me on Twitter and Facebook. Some other blog-friends are playing along, too. (Linda Baie and Diane Mayr) Please take a look at her post for today as it features one of my poems from my book Illuminate.

Let the nerdlution continue. Thanks to Michelle Haseltine for hosting the nerdlution round up every Thursday. Click here to read more.

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Join the Tuesday Slice of Life!

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life!

This morning instead of going to exercise, I am icing my ankle. Yes, I overdid it. My body is screaming at me. But I think it was worth it.

This was a great weekend for lovers of Cajun and Zydeco music. In nearby Lafayette, Festival Acadiens was held in Girard Park. The festival is full of traditional Louisiana music and all free!

Jeff and I danced Friday night to our favorite band, Geno Delafose and the French Rockin Boogie. Again, on Saturday afternoon, we headed out to the Festival Acadiens. Cory Ledet was jammin’ his accordian. We took a few rounds on the dance floor, a patch of sprayed down dirt in Girard Park. I have been a longtime fan of Michael Doucet and Beau Soliel, so we could not resist waltzing and jitterbugging when he came on stage. Michael is a master on the fiddle. He plays fast. My feet couldn’t help but move.

Downtown New Iberia skyline with Gumbo Cook-off tents.

Downtown New Iberia skyline with Gumbo Cook-off tents.

Sunday morning was the annual Gumbo Cook-off in New Iberia. Downtown filled with the scent of roux. Geno gets around and here he was in our own town playing at 9 AM. We skipped church to go zydeco dancing. I think God was smiling. A local photographer caught us and made us famous in the Daily Iberian.

A picture of our picture in the Daily Iberian.

A picture of our picture in the Daily Iberian.

My daughter said we looked like a young couple in the picture. My husband said, “That’s the point.” Of course, tell that to my ankle. The irony was apparent when I received the Poem-a-Day email featuring Jane Hirshfield’s poem:

Skeleton
by Jane Hirshfield

My skeleton,
you who once ached
with your own growing larger

are now,
each year
imperceptibly smaller,
lighter,
absorbed by your own
concentration.

When I danced,
you danced.
When you broke,
I.
See more here.

I am excited that Ruth Ayres is starting a new blog round-up for Saturdays on her blog Discover. Play. Build. Follow the button below and link up your Celebration post this Saturday.

Discover. Play. Build.

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