Oh my Lord what a day – full of random and unforgettable conversations, AMAZING dance partners, sunshine, music- when I finally limp away from the festival grounds, I see the street is littered with broken Mardi Gras beads, which were tossed from the floats during the parade earlier today – Louisianans really know how to party! One more stop after I stock up on groceries: the Bayou Teche park I have spent many tranquil afternoons at on the past, with Mike and also alone- the water is high – as I’m doing my best to discreetly change out of my sweaty dance clothes and into traveling duds  while standing beside my open car door, I hear my name being called from a van driving slowly by: it’s Renaud, the Canadian gentleman who I took the waltz class with on Friday! We laugh at the serendipity of running into each other again, here – he was camping at the same place I was, but before I arrived, and moved over to this park to camp for the festival days- we chat about our journeys, with map on my car hood- very personable, soft-spoken, elegant man- he’s been on the road from his home in Toronto since February

I’m driving up toward Chattanooga now, to meet up with Craig tomorrow afternoon – I’ll drive a few more hours till I get a motel -the weather was definitely warmer, the sun hotter, but still beautiful
I awoke in my tent this morning to the honeysweet sound of a lone Cajun accordion playing a waltz in a minor key from across the campground- could barely see the person playing it, through the trees and behind the campers- I decided to go over and thank them for the beautiful music when I finished packing up – well, I end up spending about an hour talking with a French Cajun gentleman and his wife and another gal- he says he’s been playing about five years, and had his accordion handmade just for him by a fellow in Eunice –then he lets me play it  and gives me a basic lesson! I’ve been wanting a Cajun accordion for years, but never get around to it- it’s such a bizarre, complicated, beautful and almost exotic instrument! And oh the sounds that can come out of it…I’m dearly loving the experience, and vowing to get my own soon!  he has several broken fingers from having fallen off a roof, and shows me how his twisted joints  limit the range of movement on tbe keyboard- we talk about what it was like for him growing up down here in Acadiana, not speaking English – he comments on how the folks dance nowadays at places like the BBCF, with “all the twirling around and stuff like dat- we never dance like dat!”- we laugh-they lament how Lafayette isn’t like it used to be, and then onward onto some astoundingly racist remarks about the black communities, using the “n” word – it’s not the first time I’ve heard it on this trip, and it makes me sick- then they ask if I saw all the police in the campground yesterday “when they found the dead body in the bayou?” WHAT???  (or I should say WAT?) Apparently a camper came upon a dead male body floating in the bayou that runs right through the park – “he’d already been dead a while”- yikes and bless his heart-there are few things more hideous, in my opinion, than a bloated, drowned body-my soul is stirred in so many ways- deep pleasure from the accordion in my lap and the music it makes, deep disgust at systemic racism, and grief and sadness about the death-

That is Antoine!!! I’ve seen him dancing every time I come down here, during Mardi Gras week and the BBCF – he speaks with the local French Cajun accent and he is one hell of a dancer – I suppose he is in his 90s but essentially timeless – he tells me he is  not doing too well, “kind of stiff,” then you see him doing this – undeniable proof that dancing keeps you young (at least this kind of dance!)

The town of Breaux Bridge, with Bayou Teche running through it (tenche in native Chitimacha means snake) This bayou was the Mississippi River’s main course when it developed a delta 2,800-4,500 years ago ( thank you again, Wikipedia)

Many,many sweet memories of coming down here with Mike – some not so sweet, but that’s the way it goes sometimes – 

Wish my videos would upload, but as I mentioned I’ll get to that ASAP when I get home 

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