A series about South Louisiana’s disappearing communities
In order to preserve the history, culture and traditions of South Louisiana’s lost communities, Garde Voir Ci’s spring 2020 issue, kicked off a series capturing the stories of the people that lived in these distinct places that otherwise would be lost. Places like Grand Bayou, Isle de Jean Charles, Cheniere Caminada, Last Island and the Houma Nation.
“That’s the last thing an Acadian wants to do is move,” says Paul Leslie, professor of history at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux. “You drive along the bayou and you see all these French named lanes and you wonder why? Why because their family originated here.”
Only the memories of those left and the documents of those no longer alive sustain Grand Bayou’s story. And Grand Bayou’s stories are the stories of its people. The community it created. And within them, Grand Bayou will always exist.
“I want to talk about this because Grand Bayou was so precious to me” says Jason Blanchard, a former resident of Grand Bayou.
Acadian culture has long been influenced by the land where they settled and the lives they built there. For the people of Grand Bayou, whose whole culture centered around the land, the forced removal was and continues to be crushing.
It is the little things that make up a culture. And for Grand Bayou, it is the stories of friendship, family, laughter and the simple everyday activities developed near the bayou side that bring this Acadian culture to life.
While the physical place of Grand Bayou may no longer exist, the people that lived there, the community they built and the stories they told will live on in the present through family connections and memories.