You can listen, dance or even play along to Cajun music at a twice-monthly jam session in the southeastern Louisiana city of Thibodaux. Organizers say the musical gatherings are a way to keep the music and culture alive.
The Cajun Music Jam Session takes place at Gina’s at the Legion, the old American Legion Hall that is now a restaurant and events venue in downtown Thibodaux. This city on Bayou Lafourche is about an hour’s drive southwest of New Orleans.
An open jam session
While some patrons order food, musicians take out their instruments and arrange their chairs in a circle. The number of musicians and chairs will expand over the next couple of hours. The instruments are all acoustic, the accordion, fiddle, guitar, and bass. And some participants tap out the rhythm on an iron triangle and washboard. All are welcome to take a seat and play along. “We see people who sit for the first time, and they don’t play real loud,” explains Gary LaFleur. He adds, “And then the next time, they’re a little louder.”
preserving cajun music in thibodaux
LaFleur and Quenton Fontenot are co-founders of the Cajun Music Preservation Society, which organizes the jam sessions on the first and third Wednesday of each month. Part of the group’s mission is to connect musicians who want to play professionally with groups looking to hire Cajun bands. Fontenot estimates that the Society has given out more than $70,000 to musicians in recent years.
Playing cajun music for the future
The bigger goal of the Thibodaux Cajun Music Jam session is to generate a greater interest in the local music. The live music, the dancing, and the families with children are part of an effort to save the culture of this region. “What we’re trying to do the most is plant the seed of Cajun music in the heart of the next generation,” Lafleur explains.
thibodaux cajun music jam on tv
Watch this Heart of Louisiana TV feature
The Thibodaux Cajun Music Jam sessions are held on the first and third Wednesday of each month at Gina’s at the Legion. The restaurant is located at 114 Saint Mary Street in Thibodaux, LA. Phone: (985) 492-2505.