I was delighted to participate in this documentary film about current-day Cajuns in America. I first met the director, Monique LeBlanc, when she arrived with her small crew in Tennessee where I was directing an episode of Nashville. As soon as I saw her, I called her “Cousin!” because she looked (and felt…) like a part of my family. They shot a bit of me working as a director that day, and I suppose some of that footage will end up in the documentary; but mainly, it was just a kick to have them around — the French cousins. They all spoke French to one another, and English to the rest of us.
Later Monique and the crew interviewed me at my home in Los Angeles about memories of my Acadian grandparents and family, and how their influence has played out in my work as a writer and in my life in general. I was most proud to show them my collection of fine art by Louisiana artists. Last August I went to New Brunswick for about ten days on a self-created writing retreat among the small towns and villages of my Acadian ancestors. It was a tremendous experience in so many ways. First of all, the lobster was a-mazing… but feeling the connection to the warm, open, sassy people I met, most of whom had French names that echoed the families I grew up among, recognizing their culture, their food, their physical characteristics as my own was kind of mind-blowing. I loved it. And in the course of writing while there, I remembered French phrases that my grandparents used, phrases I hadn’t thought about in fifty years. I am so grateful to Monique for bringing me back to this homeland.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the film and hearing about the other artistic Cajuns spread throughout our American culture. I’ll post when I know more about where the film will be aired/screened. Here is Monique’s description of the documentary:
DEVENIR AMERICAIN – BECOMING AMERICAN
BECOMING AMERICAN is a one-hour documentary produced by the independent production company CinImage Productions for Radio-Canada, the French Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) for the World Acadian Congress. The film focusses on the Acadian presence in the United States.
The documentary begins by exploring the lives of Acadians who remained in America after they were deported from French Canada by the English, men who went on to play significant roles in the military, business and political spheres of the newborn nation.
But the film is far more about present-day Americans with Acadian ancestry, a discovery of their work and contribution to the country they call home. From Maine to South Carolina, from New York to Montana, from Louisiana to California, we criss cross the territory on a quest to meet , discuss with and celebrate a people of talent, conviction and determination.
Here are a few pictures of my time in Canada: