The Cajun community came together on July 28 to honor the survival of the Cajun-Acadian people, as well as two of its members who have worked tirelessly to share the culture, Brenda Comeaux Trahan and Ray Trahan.
The Acadian Memorial and the Acadian Museum of Erath joined forces in St. Martinville to induct the Trahans into the Acadian Museum’s Order of the Living Legends.
Warren Perrin, one of the founders of the museum, spoke of the significance of July 28 in Acadian history as the day that five members of the Halifax Council in Acadie (roughly the greater area of present-day Nova Scotia in Canada) voted unanimously to begin the deportation of the Acadians. The day was chosen as a day of commemoration as part of an acknowledgement of the horrors of the Acadian genocide signed by the governor general of Canada in 2003, the Queen of England’s official representative. It was short of an apology.
In addition to their induction, Perrin presented the Trahans with a certificate of special recognition signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal. Perrin noted the contributions of each of the Trahans to the Cajun culture:
While director of the Acadian Memorial, Brenda Comeaux Trahan brought the Save Our History and the Smithsonian Journey Stories program. She was also awarded Business Leader of the Year in 2003 by the St. Martinville Chamber of Commerce.
Ray is the founding president of the Louisiane-Acadie committee which sponsored Louisiana’s bid for the 2014 Congrès Mondial Acadien and the Grand Réveil Acadien in 2011.
“I have loved every minute of my time since I embarked here at the Acadian Memorial,” said Brenda Trahan.
“Our work is still not finished,” Ray Trahan said, and he invited everyone to take part in the second Grand Réveil to be held in 2016.
By video, René Légère, president of the National Society of Acadians in Canada, congratulated the Trahans.
“...On est fier de vous. Vous êtes des amis, partie de la grande famille.” (We are proud of you. You are our friends, part of the larger family.)
According to Janie Bulliard, Ray Trahan “...really gave the Acadian Memorial our Festival.” She remarked how well the husband and wife team worked together.
Mary Broussard Perrin spoke of what “wonderful ambassadors” they were around the world. Marty Guidry, president of the Acadian Memorial Board, shared congratulatory e-mails sent to the Trahans from around Louisiana and Canada.
Michelle Johnson, curator and director of the Acadian Memorial, served as mistress of ceremonies. She invited everyone to participate in the upcoming celebration of the National Day of the Acadians on Aug. 15. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Robert Dafford mural, and activities are planned around celebrating the anniversary. Other activities include the Martin genealogy, which hasn’t been seen since 1999, and activities for children.
The reception was preceded by Mass commemorating the Acadians.
Since 1995, the Acadian Museum in Erath has recognized and honored those individuals who help shape and define the Cajun culture. Others who have been inducted include singer-songwriters Helen Boudreaux and D.L. Menard, Katrina hero Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré and former Lt. Gov. Paul Hardy.