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33rd annual Zydeco Extravaganza celebrates music, creole culture

Posted: 8:41 PM, May 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-26 23:43:44-04

Each year the Zydeco Extravaganza draws in hundreds of people from all over, to watch some of the greatest zydeco musicians.

People broke out their hats and dancing boots, and two-stepped the night away in Blackham Coliseum.

What started as a small idea from two brothers, is now a festival on its 33rd year.

“My brother and I hosted a weekly radio program, a zydeco radio program. And as a result and growing out of that, we said ‘wouldn’t it be great to put together a festival to celebrate the creole culture and zydeco music?’ So that’s how we got started,” said founder and organizer, Charles Cravins.

Some attendees, like Alex Cieguillory, have enjoyed the festival every year.

“I’ve never missed one. I’ve been here since it started,” said the zydeco fan. “I feel like it’s the bands that they bring over here. They try to bring bands that will please everyone.”

Organizers say it’s a way to honor the creole culture, in a way everyone can have some fun.

“It’s an integral part of South Louisiana culture and the world’s culture, you know. My ancestors for instance have been in this area since 1764. We just feel that it’s really a part of who we are, it’s something valuable and it’s something worth sustaining,” said Cravins.

“This is what it is, fun, family-oriented. It’s all about the culture, the culture of the zydeco,” said Cieguillory. “You know this started probably centuries ago, what people used to play on the front porch on Sunday afternoons. They’d work all week in the fields and on Sundays they’d get together and play zydeco music.”