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Nov. 17, 2015


For Immediate Release

Brittany Racca
(337) 365-1540

(888) 942-3742



Iberia Parish Convention 

and Visitors Bureau

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Les Cenelles Gala Posponed to Dec. 15
Zachary Richard holds a copy of Les Cenelles
NEW IBERIA, La. --- Due to inclement weather, the Cenelles gala opening, originally scheduled for tonight, Nov. 17, was postponed to Dec. 15, 2015. 

The book will still be on exhibit from Nov. 17, 2015 to Jan. 15, 2016 at the Iberia Parish Library's Main Branch (445 E. Main St., New Iberia). 

The gala on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. will feature North Lewis Elementary French immersion students reading from Les Cenelles, as well as their own original poems, accompanied by Zachary Richard, Louisiana's first French language Poet Laureate. 

Les Cenelles, published in New Orleans in 1845, is one of the most important publications of both Franco-Louisiana and Afro-American history. 

Under the direction of Armand Lanusse, 17 Louisiana poets, all French-speaking free men of color, contributed to this first anthology of African American poetry in the history of the United States.

Throughout Louisiana, but especially in New Orleans, free persons of color were a group apart, shunned by both blacks and whites. Of mixed race for the most part, they were a cultivated and prosperous class, including artisans, planters, members of the liberal professions and artists. But despite their culture and their wealth, white French Creole society was closed to them. Many of the most talented among them went into self-imposed exile in France where they enjoyed brilliant careers. Victor Séjour, for example, had more than 20 of his plays produced in the theaters of Paris, and Edmond Dédé, a composer and musician, served as orchestra director of the theater in Bordeaux for 25 years.

These free men of color spoke and wrote a very elegant French, as can be seen in Les Cenelles. The themes they chose for their poetry typically do not represent the Louisiana context directly: allusions to local realities are rare, and the poets make little reference to slavery, to the relationship between blacks and whites, or to their own ambiguous social standing. However, if one reads between the lines, one can find certain reflections of Louisiana experience, especially in the poems written by those who had come to see Louisiana from the outside. Their poems, often written to be sung to popular melodies, also reflect the Romantic literary style indigenous to France at the time.

This free event is made possible by the generous support of the Haynie Family Historical Foundation and is sponsored by the State Library of Louisiana, Action Cadienne and the Festivals Acadiens et Créoles.

For more information, contact Sami Haggood at (337) 364-7150 or SHaggood@iberialibrary.org

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The Iberia Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official parish marketing agency promoting New Iberia, Avery Island, Jefferson Island, Jeanerette, Loreauville and Delcambre as a destination. Marketing programs target leisure travelers, business travelers, media, entertainment industry, and the travel trade including group tour planners, meeting planners, sports planners and special event planners. The bureau operates a parish welcome center located at 2513 Hwy. 14 in New Iberia.


For more information on parish events and tourism assets, call the Iberia Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau at 337-365-1540 or visit IberiaTravel.com

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