Créole Culture Day 2024

Welcome to our 22st annual Créole Culture Day Celebration!  Today is focused on celebrating, demonstrating, and honoring the Créole heritage in Louisiana and beyond!  As you dance, eat, and learn, consider the impact of the history and culture not only on the Créole experience of today, but also how far that impact reaches across Acadiana!

Le Programme du Jour

10:00 Day opens

10:00 – 12:00 RJ and Kreole Smoove in the Performance Center

10:00 – 4:00 In the Village:

Cultures:  la Maison Creole de Freetown

 Beau Bassin: Forgotten Trailblazers: America’s Black Cowboys

Schoolhouse:  Instrument Petting Zoo! (11 – 3)

 Mouton:  The Journey of Creole Foods

Acadienne: Healer’s Garden Tours with the Lafayette Master Gardeners

Boucvalt:  The Arts of Anne Guillot

 Buller: The Spoken Words of Alex PoeticSoul Johnson

 Broussard: Broussard House Tours & The Music Creole

11:00 Cooking Demonstration: Fried Okra with Rev. Sylvia Cluse

11:00 Heritage – a fictional short film with directors Chasah and Carliese West

12:00 Who Yo’ People? with following Q&A with director Dr. Lindsay Gary

1:00 Cooking Demonstration: Sweet Dough Pies with Deloris Sias

1:30 The Richard J Catalon award for Creole Cultural Preservation with Erica Melancon Fox in the Performance Center

2:00 – 5:00 Wayne Singleton & the Same Ol’ Two-Step

2:00 Heritage-a fictional short film with directors Chasah and Carliese West

3:00 Cooking Demonstration: Rice Dressing with Madonna Broussard of Laura’s Cafe #2

The 2024 Richard J. Catalon Creole Heritage Award

The Richard J. Catalon Sr. Creole Heritage Award was first established in 2004, honoring one of Vermilionville’s first artisan-interpreters, Richard J. Catalon Sr.

Shortly after retirement Mr. Catalon become engaged in his “dream job” at Vermilionville, where finally, he could talk about his life experiences as a Creole. For over ten years Mr. Catalon worked in the Mouton house and not only shared with guests his expert craftsmanship, but regaled visitors from around the world with the Creole history, often in his fluent French Creole language. He was known to visit local schools to share the history of the culture, traditions, and to encourage the Creole language.

This award honors contributions made by individuals who actively promote the advancement of the Creole Culture, through language, food, art, music, dance, Creole language studies, education, and traditions.

To date, nineteen local individuals have received the award for their outstanding contributions in the community and the furtherance of the culture, each of which meets the vision of the Catalon family by depicting character values as role models for the future generations, being involved with local cultural organizations, and are active ambassadors and promoters of the Creole culture and heritage.

    • • 2005 –Donald Cravins Sr                         • 2006- Herb Wiltz
    • • 2007- Deborah Clifton                             • 2008- John Broussard
    • • 2009- Herman Fuselier                            • 2010- Mary Goody
    • • 2011- Geno Delafose                               • 2012- Goldman Thibodeaux
    • • 2013- Willis Prudhomme                         • 2014- Rebecca Henry
    • • 2015- Paul Scott                                       • 2016- Paul Cluse
    • • 2017- Melvin Caesar                                • 2018- Gloria Linton
    • • 2019- Geneva Phillips                             • 2020- Darrell Bourque and Patricia Cravins
    • • 2022 Tiffany Guillory Thomas                 • 2023- Lena Charles


Erica Fox is a local griot, community advocate and professional singer with over 40+ commercial recordings. She has performed in stage plays and performed at such venues at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and being civic minded in her entrepreneurial approach, she launched Attakapas Collective, a BIPOC creative makerspace in Lafayette. She is the founding member of Lafayette’s first African American history museum, Maison Creole de Freetown located in the Freetown neighborhood. She continues to champion for the preservation of history, music and culture in Acadiana.

Today’s Music & Films

A Creole-speaking native of rural east Texas, Jackson grew up hunting, riding horses and playing gospel music with family. After years of listening to zydeco on the radio and at trail rides, Jackson witnessed a live Keith Frank performance and became hooked.

After touring and recording with Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Jackson started his own group, RJ & Zydeco Smoove before settling on RJ & Kreole Smoove.  RJ & Kreole Smoove is a smooth, grooving, hard hitting Zydeco band based out of Lafayette, Louisiana that plays a variety of traditional and contemporary Zydeco.  RJ & is one of the younger, newer Creole bands on the “Zydeco Block”, but not new to the Zydeco community from Louisiana to Texas, to California. But they have also traveled far and wide, and RJ is making a great name for himself with fresh style of Zydeco all over. This Talented young Creole has gained fans from all over. With a band filled full talented musicians, RJ “The Smoove” blends sound of Neo-Soul, Jazz, R&B, Funk, and Soul Music in with his style of Zydeco to keep the people vibing and dancing all night!

While some of the younger Zydeco musicians are pushing zydeco to the progressive left, Wayne & Same Ol 2 Step, keep their music firmly grounded in the Opelousas-Lawtell tradition of Zydeco. Mentored by the legendary Roy Carrier, Wayne Singleton, founder of the band, has toured and played throughout the United States and in Europe, playing such venues as Blast from the Bayou at Strawberry Park, Oshkosh Sawdust Days Jazz and Zydeco Festival, Gator by the Bay, Daphne Zydeco Festival and the Cajun & Zydeco Festival in Raamsdonksveer, Holland.

In an effort to spread the heritage of Zydeco music, a sense of hard work, and the importance of education to the younger generations, Wayne frequently visits local schools to help the students learn about the rich history of the genre and the types of instruments used in zydeco such as the accordion and the rubboard. Wayne is honest with the students about the hard work it takes to be a musician, and how setting goals, staying in school, and having a plan for their lives, is a more important key to their success than just picking up an instrument.

Who Yo’ People? is a documentary film by Dr. Lindsay Gary that explores the African heritage of Louisiana. It takes the audience on a journey of culture through the vibrant history, language, spirituality, food, music, and culture of the peoples who would become known as Louisiana Creoles, while exploring and interrogating the ideas of identity.  


Héritage is a coming-of-age story of a teenager, disinterested in her Louisiana Creole heritage, finds herself having to entertain a visitor who only speaks what sounds like French.  She’ll discover how magical it can be to truly connect to one’s own heritage.

A Chasah West & Charliese West film


Our Créole Culture Day is sponsored in part by the Lafayette Consolidated Government, the Acadiana Center for the Arts, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival & Foundation, and Louisiana CREOLE Inc.



Since 1984, Bayou Vermilion District has worked to beautify, conserve, and manage sites along the Vermilion, ensuring the preservation and enhancement of the natural, cultural resources for its citizens. The Bayou Vermilion District’s mission focuses on the environment and the unique culture of Lafayette. On the cultural side of our mission, the Bayou Vermilion District opened the Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folklife Park as a way to increase appreciation for the history, culture, and natural resources of the Native Americans, Acadians, Creoles, and peoples of African descent in the Attakapas region through the end of the 1800s. Through historic interpretation and conservation along the Bayou Vermilion, we strive to educate guests on the interactions of these groups and the connections between past and contemporary folklife, thus empowering guests to apply these lessons from our shared histories. For more information, please visit or