ARTISANS

Vermilionville Living History Museum & Folklife Park invites visitors to step back in time with a tour or self-guided leisure walk through its historic village. Walkways connect each of the buildings and travel through picturesque moss draped oak and cypress trees along the Bayou Vermilion.

Vermilionville contains a number of original fully restored structures dating in a period of time from 1765 through 1890, as well as recreations of other buildings of this period. The Artisans who work daily in the park provide a glimpse back to a time gone by where Acadians, Creoles and Native Americans provided for themselves and their families. 

Artisans provide demonstrations on a variety of essential crafts performed by the early Acadians, Creoles and Native Americans. Please take a moment to read about some of the Artisans who are dedicated to their craft and to the presentation to all visitors. 

Want a piece of history? You can have it here at Vermilionville. 

Many of the products our Artisans produce are available for purchase in the Vermilionville Gift Shop. 

 


Daily Menu


Events

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Brenda LaLonde

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Brenda LaLonde

Brenda is a fourth generation Cajun seamstress from Cecilia, Louisiana. She learned the art of sewing as a young girl, and her interest has since led her to adopt techniques for a wide range of Cajun cultural crafts, including spinning, weaving, soap and candle making, and open-hearth cooking.

With her background as a seamstress, Brenda is also very good at making rag dolls, a traditional Acadian craft. She has led many workshops on her various talents, including those held at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the Jean Lafitte Acadian Cultural Center. She has also demonstrated on local television programs.

Brenda is fluent in French, a skill she has honed as a living history artisan at Vermilionville for many years.

Brenda LaLonde
Chief John Mayeux

Chief John Mayeux

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Chief John Mayeux

Brenda is a fourth generation Cajun seamstress from Cecilia, Louisiana. She learned the art of sewing as a young girl, and her interest has since led her to adopt techniques for a wide range of Cajun cultural crafts, including spinning, weaving, soap and candle making, and open-hearth cooking.

With her background as a seamstress, Brenda is also very good at making rag dolls, a traditional Acadian craft. She has led many workshops on her various talents, including those held at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the Jean Lafitte Acadian Cultural Center. She has also demonstrated on local television programs.

Brenda is fluent in French, a skill she has honed as a living history artisan at Vermilionville for many years.

Cliff Mire

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Cliff Mire

Cliff Mire is a self-taught wood carver who has been honing his skills for more than four decades. He got his start carving after his wife was unable to find the type of wooden jewelry she wanted. Beginning only with a pocket knife, a 4-sided rasp and sandpaper made from actual sand, Cliff quickly found he had a natural talent for wood-carving. He since moved into carving wildlife and one-of-a-kind wooden mystery boxes sold at Vermilionville’s gift shop, La Boutique.

Cliff works with all types of wood, including pine, walnut, mahogany, oak and white cedar, but his favorite is cypress collected from the Atchafalaya. A process called spalting makes Cliff’s creations as visually appealing as they are functional. Spalting is the result of a naturally occurring fungus invading the wood and can take upwards of six to eight months. The fungi introduced to the wood sense the presence of one another and secrete chemicals to mark their terriotry, causing the discoloration of the wood. Once the spalting process is complete, Cliff removes the wood from the damp area and moves it to a dry area where the fungus cannot survive.

Cliff is extremely passionate about his work at Vermilionville and has carved every day for the last 41 years. He enjoys speaking French with visitors to the village and actively involves himself in sharing his craft with the community. He is the father of six boys and one girl and the husband of a woman who gently nudged him into his dream career.

Cliff Mire
D'jalma Garnier

D’jalma Garnier

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D'jalma Garnier

D’Jalma is a seasoned Creole fiddler dedicated to preserving the history and tradition of his upbringing. Living amongst a family of musicians in New Orleans, D’Jalma began a musical legacy at the age of five, training first on the violin. By age 18, he become an accomplished guitar player and played with some of south Louisiana’s most well-known bands and musicians, including the band Filé and Terrence Simien. 

Following in the footsteps of his late grandfather, the renowned New Orleans Jazz bandleader and fiddler, “Papa Garnier.” D’Jalma adopted the art of the Creole fiddle, a passion he has embodied for over 20 years. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Music Media and a Texas Folklife Resource Grant to study Creole fiddle with NHA Master Creole fiddler Canray Fontenot in 1993. D’Jalma’s most recent accomplishment is authoring the book, “Louisiana Creole Fiddle Method” published by Mel Bay Publications.

 

Em LeMieux

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Em LeMieux

From as early as Em LeMieux can remember, she has had a fascination with history and with the clothing and fabrics of the past. Her love of period fashion eventually inspired her to pursue a career as a costume designer and seamstress. It wasn’t until she moved to the Lafayette area from California, however, that she started to appreciate traditional crafts as a true art form. Her background includes theater as well as modern visual art, but over the years she has become more interested in sewing and making things.
LeMieux came to Louisiana to fully immerse herself in the culture she missed out on while growing up in California, and it didn’t take her long to jump in with both feet. She was profoundly inspired by what she saw and decided she wanted to learn traditional arts and crafts –LeMieux wondered, “What does it feel like to make something by hand just like people would have done 200 years ago?” She became particularly interested in Acadian textiles, so she began learning from elder masters of the craft. In addition to spinning and weaving, Le Mieux also creates reproductions of clothing from the 18th and 19th centuries, including some hand-sewn garments. Because of her interest in Acadian and Creole culture, she has learned to play the accordion and is becoming fluent in French, having acquired other traditional skills such as palmetto basketry, traditional doll making and open hearth cooking.
LeMieux considers herself a revivalist because she has picked up traditional arts and crafts as an adult after having received formal training in the fine arts, but intends to pick up where the last few generations have left off and pass along what she has learned.

 

Em LeMieux
Janice Mayeux

Janice Mayeux

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Janice Mayeux

Janice Mayeux, Morning Sun, is a Mississippi Philadelphia Choctaw. She specializes in traditional storytelling. Morning Sun collects stories from different tribes and adopts them to suit her own storytelling needs. She is passionate about keeping native cultures alive and believes in different tribes helping on another with this important task, stating, “we all just borrow each other’s stories.” Morning Sun has always worked with children and loves sharing her stories with visitors to Maison des Cultures at Vermilionville.
Working at Vermilionville gives Morning Sun the opportunity to share her stories with others and allows her to meet people from all over the world. She and her husband also volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America and participate in area Pow Wows. They have visited area schools and libraries and guest-lectured at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as storytellers and experts on local native culture. Morning Sun loves working at Vermilionville and describes the community as a “big happy family.”

 

 

Jeanette Neveu

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Jeanette Neveu

Jeanette is a self-taught jewelry maker who specializes in crafting jewelry and rosaries from Job’s Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi) seeds. Using Job’s Tears is not only traditional to Acadiana, but it allows Jeanette to utilize both her love of gardening and knowledge of native Louisiana plants. She lives in Youngsville, Louisiana, where she grows her Job’s Tears plants and harvests their seeds. These plants can also be found in the Vermilionville gardens, and Jeanette is happy to point them out to Vermilionville visitors.

The Job’s Tear is a member of the grass family and a close relative to corn. In some parts of the world, the plant is also called “Mother of Corn.” The plant’s hard seeds naturally feature a shiny, lacquer-like finish and a hole through the top and bottom making it perfect for use as a bead. Jeanette works with these to craft jewelry pieces in the same manner her Acadian ancestors did many years ago. She currently demonstrates rosary-making in the chapel only on Saturdays.

Jeanette learned to speak French from her parents and loves to speak the language with visitors to the village. Her bracelets and rosaries can be purchased at the Vermilionville gift shop, La Boutique.

 

Jeanette Neveu
Jules Guidry

Jules Guidry

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Jules Guidry

Jules (known in the region a “Nonc Jules”) is a Cajun from Carencro, Louisiana. Jules taught himself to play the Cajun accordion, the triangle (or also known as the “tit fer“), and the harmonica (or also known as the “musique à bouche”). He currently leads the band “Nonc Jules and Lachez-Les” and has written and recorded many popular Cajun music songs with some of the area’s leading musicians. 

Since June of 1983, Jules has worked as the on-air host of KRVS’s weekly Cajun music show, “Le Bal de Dimanche Apres Midi” (the Sunday afternoon dance), and is the recipient of the Jo-El Sonnier Greatest Cajun DJ Award presented to him in 2007. He hopes to preserve the tradition of Cajun music by promoting it among the young and aspiring musicians. He has been an active part of the Vermilionville family since opening in 1990. He is married to Mary Lou Guidry, who has also worked and performed at Vermilionville.
Even before Jules came to Vermilionville, his passion for the French language was evident by his work as the accountant for CODOFIL. (Council for the Development of French in Louisiana) where he worked for 17 years. Jules enjoyed a 35-year career in Louisiana State Government, retiring in 1998. On February 27, 2010, Jules was inducted into the Order of Living Legends at the Acadian Museum in Erath, Louisiana.
Most days, you can find Nonc Jules at Vermilionville entertaining guests at the historic schoolhouse (L’École) with his stories of the Acadians and playing his accordion. Take the opportunity to stop in and visit with him. We can assure you your visit will be memorable and rewarding.

 

Katie Villien

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Katie Villien

Originally from Ville Platte, Louisiana Katie Villien has been sewing since she was a young girl. Her mother introduced her to sewing when she was only five years old. She began by making clothes for her Barbie doll using only her mother’s discarded scraps of fabric. Today, Katie makes period costumes for Vermilionville employees. As Katie says, “we can’t buy our clothes at the mall because we’re 150 plus years out of style.” With a focus on remaining true to the village’s historical periods, Katie constructs garments using time-appropriate materials and patterns. Additionally, she demonstrates use of the foot treadle sewing machine for visitors to Vermilionville.
Katie also demonstrates crewel embroidery and needlework, which she began doing when she was ten years old. Katie enjoys crafts of all kinds and believes in the Cajun way of making do with what you have. She believes that the best gifts are the ones people make themselves. Katie delights in sharing knowledge and currently teaches her granddaughter how to sew.
Katie’s employment at Vermilionville has allowed her to reconnect with her roots after living in Virginia for fourteen years, and it has given her a better understanding of her father, who, like many others in the area, had to stop speaking French when he first went to school. Katie enjoys seeing what life would have been like in the past and is excited to be a part of history that can be seen and not just read about. She loves talking with Vermilionville visitors and believes that there is something she can learn from each of them.

 

Katie Villien
Bob Borel

Bob Borel

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Bob Borel

Born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana to Cajun parents who spoke French as their first language, Bob is a lover of history and refers to himself as a “self-taught historian-in-progress.” Inspired by frontiersmen like the coureurs de boisand his own heritage, Bob began to seek out ways to learn the old crafts and skills practiced by his ancestors. His passion for learning and understanding the pastimes of a bygone era have inspired him to pick up traditional craftsmanship as an adult and pass what he has learned onto others. At Vermilionville, where Bob has re-immersed himself in his heritage, he has given presentations on Acadian history, bousillage and trapping (especially concerning the coureurs de bois) and hide preparation. He is also knowledgeable about bushcraft, leatherwork, firecraft and fibercraft (including finger weaving, Inkle Loom and cordage making)

 

 

IN MEMORIAM

Joycelyn Trahan

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Joycelyn Trahan

Joycelyn Trahan was a beloved artisan employed by Vermilionville for over 15 years. She was a tenth generation Acadian and who spoke French language of her ancestors. Her understanding of and appreciation for traditional Cajun textiles stemmed from a background in sewing, which she learned from her mother while growing up in Lafayette, Louisiana.

She led workshops on quilting and rag doll making during her time at Vermilionville. Joycelyn also taught wax flower making as a part of her scope of traditional Acadian crafts. With an extensive knowledge of fabrics and clothing styles of the late 18th and 19th centuries, Joycelyn made the majority of the on-site Vermilionville costumes.
Joycelyn also sold her beautiful work in the Vermilionville’s gift shop, La Boutique. She offered slat bonnets, regular bonnets, cooking aprons, as well as traditional Acadian period costumes, allowing visitors to take a bit of history home with them.
Joycelyn Trahan
Barbara Patin

Barbara Patin

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Barbara Patin

Barbara Patin was a beloved seamstress who began sewing since she as a teenager. She was also skilled at crochet and embroidery. At Vermilionville, Barbara made corn husk dolls. She used a plain, traditional style to make dolls as children would have made them in the mid-1800s. Because of her attention to tradition, she did not use an elaborate style, decorating the dolls with only found objects, such as acorn caps, Spanish moss and scraps of cloth. The dolls themselves were made from corn  husks, like those used to make tamales.
After moving to Lafayette with her father in 1965, Barbara considered Acadiana her home. She loved being around her family in south Louisiana and meeting new people at Vermilionville.

Merlin Fontenot

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Merlin Fontenot

At 93 years old, Merlin Fontenot was the oldest member of the Vermilionville family. Merlin was a time-honored master of the Cajun Fiddle and promoter of Acadian culture. He began playing the fiddle when he was only seven years old, but even in his old age said that he was “still learning.” He never learned to read music, but learned to play “by ear” as a boy growing up in Eunice, Louisiana. Merlin was a fixture at Cajun dance halls by the age of 15.

Merlin’s skill earned him much recognition, having won fiddle championships as far away as Florida, where he performed in front of crowds of more than 15,000 people. He performed twice on stage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee and was honored as a master musician in a music series presented by Harold Bernard.

Merlin was with Vermiionville for more than twenty years and was known to draw many returning guests who, years later, requested to see this Cajun legend. He enjoyed playing music and sharing his knowledge of Acadian culture in the school house (l’Ecole), where he engaged young and old visitors alike and encouraged his audience to share in his enthusiasm through participation. Merlin believed there is no place in the world like south Louisiana and said there was no where he would rather be.

 

Merlin Fontenot

Book a Tour

The Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folklife park provide a wonderful educational experience for adults and children alike. Book a tour today.

Weddings

Weddings can feature a variety of appetizer items, banquet style meals, a barbecue or crawfish boil offered through our on-site catering department. 

Rentals

Canoe and Kayak Rentals allow paddlers and adventurers  an opportunity to enjoy the timeless beauty of Bayou Vermilion at their leisure

Experience

Experience some of the main attractions at Vermilionville such as Historic Homes, and immerse yourself in the rich history of Acadiana

Shop

Vermilionville’s gift shop, La Boutique, offers a unique selection of Cajun, Creole and Native American arts and crafts, as well as literature and music CD’s from the area.

Dine

Be honest : you’re here because you’re craving something authentic, right? And by the grace of good taste, you’ve found yourself at our kitchen.

Educate

Education is a main focus at Vermilionville.  We strive to offer an educational and entertaining outing for students referred to as Cultural Excursions.

Photography

Thank you for your interest in using Vermilionville Living History Museum & Folklife Park as a backdrop for your photo sessions.

HOURS

Vermilionville is open six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Please keep in mind that we stop taking admission at 3:00 p.m. daily as it takes approximately an hour to an hour and thirty minutes to tour our historic village.

Our historic village is closed on Mondays and for major holidays including New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, Mardi Gras Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

 

Copyright ©2019 Bayou Vermilion
District All Rights Reserved

REGULAR ADMISSION

Adults (ages 19 – 65): $10.00 per person

Senior Citizens (age 65+): $8.00 per person

Students (ages 5 – 18): $6.00 per person

Children (under 5): No Charge

GROUP ADMISSION (MINIMUM OF 20 PEOPLE)

*Adults (ages 19 – 65+): $8.00 per person

Students (ages 5 – 18): $5.00 per person

Children (under 5): No Charge

* Disclaimer: In order to receive the reduced admission rate, groups must be booked in advance and one payment made upon arrival.

DISCOUNTS

AAA: Adult $9.00, Senior $7.00, Student $5.00

Active Military plus Dependants: $5.00; $7.00 Senior & Retired

Le Guide Routard: $6.00

ULL’s Alumni Association (must present current member ID): $6.00

Louisiana Public Broadcasting: $2.00 Off Admission

National Preservation for Historic Trust: $2.00 off Admission

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ACCESSIBILITY

Vermilionville is completely handicap-accessible. Our attractions are outfitted with a wide ramp for wheelchair and walker access. If you require a wheelchair, please inquire in the gift shop and we will be happy to provide you with one to utilize during your visit.

DIRECTIONS

Vermilionville is located in the heart of Lafayette, Louisiana, right across from the Lafayette Regional Airport off of Surrey St.