Wednesday, August 6, 2008

HOT TIME IN THE OLD MUSEUM

Hurricane Edouard seems to have missed my home town of New Iberia, Louisiana, and word to this post in Sewanee, TN is that no tree limbs are down, and the Bayou Teche has not flooded its banks. However, I received a message from my New Iberia friend, Brenda Lowry, that the weather and the music are steaming hot in Iberia Parish this week.

Brenda Lowry and Bubba Murrell came through Sewanee this summer on their way to Nashville, TN, just after their music group, Blue Merlot, had been voted the Best Blues Group in Acadiana and Bubba had garnered a Grammy for his music in Cajun/Zydeco. Brenda, a classically-trained vocalist and rhythm guitarist, says the heat last Sunday didn’t prevent Blue Merlot from performing at the Jeanerette Museum which is currently featuring a Smithsonian exhibit on roots music – New Harmonies of American Folk Music. The caption under Blue Merlot’s picture in the “Daily Iberian”, New Iberia, Louisiana, touted the music group as being “so hot they had to call the fire trucks out!”

The Jeanerette Louisiana Museum, Le Beau Petit Musee, is located ten miles from New Iberia on the banks of the Bayou Teche and is a small sample of life in Teche country. It’s a 100-yr. old cypress home that was dedicated as a museum in 1976. The interesting facet of the museum is its display depicting the last 200 years of the sugar cane industry in Louisiana. The exhibit has been on permanent loan from ULL in Lafayette, Louisiana, and various panels have been shown at the Smithsonian. The Jeanerette Museum has its own sugar cane patch right on site and features an antique sugar mill. One room of the museum is dedicated to the swamp wildlife of the area, including a specimen of a Louisiana alligator. Another room has cypress patterns from the cypress lumber and steamboat industries.

The venue of live music and cultural exhibit at the Jeanerette Museum must have been a double delight for those who braved the intense Louisiana heat last Sunday. Brenda says she “sweated like a pig and she knows no southern girl sweats…however…it was a sizzling Sunday.” On Aug. 17, Blue Merlot will jam with all Acadiana area musicians on the museum grounds.

If you want to know more about “jazzy-bluesy south Louisiana music,” log on to my friends’ web site: www.blue merlot.com to find out more about “gumbo funk…from ballads to blues and jazz.” P.S. Brenda and Bubba also do a wonderful performance called “Women at the Well,” ballads about the women in Christ’s life, and they’re always looking for an opportunity to perform this music in churches, at retreats and conferences of any type.

Wish I had been there to enjoy the sizzle!
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