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— TA B L O I D E D I T I O N —

NO. 60 JANUARY 2018


The feature story begins on page 12.

Music from the Boozoo Chavis songbook will be featured this month at the first and third Tuesday Cajun Zydeco Dances in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. Boozoo passed away in 2001, but the music he played continues to be covered by artists in 2017 and beyond. His influence on both Cajun and zydeco music genres cannot be overstated. COMPANION TO THE E-NEWS VERSION:



Local, Regional and National Cajun & Zydeco

DANCE EVENT NEWS Welcome to Update! Newsletter No. 60 for January 2018. This newsletter showcases dance events from the FLORIDACAJUNZYDECO.COM website and publishes articles not on the website pages. We welcome DONNA THE BUFFALO to Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa on both December 30 and December 31st for their annual New Year’s celebration. Join us on the first and third Tuesday of the month (Jan. 2 and Jan. 16 this month) at Caddy’s on Central in downtown St. Petersburg for a CAJUN ZYDECO DANCE 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The feature story for this month is on the King of Zydeco, BOOZOO CHAVIS. Boozoo was actually the third “king” following Clifton Chenier and Rockin’ Dopsie. Boozoo recorded the very first song which came to be identified as “zydeco.” We’re on FACEBOOK in Groups (Florida Cajun Zydeco Dancers) and with our own Facebook Page (Florida Cajun Zydeco). Check us out and “Like” us to see the posts and reminders throughout the week. This is a good way to get your Cajun and zydeco fix between newsletters. loves to travel — in your pocket on your smart phone. Check the website for dance information wherever your travels take you. Regards, Jim Hance Publisher,

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! C O N T E N T S

What’s Happening 4 Cajun Zydeco Dances, St. Pete

Jan. 2 and 16 @ Caddy’s on Central

5 Donna The Buffalo in Tampa

Dec. 30 and 31 @ Skipper’s

6 Tab Benoit in Tampa

7 Gumbo Limbo Cajun Band in Gainesville Feb. 9, 2018 @ Heartwood Soundstage

8 Curley Taylor in Atlanta

Jan. 6, 2018 @ Dorothy Benson Center

Feb. 2 and 3 @ Skipper’s

Feature Stories 9 Revisiting the Boozoo Chavis Songbook

Even today, Cajun and zydeco artists find their inspiration in the music with that rural feel and irresistible zydeco rhythm that Boozoo Chavis made in the last century.

22 Photographer David Simpson Documents Cajun-Creole Culture

Eunice, Louisiana photographer keeps contemporary bands in sharp focus.

Cajun Zydeco Community 30 Festival-O-Rama

Check out the Festivals tab at which lists festivals across the nation. Here are some February festivals, mostly in Florida.

32 Gumbo Boogie Band

Dance parties in Bradenton and Treasure Island

32 Dance Communities Outside of Florida

Links to Atlanta, Houston and San Diego dance communities



First and Third Tuesday in St. Pete


 TUESDAY | JAN. 2  TUESDAY | JAN. 16 6 P.M. TO 9: 30 P. M. for our twice monthly Cajun and zydeco dance at Caddy’s

on Central in downtown St. Petersburg, FL, this month showcasing music from the Boozoo Chavis songbook. Good mix of danceable music by Cajun and zydeco artists singing about death, divorce, drinking and dancing. As Boozoo sang, “Dance all night, stay a little longer.” No cover charge. Caddy’s is at 217 Central Ave., St. Pete 33701. Visit for more information.

Photo by Jim Hance


Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!


Dec. 30, 2017 | Dec. 31, 2017

Donna The Buffalo at Skipper’s 8 P.M . Follow the herd to Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa on Saturday, Dec. 30

Photo by Jim Hance

and Sunday, Dec. 31st. Distinctive, groove-heavy, and danceable, Donna the Buffalo is a band for the people. One of the most dynamic and determined bands continuously touring America. Jim Lauderdale opens for the The Buffalo both nights. Lauderdale is best known as a hit songwriter for country, bluegrass, soul, R&B and rock artists, and has produced 29 albums as a solo artist as well. Tickets $25/$30 for Saturday, and $35/$40 for Sunday. Tickets available at


Feb. 2, 2018 | Feb. 3, 2018

Tab Benoit in Tampa 8 P.M. Tab Benoit (pronounced ben-wah) is a blues guitarist, musician, and

singer. His playing combines a number of blues styles, primarily Delta blues. He plays a Fender Telecaster Thinline electric guitar and writes his own musical compositions. Tab has recorded his own versions of several zydeco tunes (the Boozoo Chavis tune “Dog Hill,” the Clifton Chenier tune “Hot Tamale Baby,” as well as the Hank Williams’ tune “Jambalaya,” all of which he frequently performs in concert). In 2003, he formed “Voice of the Wetlands,” an organization promoting awareness of coastal wetlands preservation. Tab’s passion for Louisiana culture runs through his music, art, and lyrics. BBC World aired a special where Tab is featured talking about some of the things that he loves about the state while promoting its tourism to the rest of the world. Tickets $25/$30 for Saturday, and $35/$40 for Sunday. Tickets available at Also, check out Photo by Jim Hance


Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!


Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 @ Heartwood Soundstage, Gainesville


Gumbo Limbo Cajun Band

7 P .M . Cajun, Creole, zydeco, and swamp pop music and dance, with a little

country thrown in for good measure. The band has been delighting audiences for more than a quarter century. They love to play traditional Cajun waltzes and twosteps. The hard-driving rhythms, exciting vocals and powerful melodies of Gumbo Limbo’s music brings smiles to faces and gets folks moving. Gumbo Limbo is: Mike Stapleton (accordion, fiddle and vocals), Marietta Massey (percussion and vocals), David Massey (fiddle and vocals), Susan Marynowski (drums and vocals), Bill Paine (guitar), and Bob Stone (steel guitar). Find them on Facebook:


Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018

Curley Taylor in Atlanta 8 P.M. Curley Taylor plays for the Atlanta Cajun and Zydeco Association at

Dorothy Benson Center, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30328. 7 p.m. Beginner Dance Lesson 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Open dancing to Curley Taylor $18 admission / $14 for members Check website for dance events in Atlanta area at Photo by Jim Hance


Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!


IT I S U N DE NIABLE that when

Boozoo played, people danced. And what Boozoo recorded, others copied. Even today, Cajun and zydeco artists find their inspiration in the music with that rural feel and irresistible zydeco rhythm that Boozoo Chavis made in the last century. Not that Boozoo didn’t draw a lot from the work of others himself. A lot of music that zydeco artists have recorded has been handed down for generations in the Cajun and Creole music traditions. The original authors could be unknown. Other songs may have been blues or pops hits. But when Boozoo played it as a zydeco song and added his “magic,” people danced. And other artists borrowed that interpretation of the tune from him. As they still do today. Boozoo Chavis (1930-2001), the third and probably the last proper “King of



Visit Zydeco,” was certainly one of the most colorful characters to grace the zydeco stage. Nicknamed “The Creole Cowboy” for the white Stetson hat he wore and the life he led offstage as a rancher and trainer of race horses, he made the first zydeco hit recording in 1955, a number which would not be topped for another 30 years. Then, disgusted about not getting paid what he thought he was owed by the record company for his hit record, he left the music business and turned to farming and “Dog Hill” by Boozoo Chavis has been covered by hundreds of artists. Artists that have recorded ranching. When Boozoo returned to the music the song include Tab Benoit, Chubby Carrier and industry in the mid-1980s, he recorded a string Jeffery Broussard. A 2017 release by the Houston band Nooney and the Zydeco Floaters covers it too. of popular zydeco recordings which were quickly copied and covered by other zydeco artists. And he claimed the controversial and coveted title, “King of Zydeco.” Nearly every song Boozoo wrote was autobiographical about himself, his family and the farm life at his home at “Dog Hill”, and some versions were risqué. But what people loved was the simplistic yet raucous fast-tempo songs Boozoo achieved with his diatonic accordion that filled the dance floor as soon as the music began. “I’m not bragging for myself, but this style of music what I got, it’s gonna make you dance. It’s definitely gonna make you dance,” Boozoo asserted.

The Rough-Hewn Boozoo Style Boozoo’s music was raw and propulsive. He wore country clothes: a Stetson hat and an apron to keep his sweat off the accordion. With his rough-hewn voice and hefty accordion riffs, his band’s one-chord grooves had a mesmerizing intensity that kept dance floors packed.

11 Photo by David Simpson

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!

“I’m not bragging for myself, but this style of music what I got, it’s gonna make you dance.”



Chavis’ rough-hewn approach harkens back to the pre-zydeco “la-la” music he learned to play as a child. He grew up in a semi-rural section of Lake Charles, Louisiana known as Dog Hill, ostensibly because it was a former disposal site for stray animals and road kill. He learned to play the accordion by watching his father, who played house dances. As a child, Boozoo won a horse race, took the proceeds and invested it in a calf, and sold the full grown heifer to buy his first accordion for $35.

Paper In His Shoe “We’d go to school and sometimes we didn’t have no socks. In the wintertime we’d put paper in our shoes to warm our feet. That’s the God’s truth. That’s where that song, ‘Paper in My Shoe,’ comes from. Kids today are blessed.” Boozoo is credited with recording the first zydeco hit song, “Paper in My Shoe,” selling about 130,000 copies in 1954. It was a novelty number with a good dance beat about a singer so down and out as to not be able to afford to re-sole his old shoes. Over the years the song has been recorded by numerous artists, but the recording session did not go well for Boozoo. He was not used to working with a backup band. According to Goldband Records producer Eddie Shuler, “He’d start in before he was supposed to or come in late or leave off too soon,” said Eddie, recalling his exasperation. To say the least, Eddie was at wit’s end and was about ready to throw in the towel. “I was getting desperate and I had to salvage the session somehow. So, I bought a pint of Seagram’s 7 for $1.35 and gave it to him. After a while it loosened him up and the whole group began meshing really well,”

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! added Eddie. “We were just about at the 2:47 of elapsed time [recording “Paper in My Shoe”] preferred as the ideal cut-off point by juke box operators when I heard this horrible crashing on the other side of the partition which separated the control room from the studio itself. When I peered around, there was Boozoo on his back and on the floor still playing without skipping a beat even after falling off his stool,” claimed Eddie. Up to his death, Boozoo denied this version of the story, but Eddie’s testimony was corroborated by others. “I just had to be very creative and edit out the smashing sound effect. You might say I invented the cold fade in that one,” Eddie laughed. The recording experience with Eddie Shuler and Goldband Records ended bitterly when Chavis was not youtube .com video paid what he expected and his other songs from the recording session were not released. Boozoo fumed, “You can go to Goldband right now and look upstairs. He kept Iry LeJeune’s records, and he’s putting them out now that Iry LeJeune is dead. Been dead over thirty years, but they’re coming out with his records. When I’m dying, he gonna come out with mine.” According to Zydeco! author Ben Sandmel, “Chavis [was] one of many Creole and Cajun musicians whose encounters with the recording industry left them embittered. Exploitation and shady dealings continue to victimize black and white artists alike. But Chavis’ story also reveals an ugly legacy of the racism that he first experienced as a child and encountered again in the wake of his first record.”

Back in Dog Hill For more than two decades, he worked as a race horse trainer n his acreage in



Visit Dog Hill, sometimes playing his accordion under the tree on his property or at a neighborhood house dance. Then in 1984, Boozoo and his wife Leona were driving to a horse race and heard a radio advertisement for a dance featuring “Boozoo Chavis.” Someone was impersonating him. Chavis and Leona concluded that his reputation was strong enough to restart his performing career. Leona pushed Boozoo to reenter the zydeco scene professionally. Cajun and Creole music was growing in popularity as the disco music craze was fading, and zydeco was gaining an international following, thanks to Clifton Chenier. Most audiences were familiar with Clifton’s urban style of blues and zydeco, featuring a piano accordion backed by a full R&B band that included a front line of horns and a rubboard. In contrast, Chavis performed in a rural style, with a diatonic accordion backed by guitars and drums. Raw and gritty Boozoo was more like a Howlin’ Wolf. He focused heavily on the beat, pounding out a driving dance groove that often wore the dancers out. His lyrics were simplistic and highly repetitive, yet there was no doubt that Chavis’ music was good dance music.

The Comeback and The Crown ‘’Dog Hill,’’ a single about his neighborhood, put him back on local radio stations, and soon he was selling out dance halls. He went on to write songs about nearly everyone he knew, from his family to his manager. He also sang raunchy zydeco songs that were sold only locally from under the counter. Boozoo was back! Boozoo proceeded to go on a tear of producing a new album every year starting

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! with Louisiana Zydeco Music in 1986 which featured “Paper in My Shoe,” “Motor Dude Special,” “Dance All Night,” “Dog Hill,” “Boogie Woogie All Night Long,” and “My Toot Toot” among others. He followed with albums Boozoo Zydeco in 1987, Paper in My Shoe on Ace Records in 1987, Louisiana Homebrew in 1989, The Lake Charles Atomic Bomb (original Goldband recordings) on Rounder in 1990, Zydeco Trail Ride in 1990, and Boozoo Chavis on Elektra Nonesuch in 1991. Eventually, Mr. Chavis began working beyond the bayou circuit. He took his first commercial airplane flight in 1990 to perform in New York City, and he began releasing albums nationally on Rounder Records. In 1993, he was anointed the “King of Zydeco” according to the wishes of reigning king Photo by David Simpson Rockin’ Dopsie who died in 1993. Dopsie had proclaimed himself the heir to Chenier. Dopsie had filled in for Chenier for the recording of a tune on Paul Simon’s Graceland album (and subsequently sued Simon over authorship credit of the tune — the suit was dropped) and the mayor of Lafayette had declared Dopsie “King of Zydeco” at a concert there. But Dopsie’s was a contentious title in zydeco country, so much so that he avoided playing in Lafayette where he had become persona non grata. But Boozoo Chavis’ title as “King of Zydeco,” in contrast, was universally accepted. Through the 1990s, Boozoo gained fans across the United States and disciples among zydeco musicians such as Beau Jocque, Keith Frank and Jeffery Broussard. Jo Jo Reed released a song called “I Got It From Boo.’’ Chavis and Beau Jocque played concerts together billed as showdowns; Robert Mugge made a documentary, The Kingdom of Zydeco, about their friendly rivalry for the crown.




The Boozoo Chavis Discography







Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!












Visit Covered by Everyone Boozoo’s recordings have been covered by nearly everybody in Cajun and zydeco: “Dog Hill” by Jeffery Broussard, Tab Benoit, Chubby Carrier and Nooney and the Zydeco Floaters; “Lula Don’t You Go to Bingo” and “I Got a Camel” recorded by Pine Leaf Boys; “Motor Dude Special” has been covered by Beau Jocque, Keith Frank, Jeffery Broussard and Horace Trahan; “Tee Black” recorded by Cedric Watson and Donna Angelle; “Suzy Q” by Beau Jacque and Dennis Stroughmatt; “Johnnie Billy Goat” has been covered by Jerome Batiste and Dennis Stroughmatt; “Oh Yae Yae” has been covered by Nathan Williams and Terrance Simien; “Motor Dude Special” by Horace Trahan and Jeffery Broussard; “I Went to The Dance” by Joe Simien and Lisa Haley; and “Paper in My Shoe” by Lisa Haley and Michelle Shocked. This is not an exhaustive list, but a few examples of the rich legacy of Boozoo Chavis. But Chavis had little patience when he heard one of his melodies in someone else’s song. He acknowledges his debt to the older housedance players for such songs as “Paper in My Shoe” and “Forty-One Days,” but the turnaround rate for his tunes was unprecedented. In 1996, within weeks of the first time he played “You’re Gonna Look Like a Monkey,” it seemed to him that every band in South Louisiana was covering that song. Not everything that zydeco artists were Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys’ homage to covering from Boozoo’s recordings were Boozoo Chavis, “Boozoo’s Blues,” appears on the 2015 Voyageurs album. Also on the album is a blues Boozoo originals. “You’re Gonna Look Like a tune, “Bernadette,” sung by fiddler Kevin Wimmer which may or may not share origins with the Monkey” was originally recorded by blues faster-tempoed Boozoo tune of the same name.

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! artist Hammie Nixon. “Suzy Q” with slightly different lyrics was originally a blues tune recorded in 1957 by Dale Hawkins, and subsequently covered by the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Johnny Rivers and most famously by Creedence Clearwater Revival. “Bernadette” and “You Used to Call Me” have been covered by such a variety of artists that it is hard to identify the original authors. According to The Kingdom of Zydeco by Michael Tisserand, sometime before he went out to work on the barn, he turned on the radio and caught a new Keith Frank song, “Let Me Be,” that clearly owes its melody to Chavis’ zydeco version of “Suzy Q.” “I heard Keith Frank made my record ‘Suzy Q.’ But he sings, ‘Let me be, the place to be.’ Now you ask him, ‘What you mean with where you ought to be?’ What’s he going to tell you? He doesn’t know where you ought to be. He can’t tell you. If I make a record, I can tell you. I say, ‘I ought to be in the movies,’ or ‘I ought to be in heaven.’ But they can’t explain what they’re saying.”

No One Else Like Boozoo

“Sugar Bee,” which appears on Kyle Huval’s 2017 release Straight Allons, was a Boozoo standard that he recorded at least twice. The song was first recorded in 1960 by Cleveland Crochet, and the song was written by Eddie Shuler, Boozoo’s producer for “Paper in My Shoe.”

“I tell it to the people on the mike. I say, everybody’s trying to play Clifton’s music, but there wasn’t but one. And there ain’t but one Boozoo. They ain’t got two, they got one. Boozoo. One. Before me there was none. After me there ain’t going to be no more like him. There’s going to be some more, but not like Boozoo.” Standing around the kitchen table, his sons nodded. In the kitchen, Leona Chavis laughed, “Not like Boozoo,” she called out. As a promotional gimmick, Boozoo sold souvenir ladies’ underwear at his dance events with his picture printed on them and the


Visit Photo by David Simpson


Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! instruction, “Take ‘em off! Throw ‘em in the corner!” (a reference to the lyrics of one of his most popular tunes, “Dance All Night”). Chavis achieved local notoriety with raunchy versions of four of his tunes, “Deacon Jones,” “Uncle Bud,” “The Monkey and the Baboon,” and “Boozoo’s Blue Balls Rap.” These singles were only sold under the counter at record stores with XXX ratings and warnings about radio play. Chavis generally did not perform these versions at his public concerts — unless there was an overwhelming demand. And then there would be screams of delight from dancers when he performed them and sang the raunchy lyrics. Chavis told Peter Watrous of the New York Times, “Sometimes I’m on stage looking at all those people dancing, and I feel sorry for them. I say to myself, ‘After you die, Boozoo, there ain’t gonna be no more like you.’ This is the best they’ve ever heard. I’m a genius, no doubt about it.” Ben Sandmel adds at the end of the chapter on Boozoo in his book Zydeco!,  “If Boozoo Chavis didn’t emanate genuine warmth along with such irascible bluster, he would simply sound arrogant. But Chavis paid his dues, more than most. Before reemerging, he was known only to devotees of obscure records. His debut recordings, which had been reissued on an esoteric blues anthology in 1968, soon went out of print again. As a collector of such albums, I was amazed to learn in 1984 that Boozoo Chavis was still alive, let alone that he had actively resumed performing. His comeback immeasurably enriched zydeco, and opened vast opportunities for ensuing generations.”

Additional Reading Wade Falcon’s Early Cajun Music Blog, Sept. 18, 2017 Offbeat Magazine Obituary, June 1, 2001






Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! Photo by David Simpson






unice, Louisiana is pretty much the center of Cajun culture. Eunice is famous for its Cajun music, and in November 1997 the Cajun Music Hall of Fame and Museum was founded there. The City of Eunice and the National Park Service sponsor “Laissez les bons temps rouler au rendezvous des cajuns,” a live Cajun music show every Saturday night at the Liberty Theatre. Eunice is home to the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center. Eunice is host to one of the largest Courir de Mardi Gras (a traditional rural French Louisiana Mardi Gras observance), as well as the World Championship Crawfish Étouffée Cook-off. Eunice is also the home of Louisiana State University Eunice. David Simpson lived in Eunice nearly 30 years, teaching English at the campus, without being exposed to the Cajun and Creole cultures, or even being infected by their powerful and emotional music. As fate would have it though, he would learn more than he had ever imagined about the local cultures and the music. He took on a volunteer project of posting tourism-related events to LSU’s new website in 1996, and rural Mardi Gras events were among the local offerings. In 1999 Simpson attended a performing arts series at his school which featured the Magnolia Sisters, and he purchased their CD, Prends Courage. He studied the French and English lyrics from the liner notes, and appreciated the stories the songs told. A month later he attended Lafayette’s Festival International and was further impressed by Christine Balfa’s “strong, passionate voice combined with the intense, aching sadness of the twin fiddles” that compelled him to find out what the words meant. “I discovered that Will Balfa’s lyrics were, if anything, even more intense than the music. The singer is determined to find the woman he loves or die in the last drop of his last blood. He discovers her with another man and then proclaims that if he had five days left to live, he would give up three just to spend the last two days with her and then die in her arms.” It was at this event that Simpson began photographing the artists of his

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!


Photo by David Simpson

community, starting with Balfa Toujours and Geno Delafose, and learning more about the rich musical culture that was all around him.


s an extension of his public relations activities at LSU, he began posting pages to the LSU website featuring background information on the musicians of the area. Then newspapers began requesting use of some of his images, and he compiled CDs of his photos for the media. Then in 2008, he uploaded sets of photos to Flickr, which have now grown to 29,000 indexed high resolution images. His images have been used by regional newspapers such as Offbeat, and some artist CD covers including Kevin Naquin’s 2004 release, Never Satisfied (Jamais Satisfait). But Simpson says he is especially proud of having some of his images included in the book One Generation at a Time: Biography of a Cajun and Creole Music Festival by master photographer Philip Gould. Gould also chose a number of Simpson’s photo images for an art museum exhibit at University of Louisiana at Lafayette titled “Visions of Tradition: 40 Years of Festivals Acadians et Creoles.” More than fifteen years behind the lens has left indelible impressions on Simpson by musical artists he has come to appreciate. “Going to photograph Geno Delafose at a

Visit Photos by David Simpson




benefit dance at the Church of the Assumption Parish Hall in Basile is another fond memory. The wooden floor shook and rocked like we were at sea.” Another memory is that of a Creole jam session in Basile at a muffler shop. “Marcel [Fontenot] had his drum set up in one corner, and the musicians used a U-Haul dolly as a mic stand.”


impson got to witness Boozoo Chavis on stage one time. “If anything, he more than lived up to his legendary status. In the sweltering plus-100-degree heat at the 2000 Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Festival in Plaisance, Boozoo not only commanded the stage, he also held an interview session with Herman Fuselier holding nothing back in letting people know how he felt about his music and his life.”

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!



He attends Saturday shows at the Liberty Theater in Eunice, hosted until recent years by Barry Ancelet, “both because the programs feature some great music from a variety of bands, and because of the interaction between the host and the band members. Terry Huval and the Jambalaya Cajun Band, in particular, have put on some outstanding shows.” Simpson says he is heartened by the emergency of young musicians, many of them from families with a rich musical heritage. “With bands and musicians like the Pine Leaf Boys, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, Roddie Romero and the Hub City All Stars, Feufollet, Bonsoir Catin, T-Salé, Kira Viator and Bayou Beat, Forest Huval, Bubba Hebert, Sarah Jayde Williams, the Lafayette Rhythm Devils, Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys, Jamie Bergeron and the Kickin’ Cajuns, Kyle Huval and the Dixie Club Ramblers, Briggs


Visit Photos by David Simpson




Brown and the Bayou Cajuns, plus many more, the music will certainly still be around for a long time if it continues to get the support it deserves…. The next generation of Creole and Zydeco musicians like Keith Frank, Chris Ardoin, Nathan Williams Jr., Jeffery Broussard, Curley Taylor, Wayne Singleton, Terry Domingue, Joe Hall, and, of course, Geno Delafose, to name just a few, are preserving and revitalizing the past or creating their own unique music.”


efore 1999 David Simpson knew little of Cajun and Creole music. Now that music and experiencing the live performances of that music by musicians fully immersed in Cajun and Creole cultures is a cherished part of his life. “I continue to find in the music a heartfelt directness and emotional depth that most pop music lacks. The joy and the sorrow are real. When Creole accordionist Goldman Thibodeaux titled his first

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update!



CD Les Misères dans le Coeur, he was truly singing from the heart, from his own experience, and, in the process, giving thanks for the blessings that life offers along with the pain. Even when they have not lived everything they sing about, the younger musicians are close enough to their roots in their families and in their culture that their voices carry truths that are authentic, not manufactured for a mass audience. There is, of course, other roots music elsewhere that has a comparable power and intensity, but our role in Louisiana should be to enjoy and support our own very rich, amazing cultures that we have inherited and that we need to preserve.” You can view more of David Simpson’s photography of Cajun and Creole artists at indexed at Or find him most any week at Rendezvous des Cajuns show at the Liberty Theatre in Eunice. Thanks, David, for keeping contemporary Louisiana bands in sharp focus.


Festival-O-Rama February 2018 February 9-12, 2018 — Sounds of Mardi Gras 2018 (Fresno, CA) Bands include Tom Rigney & Flambeau, Sister Swing, Brian Casserole, Gator Nation, and various jazz bands.

Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. — Mardi Gras in the Mountains (Red River, NM) An ever increasing number of Cajuns and Creoles have fled the overgrown chaos of other locales in order to come to this quaint community for a much more intimate celebration. But make no mistake: Red River knows how to celebrate Mardi Gras! Nothing is left out. The week is filled with costume balls, bead tossing, singing and dancing, Cajun and Creole gourmet delights, parades, kids costume contest, cajun cook-off, burning of the Loup-garu, crawfish boils, downhill gator race, and more! Contact the Chamber of Commerce for more details: Located in the Conference Center, 101 W. River St, Red River, NM 87558. Telephone: (575) 754-2366. Email: Website:

February 21-25, 2018 — Virginia Key “GrassRoots Live” (Miami) 2018 bands not announced yet. 2017 Bands included Donna The Buffalo, Locos Por Juana, Big Mean Sound Machine, Nativos Jammin Orquestra, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, The Blind Spots, Elastic Bond, Telekinetic Walrus, Nag Champayons, Edan Archer, Krekel and Whoa, French Horn Collective, Juke, Nacho Londoño, School of Rock, Cleaveland Jones. Website:

Photo by David Simpson



Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! Feb. 23 through Mar. 4, 2018 — Festival of the Arts (Boca Raton, FL) Established in 2007, Festival of the Arts BOCA was designed to promote the cultural arts and to enrich the quality of life of the residents of Boca Raton, North Broward and Palm Beach County. Since its inaugural year, the festival hosted Itzhak Perlman, Renee Fleming, Joshua Bell, Lang Lang, and Pat Metheny. The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, West Side Story and Raiders of the Lost Ark have been performed with live orchestra. Artists and speakers this year include T-Bone Burnett and comedian Bill Murray. Website:

February 24-25, 2018 --- Clearwater Sea Blues Festival (Clearwater, FL) Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, ZZ Ward, Ana Popovic, Torozo Cannon and others. Free general admission. Coachman Park in Clearwater. Reserved seating purchase: General information: http://www.

Feb. 24-25, 2018 — Street Painting Festival (Lake Worth, FL) More than 100,000 art lovers attend this annual festival over the weekend. With more than 600 artists on the pavement, music on the main stage, restaurants, shops, festival food court and bistro, you’re sure to get caught up with the excitement. Website:

March 2018 Sat. Mar. 3, 2018 — Suncoast Blues Festival (Sarasota) Bands include James Armstrong, Andrew Jr. Boy Jones, Doug Macleod, Thornetta Davis, Lurrie Bell, Monster Mike Welch-Mike Ledbetter Band. Location: 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL. Info and tickets: 941-758-7585. https://www.

Mar. 9 & 10, 2018 — Bonita Blues Festival (Bonita Springs, FL) Bands include: Noah Wotherspoon Band, Annika Chambers, Christine Kingfish Ingram, Harris Sweetwater Band, Mark Telesca Band. Venue is Riverside Park on Old US 41 in Bonita Springs, FL. Website:




Gumbo Boogie Band Sat. Dec. 30, 2017 — Gumbo Boogie (Treasure Island) 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at Captain Bill’s Beach Kitchen, 145 107th Ave, Treasure Island, FL 33706. Website:

Sat. Jan. 13, 2018 — Gumbo Boogie (Treasure Island) 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at Captain Bill’s Beach Kitchen, 145 107th Ave, Treasure Island, FL 33706. Website:

Sun. Jan. 21, 2018 — Gumbo Boogie (Bradenton) 5:00 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ace’s Live Music, 4343 Palma Sola Blvd., Bradenton. Website:

Sat. Jan. 27, 2018 — Gumbo Boogie (Bradenton) 6:00 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Clancy’s Irish Sports Pub, 6218 Cortez Rd. West, Bradenton, FL 34210.

Outside Florida Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association Dance Sat., Jan. 6, 2018 — Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble Dorothy Benson Center, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30328. Phone: 404-613-4900. Check website for dance events in Atlanta area at

Houston Cajun Zydeco Events

Southern California Events

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! No. 60  

Premier "Tabloid Edition" features stories on Boozoo Chavis and photographer David Simpson of Lafayette, Louisiana. What's Happening include...

Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! No. 60  

Premier "Tabloid Edition" features stories on Boozoo Chavis and photographer David Simpson of Lafayette, Louisiana. What's Happening include...