by Bruce DuBois
The Worldwide Congress of Acadians, le Congrès Mondial Acadien 2019, will open in a few weeks in Canada. For two weeks, from August 10 – 24, Acadians and Cajuns will celebrate their history and heritage with festivities in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Every five years since 1994, le Congrès Mondial Acadien, CMA for short, organizes a host of concerts, family reunions, educational forums, business expos and many other local activities. The goal is for all Acadians and their descendants to come together as a family, to know one another. This is its 25th anniversary, and the CMA 2019 is calling all Cajuns. Ray and Brenda Trahan, who both grew up in Indian Bayou, have long been helping the Louisiana Office of Tourism to organize Cajun musicians, chefs, and other ambassadors to represent Louisiana during the CMA 2019. “On August 16 there will be the grand opening of the Louisiana Pavilion in downtown Moncton, New Brunswick. For a whole week, there will be Cajun music and food for happy hour, de 5:00 à 7:00,” says Ray. “Louisiana will showcase its awesome musicians and black pot chefs. We have the best food!” Trahan knows what he’s talking about. He is also the president of La Confrèrie d’Abbéville, known as the Giant Omelette Celebration, one of Abbeville’s food and heritage festivals. “There are more people from Acadiana than ever before who will travel to Acadie to participate in this huge event. There are at least six tour buses that I know of heading up there,” says Ray. “Of course, there are plenty of people who will travel on their own. Canada is only a few hours away by plane and thirty hours by car.” Ali Miller, director of the Vermilion Parish Tourist Commission and Abbeville Cultural Center, will be working at the Louisiana Pavilion to promote Vermilion Parish as a premier tourism destination for Acadians. “Promoting Vermilion Parish is serious business for me. I’m proud to be from the most Cajun place on Earth,” says Ali. “We need to keep our unique culture and language alive here because that’s what tourists are looking for, a real Cajun experience. Vermilion Parish offers that. We have promotional materials in English and French. We will do all we can to show Acadians that they will find their family here.” Bryan and Meg Hebert will be traveling with Awesome Adventures with Sandy Sagrera. They will fly to Portland, Maine, to catch Sandy’s tour bus that is leaving Abbeville on August 9. “We are so looking forward to the Hebert family reunion on August 14. We were at the CMA 2014 Hebert reunion five years ago, so we don’t want to miss it,” says Meg. “It’s not too late to get on the bus. I think there’s a few spots on our bus.” Tours provide a variety of options for Cajuns wishing to be a part of the sixth CMA. Time for booking with organized tours is now very limited, but you can check out available options with the following groups. Awesome Adventures with Sandy Sagrera, (337) 303-2209; Broussard Chamber of Commerce, contact Jeremy Hidalgo, (337) 780-1915; Journeys with Ginger, (337) 962-5709. Bon voyage et bon Congrès!