Acadian Museum of Erath to honor Former Governor Edwin Edwards along with Pvt. Vice and 1st Lt. Dronet

Acadian Museum of Erath and Vermilion Parish Celebrate

Louisiana's 200th Anniversary of Statehood and 200 years of Acadian culture:

--Government - Governor Edwin W. Edwards: celebrating an Acadian Governor

--Military - Pvt. Farrell Vice and 1st Lt. Brandon Dronet: celebrating Acadian Valor

--Heritage - celebrating 200 years of Louisiana’s musical legacy

As part of the upcoming celebration of Louisiana’s 200th anniversary of statehood in 2012, a Vermilion Parish event will be held in Erath, Louisiana, highlighting its unique Acadian heritage, an important component of Louisiana’s history. Celebrations are scheduled throughout the state this year, and Vermilion Parish will host a multi-faceted program to reflect upon its contributions to the state. The event will focus on three main areas: government, its military contributions, and its heritage.

Andy Perrin, Event Coordinator for the Acadian Museum, announced that on August 4, 2012, beginning at 5:30 p.m., the Acadian Museum, 203 S. Broadway, Erath, LA, as part of this celebration, will unveil marble busts of two Erath servicemen killed while serving their country. This event is free and opened to the public. At 6:30 p.m., at the Erath Community Center, the Acadian Museum will honor former Gov. Edwin Edwards by inducting him into the Order of Living Legends. The “Living Legends” series honors individuals who have helped shape and define the Cajun culture and is conducted by the Acadian Museum of Erath (acadianmuseum.com), a nonprofit organization.

Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. event are $30 and may be purchased at Perrin, Landry, deLaunay, Dartez & Ouellet, 251 La Rue France, Lafayette, LA, and at the Acadian Museum of Erath, 203 South Broadway, Erath, LA. For more information, contact Event Chairman Robert Vincent at 337-224-8952, Vice Chairman Robert Cox at (337) 706-4407, rnc@cms.brcoxmail.com, Assistant Jean Frigault at 337-262-5810, frigaultjr@yahoo.com; Ticket Chairman Elwood Leblanc, 333-658-3078; John LeBlanc at 337-981-3289, Kermit Bouillion at 337-277-0342, kjb7651@cox.net; Tommy Vincent 337-288-2388, tv@infeaux.com; or Warren Perrin, perrin@plddo.com.

GOVERNMENT

Edwin Washington Edwards was born August 7, 1927, near Marksville in Avoyelles Parish. He served as Governor of Louisiana for four terms (1972–1980, 1984–1988 and 1992–1996), twice as many as any other Louisiana chief executive. Edwards was also Louisiana's first Roman Catholic governor in the 20th century.

The young Edwards had originally planned on a career as a preacher. He served in the U.S. Navy Air Corps near the end of World War II. After his return from the military, he graduated at the age of 21 from Louisiana State University Law Center and began practicing law in Crowley in 1949 after his sister Audrey, who resided there, told him there were few French-speaking attorneys in the southwestern Louisiana community. Edwards' career was thus launched by his being articulate in both English and Cajun French.

In 1954, Edwards entered politics through his election to the Crowley City Council where he served until his election to the Louisiana State Senate in 1964; in that race he defeated 20-year incumbent Bill Cleveland in a major political upset. After serving in the state senate as a floor leader for Governor John McKeithen, Edwards was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served from 1965 to 1972.

Edwards was one of the few Southern congressmen to support the extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In the election of 1971–1972, Edwards won the state governorship after finishing first in a field of seventeen candidates in the Democratic primary. His greatest support came from southern Louisiana, particularly among its large numbers of Cajun, Creole, and African-American voters. This victory showed that south Louisiana was eclipsing the north in both population and future political domination of the state.

Both in his liberal political rhetoric and in his flamboyant public persona, Edwards cast himself as a Louisiana populist. One of his first acts was to call for a constitutional convention to overhaul Louisiana's bulky charter. For the first time, Louisiana operated with a "cabinet style" executive department in lieu of the hundreds of boards and commissions that had existed for decades, each being its own fiefdom.

During his terms in office, Edwards developed a reputation for being one of the most colorful politicians in the history of a state known for its unorthodox political figures. Charismatic, well-dressed, and quick with clever one-liners and retorts, Edwards maintained wide popularity.

On February 19, 2012, Edwards served as the King of the Spanish Town Mardi Gras parade in Baton Rouge.

MILITARY

Since 2003, Chris Landry has helped dedicate over 200 statues of men and women who sacrificed their life for our country. According to Landry, “It was my intention to honor our fallen heroes from south Louisiana.” The first statue unveiled on August 4 will be of Pvt. Farrell Vice, a native of Henry, Louisiana, who was killed in battle on May 24, 1969, in Vietnam. In recognition of his valor in combat, he was awarded the Silver Star. This is the first statue completed from the Vietnam War. The second statue will honor 1st LT. Brandon Dronet who was killed in a helicopter crash on February 17, 2006, in northern Africa while training pilots for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

HERITAGE

The musical entertainment will be provided by Natial d’Augereau of the performance troupe Renaissance Cadien, and Helen Boudreaux who will perform and demonstrate through song and dance 200 years of Louisiana’s unparalleled musical heritage, a rich music tradition based upon the unique combination of Acadian, Spanish, French, German, African-American/Créole, and Native-American cultures.

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Corporate sponsors for the program include The History Channel; Tabasco; Acadian Ambulance; Erath 4th of July Association; Perrin, Landry, deLaunay, Dartez & Ouellet, Attorneys of Lafayette; Envirochem of Erath; Andrepont Printing of Opelousas; MWL Architects, Lafayette; Weldon and Fran Granger, Houston; Quality Companies, LLC; Andrew Perrin of Perrin Architecture of Lafayette; Lee Mallet and Dr. Bud Bono; Jason Zito; S. P. LaRussa; Buddy Leach; Boudreaux Family; Patrick Morrow; Jones, Swanson, Huddell & Garrison, New Orleans. Additional sponsorships are still available for the event. Varying levels of sponsorship and donations of refreshments and food services are also sought. All proceeds raised will benefit the Acadian Museum and its scholarship program for Vermilion students participating in French language programs.

Acadia Parish Today

Crowley Post-Signal
P.O. Box 1589, Crowley, LA 70527
Phone: 337-783-3450
Fax: 337-788-0949

Rayne-Acadian Tribune
P.O. Box 260, Rayne, LA 70578
Phone: 337-334-3186
Fax: 337-334-8474

Church Point News
315 N. Main St., Church Point, LA 70525
Phone: 337-684-5711
Fax: 337-684-5793

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