Erath museum honors “Living Legends”
On April 11, 2009, the Acadian Museum will honor Larry Miller by inducting him into the “Order of Living Legends.” On July 7, 1936, Miller was born in western Acadia Parish near Iota. Except for the Miller name, he is “nearly 100% French,” having almost all Acadian ancestors. Miller grew up speaking Cajun French and was forced to learn English in school.
All of his family enjoyed and played Cajun music. His father, Abraham Miller, played the accordion for house dances. Initially, Miller played the triangle and “spoons” in family jam sessions. At age 42 he learned how to play and make accordions. He has made accordions for 28 years producing a total of 1100 accordions. Through an apprenticeship of 240 hours, Miller taught 9 people how to make accordions, including his grandson Jay Miller who has carried on the well-established family tradition.
Miller was one of the 26 founders of the Cajun French Music Association and served as National President for three terms. During the past 31 years, he has dedicated his life to the preservation of Cajun culture by establishing the CFMA National Board structure and constitution, developing the “Le Cajun” music awards program, establishing the Iota Mardi Gras Folk Life Festival, establishing the official Louisiana Cajun Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Eunice, writing a book (and CD) “You Can Play Cajun Accordion” and establishing the French Gospel Choir of St. Joseph’s Church in Iota.
For 13 years, Miller managed a traditional Cajun band called “Moulin Rouge.” Miller has traveled to numerous festivals across the country, (four in France and four in Canada) to play Cajun music, show his four types of hand-made instruments, teach dancing and give Cajun culture presentations. He has also presented at least 200 school programs on music, culture and traditional Cajun Mardi Gras traditions.
Miller’s wife Jackie is a well-known traditional Mardi Gras costume maker who has assisted him in most of his accomplishments. The Millers have 6 children and 12 grandchildren, several of whom play Cajun music and speak French.
The “Living Legends” series, free and open to the public, honors individuals who have helped shape and define the Cajun culture. The program is hosted by the Acadian Museum of Erath (acadianmuseum.com), a nonprofit organization, and is held at the Museum Café located next door to the Acadian Museum, 102 East Edwards, Erath, LA. Corporate sponsors for the program are the law firm of Perrin, Landry, deLaunay, Dartez & Ouellet and Envirochem of Erath. There will be a Cajun music jam session from 2 PM till 6 PM. For more information, you may call 937-0012 or www.acadianmuseum.com, which has a complete list of all prior inductees