Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Tree is in the Leaves

One of the things that happened when I was in Louisiana, was that I took a "Cajun" French immersion class. I had a wonderful time learning forestry, crawfishing, cooking couche-couche and making bousillage--a hybrid mud mixture of mud, clay and Spanish moss used as a plaster to fill the spaces between structural framing. Seen in French architecture of Louisiana of the early 1700s. Wood bars (barreaux), set between the posts, helps to hold the mud mixture in place. The bousillage wall when dry was plastered and then painted. The bousillage also formed a very effective insulation especially against the heat.

The class ended up doing some original skits based on the adventures of Boudreaux and Thibodeaux--a classic Cajun duo akin to Laurel and Hardy. We also performed some traditional songs including "L'arbre est dans ses feuilles." I ended up sketching it for translation assistance. It is a list song, with lines like, "on the branch there is hole, nest in the hole, egg in the nest, bird in the egg, heart in the bird and so on ending with love. I loved drawing the birds I saw out on the swamps. C'est un bon souvenir, hein?

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