Growing up, Karen LeBlanc Pourbabaee’s father, Rene LeBlanc, always told her stories of his early days at T’Bois, crossing the bayou by boat to get to school, and being punished for speaking French at school.
He raised his Larose family in the Cajun tradition … family togetherness, crawfishing in Lockport, crabbing at the camp in Grand Isle, “making the veille” in the evenings with family and friends, family trips to the city, gumbos at the family table, and going to mass on Sunday mornings.
When Karen won a Xulon Press publishing package in 2014, it didn’t take long to decide what her book would be about.
“A simple prayer brought all the memories back, and the writing of Acadian Melody began,” Karen said.
Hot off the press, Acadian Melody takes readers on a multitude of adventures, from the Acadian homeland in Nova Scotia to the bayous of Louisiana, with a few side excursions to France. Within its pages is a jambalaya of Cajun stories, complete with drama, humor, romance, history and faith. For history buffs, there is Acadian history as well as a historical-cultural sketch of each of the community settings.
A good portion of the book is set in Lafourche Parish, from Thibodaux to Grand Isle. Readers will meet Clotilde Boudreaux of Larose, queen of many things along the bayou. The story-jamabalaya mix also includes plantation stories set at Rienzi Plantation in Thibodaux and Bouverans Plantation in Lockport.
Readers will also discover tales of the rolling stores, an old duck carver in Galliano, a Cheniere-Golden Meadow mystery, and a pirate story set in Grand Isle.
Cajun music and dance is showcased in “Sugarcane Boogie” and “Humming at the Fais Do Do”.
As the holiday season approaches, readers can savor “The Christmas Eve Ride”, an autobiographical story of the author and her father, and a magical Christmas Eve in Thibodaux, “Pere Noel’s Perturbing Plight”.
Karen considers her book project a celebration of Cajun culture and heritage, as well as a love story between a Cajun girl and her bayou homeland. She chose a local artist (and cousin), Cathy Robichaux Smith, to create the front and back cover art for her book, helping to bring Acadian Melody to life.
She also enlisted the aid of several bayou residents who contributed photos they captured along the bayou and at Grand Isle. The collaborative effort was enhanced by the friendliness of those Cajuns who worked with the author in creating colorful images for her book, from a front yard Marian grotto to images of cathedrals, Cajun cottages and carved French ducks.
But one very special person, Mr. Francis Foret, long-time Larose resident and family friend, spent a whole afternoon with the author in March of this year, allowing her to photograph him as he joyfully played his fiddle and accordion on front porches, swings, and on the bayouside. Several of these photos appear in Acadian Melody as a lasting memory of the warmth and joy of this wonderful Cajun man.
Karen currently lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with husband Dr. Hassan Pourbabaee, and enjoys having her daughter Leila’s family nearby. She is a graduate of South Lafourche High School and ULL, and subsequently enjoyed a lengthy nursing career.
Recent years have brought a renewed interest in her love for creative writing. Karen has been published in several multi-author books and is a regular contributor of devotionals at Faithwriters.com and iDisciple.
Acadian Melody is available locally at Frank’s Supermarket in Larose and Golden Meadow, the Cajun Pecan House in Cut Off, Creations by Connie in Lockport and Ship-n-Geaux in Thibodaux. It can also be ordered online through Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites.
Posted on Tue, November 22, 2016
by The Lafourche Gazette