Louisiana Blues is an expansively rich documentary of a diaspora culture seen through the eyes and lenses of French filmmakers Jean-Pierre Bruneau and José Reynès. In 1992, the prolific filmmakers visited and interviewed many topflight Cajun and Creole musicians such as Bruce Daigrepont, D.L. Ménard, Lynn August, Michael Doucet, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, Wayne Toups, Zydeco Joe, John Delafose and Beau Jocque as well as Creole fiddler Canray Fontenot.
A real sense of Cajun-Creole life is captured, not only in the nightly dancehall celebrations but also with home visits where musicians joyfully jam together, thereby emphasizing that music was always informally home-based before professionally stepping into public arenas. While plenty of attention is given to the more well known names, numerous scenes focus on the lesser known like the elderly Romero Brothers playing accordion and t-fer, a metal worker constructing a rubboard, and a costumed, inebriated reveler about to fall off of his horse while warbling the “Mardi Gras” song.
Interviews are conducted with Dr. Barry Ancelet, linguistic authority Richard Guidry, musicians Michael Doucet and Bobby Michot. Ancelet explains the effects of Americanization and how Texas was influential with its country and western swing music. Later, Ancelet discusses how the birth of rock ‘n’ roll added a newfound vitality to the music, causing new songs to be written and older ones to be re-adapted into new incarnations. Guidry notes that when the Cajuns first arrived in Southwest Louisiana, they entered the “Creole nation,” an interesting concept considering the subtle connotations of the word Creole. Michot sagely discusses how Cajun and zydeco music was once referred to as only “French music” until outside music journalists and record companies felt compelled to label everything. An incredible body of work, Louisiana Blues is a “must see” for all disciples of Louisiana French music and dance.