Swamps and the French language put up barriers to globalization in Acadiana for generations. At least that’s the conventional narrative. Even within our own community, we often underestimate just how wide the cultural landscape is in South Louisiana and has always been.
Barriers persist. But there are lots of creative, thoughtful people chiseling away at them and mining for a common heritage.
Cristina Martinez is in the business of expanding those horizons. She’s been an event planner in Lafayette for six years, managing projects big and small for Party Central and has hosted the Latin Music Festival herself. She’s also a media personality, moonlighting as the host of After Party with Cristina Martinez, a Facebook Live show about sex, sexuality and sexual health.
During the pandemic, Cristina stepped up as a daily reporter for El Sabor/Telemundo, translating press conferences and Covid information for Acadiana’s rapidly growing Hispanic community. Cristina was born in Puerto Rico and has lived in Lafayette since 2008.
What does it mean to be from somewhere anyway? Home is an idea Olivia Perillo has explored in documentaries and photography. Since childhood, she’s been enamored of the connection between Acadiana’s swamps and the deserts of West Texas, where she spent time on trips to visit her mother’s family.
Olivia and her creative partner have produced two documentaries over the last couple of years. Migration, which profiled women leaving their birthplaces in search of new homes. And Intention which profiled the diversity of Louisiana cultural traditions among women.
Olivia’s work on Intention was funded by a Create Louisiana grant, and her films have been screened internationally. She also works as an archivist for artist Lynda Frese and a photographer for Country Roads magazine.
Out to Lunch Acadiana is recorded live over lunch at Tula Tacos and Amigos in downtown Lafayette. Photos by Astor Morgan. Elsewhere on this website you can find hours and hours of conversation about Acadiana’s culture and its relation to our community and economy. Here’s an episode about film and zydeco.