A community comes together to create a cultural venue that will last for generations to come
[caption id="attachment_932" align="alignnone" width="640"] Photo by Lizette Gauthier.[/caption]
In a tight-knit community like Breaux Bridge, you don’t achieve anything alone; you do it with lots of help, whether you want it or not. There’s a collective participation as the bayou town comes together to bring a goal to fruition, exemplified by the Teche Center for the Arts, Breaux Bridge’s first community cultural center.
Established in 2014, Teche Center for the Arts is the primary hub for the visual and performing arts in Breaux Bridge, offering programming in music, painting, creative writing, cuisine, dance, theatre, and more. The center is the result of years of fundraising and a community-wide effort to preserve the region’s rich Cajun and Creole culture for generations to come.
The Teche Center celebrates Acadiana’s diverse heritage and provides enriching opportunities for residents to pursue, or further develop, artistic disciplines through a series of local partnerships. The organization is run by a board of dedicated community leaders, and operates out of the 1940s-era Murphy Theater on East Bridge Street. Thanks to the generosity of volunteers who have donated their services in carpentry and construction, the new campus will be unveiled in late February after a six-month renovation process.
“There are so many people giving their time, talent, and treasure to TCA,” says Clare Martin, who serves on the center’s executive staff. “It really brings the community together.”
A plethora of workshops and lessons can be found at TCA throughout the month. Martin, an accomplished poet, hosts a monthly writers’ workshop for all skill levels to hone their literary prowess. You’ll find children learning how to play Cajun and Zydeco music with traditional instruments such as the accordion or the fiddle from renowned local musicians, like Brazos Huval of the eponymous music school. The organization has partnered with Tante Marie’s to revive the Table Francais, a weekly roundtable for conversationalists to practice their French language skills, open to all ages and all levels, in an effort to preserve the area’s French culture.
Later this month, children costumed in colorful, homemade garb consisting of bright fringed fabric, complete with a capuchon (a cone-shaped hat, for those of you not from these parts). families will gather to celebrate the Courir des Enfants – the Cajun Mardi Gras celebration in miniature. The children’s chicken run is for the little ones who aren’t quite old enough yet to mount a steed and participate in the merry melee that accompanies the traditional Courir.
The Teche Center also hosts art exhibitions, classes, and concerts, along with an immersive summer camp, offering fun and educational interactive activities such as robotics, Cajun and Creole cooking, and French language lessons. The annual Treble on the Teche, a weeklong arts, music, and culture camp for children ages seven to thirteen, occurs each fall and culminates in a fun fais do-do performance.
While much of the programming is geared toward adolescents and children, there are opportunities for people of all ages to get involved with TCA. You can support the center by becoming a TCA member, attending public events, and volunteering your time or talent.
You can find all of TCA’s upcoming events at the St. Martin Parish event calendar here. For more information on all of the Teche Center’s programming, or to find out more about how you can get involved, visit artsatteche.com.