Enola Matthews is a Creole of color now living in Jennings who draws upon two storytelling traditions: Irish and Creole. She was born and raised near Durald. Her grandfather came to New Orleans from Ireland at the age of five, and he and his family brought with them wonderful magic tales with which he would eventually regale his grandchildren. Enola also tells Bouki and Lapin animal tales and Jean Sot numbskull tales reflecting the blending of African and French traditions. Bouki and Lapin became Americanized as Brer Rabbit tales. Enola continues other aspects of a traditional lifestyle including quilting and making lye soap.
The owner/operator of Leger's Barber Shop in Eunice, Harry Lee Leger is known for entertaining clients and friends with his jokes while cutting hair. Other tellers drop by to swap stories with this captive audience.
A. J. Smith derives his Cajun humor directly from southwest Louisiana where he and his family have lived for many generations. A. J. sees humor in everyday life as well as his friends' ventures into mainstream America. The influence of Catholicism in Cajun culture is evident by his stories about priests, nuns, and parishioners. He often draws upon what happens when traditional Cajun culture meets modern American life. When he's not telling funny stories he's a pipe draftsman and designer, husband and father. A. J. has a history of entertaining audiences at supper clubs, conventions, and business banquets across the country and on cruise ships.
Dave Petitjean's gift is tickling your funny bone with warm, fresh, honest-to-Goodness Cajun humor. He has a most refreshing approach to storytelling about his Cajun friends and their antics, but does not ridicule his culture and respects the cultural boundaries and rules regarding humor.
Dave has recorded four videos and eight humor tapes. Dave can read Cajun, write Cajun, and talk Cajun. Dave says if you love life, life will love you back. He has delivered his humor Cajun-style to thousands from Maine to California to Florida and has appeared in 15 movies.
Well-known for her southern cooking at Sarah's Kitchen in Ruston, Sarah Albritton is also a fine storyteller. Sarah has both told stories and demonstrated traditional cooking at the Louisiana Folklife Festival for many years. Personal narratives are especially important to Sarah in that she is now painting some of her of memories that she frequently tells as narratives. "Memory and Vision: The Arts of Sarah Albritton," an exhibition of her memory and visionary paintings which present an African American view of growing up in rural north Louisiana and her religious and philosophical perspectives will tour Louisiana in Fall 1998 and Spring 1999. Of particular note is the inclusion of Sarah's narratives about each painting. The companion catalog features the paintings with their narratives, Albritton's Christmas yard art, and interpretive essays by Susan Roach and Peter Jones. She is also a lay preacher and often uses storytelling in her church presentations -- both Biblical stories and personal narratives.
Robert Albritton works at Sarah's Kitchen in Ruston where many patrons come to talk as well as eat. Robert has appeared many times at the Louisiana Folklife Festival in Monroe as a barbecue and fish fry cook and storyteller. Both of these traditional events are typical family occasions for storytelling. He maintains African-American storytelling traditions, including the Master and Old John stories in which John tries to outwit the Master. Both of Robert's stories, "You think I'm Working, But I Ain't" and "Leaving Mississippi" reflect African Americans' struggle.
Pierre Daigle's love of reading and his combined experiences as a teacher, writers, and composer give him an organized, detailed, thoughtful style of oral composition. a lifetime resident of Church Point, Pierre's knowledge of the area's folklore is impressive. He tells stories about buried money (the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes of yesteryear, he says). Jayhawkers, rumors of supernatural creatures like the loup garou and feu follet, and stories he heard as a child -- such as the instructive "Minette et ses Roulettes" or tall hunting tales told to him by his grandfather.
One of seven children in an oystering family, Loulan Pitre was a shrimper for the first half of his life and then ran oil field work boats. He currently lives one hundred feet from the house he was born in and is an avid gardener and hunter. Loulan shines in his telling of local and family legends from Bayou Lafourche. Many are belief legends concerning stories of the supernatural such as the loup garou (or werewolf) of south Louisiana. Others concern historical events that have become legendary such as the hurricane of 1893 which killed at least 1500 people.
Loulan Pitre's son, Glen is also a talented storyteller. Glen has taken his father's and uncle's local legends and tells them as his own. He is also a filmmaker and author, having produced several documentary films and the feature film, Belizaire the Cajun, in addition to writing several books.
The Garrison Keilor of Hargrove Settlement, Harry T. Methvin present a humorous portrait of life in this tine Calcasieu Parish community which lies just north of DeQuincy. Harry's anecdotes reveal some of the community's more memorable residents and incidents which range from unexpected events in church to ornery mules. He also shares tall tales one is expected to believe.
Bel Abbey was a Koasati Native American storyteller from Elton, Louisiana whose repertoire of stories reflected his Koasati background. Many of his best were animal tales, both fictional and personal. His folktales included such characters as the rabbit, the turtle, and the bear. He also told of his own encounters with animals who outwitted him while hunting. Before he passed away in 1992, Bel had passed on many of his stories to his nephew, Bertney Langley.
Bertney Langley is a Koasati Native American storyteller from Elton, Louisiana who learned traditional tales from his uncles. Bertney Langley, a talented storyteller came to the attention of Louisiana folklorists and event planners following the death of his uncle Bel Abbey. Until that time, he did not want to take any of the spotlight from his noted uncle. Being not only a very skilled storyteller, but administrator and tribal spokesman, he soon was asked to speak in a wide variety of venues from festivals to schools. Equally comfortable in Koasati or English, he prefers to tell his tales to family members since he can tell the story in the traditional way and not have to explain the culture.