Life on the Bayou Heritage Fair at The Pitot House
For five hours on Saturday, Sept. 14, children put aside their smartphones and video games to experience in real time what life might have been like before the advent of modern technology.
“Life on the Bayou” Heritage Fair assembled a multicultural mix of artisans, craftsmen and entertainers to recreate customs and practices of settlers living along Bayou St. John at the time of the Pitot family, 1810-1819.
The third annual cultural event, conceived by committee chair Mary Ann Barkerding, brought together a melange of dancers attired in period costumes demonstrating social dancing from the Regency/Federal era, intermingling with Shanty Krewe sailors, and Djembe drummers who shared the heritage of Congo Square’s African and Caribbean-influenced rhythms. “Mama” Jamilah Peters Muhammad led dance circles combining the Louisiane Vintage Dancers from Baton Rouge, sea sailors and soldiers from Plauche’s Battle of New Orleans Battalion.
Heritage Fair’s cultural diversity reflected New Orleans’ history as a melting pot in a port city. When Bakerding saw all the dancers in Mama’s drum circle, her eyes welled up with tears. “That is what New Orleans is all about,” she exclaimed.
Shanty Krewe singer Keith Fawcett remarked: “If ever you cease to have a Heritage Fair, it would leave a hole in a lot of people’s hearts...It is a gem in size and complexity with the diversity of artisans, craftsmen, demonstrators that brings profound joy.”
Photos courtesy of Twirl Photography