After an abrupt departure from the Peter Anderson Festival in Ocean Springs, I knew the place to go where everyone is happy to see you; a Cajun festival. Getting on the road early gave me the opportunity to get on down the bayou before the festival started. This would be a pop-up event for the flag, so I limited my expectations to be accepted into the festival on short notice. Either way, I'd be seeing my dear friends Michael Williams and Elizabeth Cotter of the 12th Street Bakery, meeting some new friendly folks, and getting down to some real Cajun music!
This year's Swamp Stomp was in Raceland, Louisiana south of New Orleans. I joined the line of cars entering the event and when it was my turn to speak to the parking officer I said, "Hey! I'm pulling this giant flag around American! Can I be part of the event? " She replied, "Fine with me, but you have to ask Mr.Fontenot." I said, "Mr. Quenton Fontenot? He's a friend of mine!" I parked the rig and walked into the pavilion among all the bustling excitement of the forthcoming Swamp Stomp. Upon finding Quenton, we exchanged a quick surprised greeting and he said, "Park anywhere you want! We're happy to have you!" Gotta love that 'down the bayou' hospitality; so happy you're here! Sure enough I got a prime spot on the entrance way to the pavilion, right next to the 12th Street Bakery folks. What a wonderful homecoming, unexpectedly seeing great friends to start the day.
The crowd was eclectic and a little unprepared to see a giant flag with writing all over it. As folks rolled in with lawn chairs and dancing shoes, many stopped to read and see what the project was all about. Several patrons said "I'll have to think about this," which normally means they're not interested, but I saw almost everyone return to add their thoughts to the flag. God, Love, and Respect were the nature of many of the expressions. I spoke with a young lady who said the election didn't matter down the bayou because nobody cares about the bayou except the folks who live there. "We've been doing our own thing for so long, it doesn't matter what happens. We're still poor, we're still happy, we still having a good time, we all gonna be just fine."
I'd like to conclude this post with the words of mon cher ami, Quenton Fontenot:
Hey man - I've been following your flag on FB for a while and have always thought it was really cool - and relevant. When you showed up Saturday I thought wow, the flag is here and then went on to conducting the festival business. Through the day I watched people write on the flag and I am guessing many of them weren't quite sure what it was. When Lost Bayou got up there at the end of the festival and were playing, it hit me how big of a deal everything from that day was -the music, the food, the art, and the culture - and the good-feelings began to overflow from within. I'm not one to believe in divine intervention, but if I did, I would believe it had a direct influence on you showing up Saturday! The art that you provided for our festival reaffirmed my belief that the world is better with art than without it. Thank you for doing what you do. It really really does matter. Thanks!
So nice to be welcomed and have support for my art from such beautiful people!