Bye Mon Cher
I’ve witnessed Cajun culture and traditions in my family slowly fade away from generation to generation. When I was younger, I used to tiptoe into my grandparents’ kitchen and my granny would sneak me an extra cookie with my sippy cup of “coffee-milk” – a special concoction of a lot of milk, a little coffee and a mound of sugar.
In the kitchen I would hear the adults talking over their regular coffee. Their conversations were a special concoction too, a rich mix of English, Cajun French and laughter. The conversation would seamlessly go from English to Cajun French and then back to English, and a distilling and fluidity was happening. With every sprinkling of English, the continuity of Cajun French was being lost, diluted, and dissolved.
The presence of the Cajun culture in my own life now feels processed, just like sugarcane is processed from a living plant, to raw brown sugar, to white sugar. It is almost unrecognizable from where it started. Only a handful of words and phrases are still present in my daily life.
“Bye, mon cher” means “bye, my dear”. Cher is a Cajun term of endearment and one of the few words that I do not need a dictionary for. It so perfectly captures the feeling attached to someone, something, or a moment that is so sweet and endearing. This piece honors my late grandfather, my Papa, Lastie Broussard.
And Goodbye to all of the Cajun traditions that also left with you.
Bye, mon cher.
Amelia Broussard was born and raised in South Louisiana, and in 2010 she moved from Lafayette to New Orleans to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Loyola University. After grAmelia Broussard was born and raised in South Louisiana, and in 2010 she moved from Lafayette to New Orleans to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Loyola University. After graduation, she was hired as an assistant to several New Orleans-based artists. In her own practice, Amelia works mostly in collage and mixed media and believes in finding magic in the mundane. She has exhibited regularly for the past 8 years in galleries and spaces throughout New Orleans. Amelia has been a collective member of Antenna Gallery since 2015 where she is currently serving as Director of Artist Initiatives and Exhibitions. In addition to her involvement with Antenna, Amelia has taught high school Art and Design classes in the New Orleans charter school system, where she discovered her passion for nurturing and empowering young artists. In 2019, Amelia co-founded Sketch Basin, and serves as the Associate Director. She is devoted to the organization’s mission of providing access to art education for their talented students.