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How one bar in Acadiana is keeping Cajun French music, language and culture alive

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Annona Balfa
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Fred's Lounge, Mamou, Louisiana

On Louisiana Considered, we take a trip to Fred’s Lounge, a world-famous bar that offers visitors music, dancing and a Cajun French radio broadcast. We also learn why many doctors in states with new abortion restrictions are worried about their own careers, and hear updates on public education alternatives in Louisiana. This segment of Louisiana Considered aired on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. To listen to the full episode, click the play button above.

Back in April, Louisiana Considered managing producer Alana Schreiber spoke with Mark Layne, general manager at KVPI Radio Station in Ville Platte, about the station’s long history of promoting Cajun French language and culture on the airwaves. And one of their most popular programs is a weekly live broadcast from the world-famous bar Fred’s Lounge.

NPR’s John Burnett paid a visit to Fred’s Lounge to learn why everyone, from loyal locals to French tourists, make the trip to dance, drink and celebrate Cajun French culture.

But first, we discuss the fear and confusion inside some hospitals as doctors try to give the best medical care while staying within the bounds of new abortion restrictions. That is especially true right here in Louisiana. As our reproductive health care reporter Rosemary Westwood reports, doctors say the new abortion ban could put their patients and themselves at risk.

Also on Louisiana Considered, we hear about a growing number of states that are setting up state-funded Education Savings Accounts to give more students education opportunities outside of public schools. This year, Louisiana would have joined them if not for a pair of vetoes by Gov. John Bel Edwards. Capitol Access reporter Paul Braun and our former education reporter Aubri Juhasz discuss the significance – and possible future – of this debate in Louisiana.

Today’s episode of Louisiana Considered was hosted by Karl Lengel. Our managing producer is Alana Schreiber and our digital editor is Katelyn Umholtz. Our engineers are Garrett Pittman, Aubry Procell, and Thomas Walsh. 

You can listen to Louisiana Considered Monday through Friday at 12:00 and 7:30 pm. It’s available on Spotify, Google Play, and wherever you get your podcasts. 

Louisiana Considered wants to hear from you! Please fill out our pitch line to let us know what kinds of story ideas you have for our show. And while you’re at it, fill out our listener survey! We want to keep bringing you the kinds of conversations you’d like to listen to.

Louisiana Considered is made possible with support from our listeners. Thank you!

Patrick Madden joined WWNO in 2019 as its first-ever Regional News Director, overseeing news reporting at WWNO, as well as our partner station WRKF Baton Rouge. Madden also serves as one of the hosts of Louisiana Considered, and co-hosts Friday's Politics Roundtable on Louisiana Considered with Stephanie Grace, columnist for The Times-Picayune | The Advocate.
Alana Schreiber is the managing producer for the live daily news program, Louisiana Considered. She comes to WWNO from KUNC in Northern Colorado, where she worked as a radio producer for the daily news magazine, Colorado Edition. She has previously interned for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul and The Documentary Group in New York City.