Creole Heritage Celebration set for Sept. 27-28

The Creole Heritage Center at Northwestern State University will host the 21st annual Creole Heritage Celebration Sept. 27-28, an event that will include the Legacy Fun Run/Walk, panel discussions, exhibits, vendors, a tribute to Clementine Hunter, a zydeco dance and reception and other features. This year’s theme is “Let Your Legacy Live On.”

This year’s special guest will be TV and film actor Robert Ri’chard. Ri’chard was born in Los Angeles in 1983 and is of Louisiana Creole descent. He has been acting since he was 13. His breakout role was in the TV adaptation of Anne Rice’s novel, “The Feast of All Saints.”

Ri’chard has guest starred on many hit shows such as “Boston Public,” “Touched by an Angel,” CSI: Miami,” “My Wife and Kids” and “The Jamie Foxx Show.”

“Webster’s Dictionary defines legacy as ‘something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past,’” said Loletta Wynder, director of the Creole Heritage Center. “We have identified five characteristics of legacy: faith, family, fitness, food and fun. These are the focal points we hope to address during the conference.”

The 2019 conference will begin with a welcome, registration and continental breakfast at 8 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27 in the NSU’s Student Union Ballroom. Discussion topics will include Faith and Healing: Old Remedies and Modern Medicine, Family: Genealogy Challenges, Fitness: Wellness and Health, Food: Traditional Foods and Healthy Eating and Fun: Entertainment and Recreation. Winners of the Youth Legacy Essay Contest will be announced.

That evening, a zydeco dance and reception featuring Brandon Ledet and the Creole Touch will take place from 6:30-10 p.m.

Saturday’s events will take place on and around the Fleur de Lis Stage on Rue Beauport, Natchitoches’ downtown riverbank, beginning with the Legacy Fun Run/Walk. Registration will be from 6:30-9 a.m. and include a Highway Fit Warmup with Ri’chard and NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio.

The 5K run will begin at 7 a.m. The 5K Walk will begin at 7:15 a.m. Pre-registration fees are $25 for runners 18 and over in the 5K, $10 for runners 17 and younger. Day of registration prices are $30 for runners 18 and older and $15 for runners 17 and younger. Runners who preregister are guaranteed a race t-shirt and goodie bag. Virtual runners can contribute for $25 preregistration or $30 day of registration and receive a t-shirt. Proceeds will go towards educational and community service projects. An awards program will follow the fun run/walk at 9 a.m.

From 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., participants can enjoy exhibits, vendors, food trucks, entertainment, tours, information on health and fitness, and a meet and greet with Ri’Chard and other activities. The Legacy Kids Carnival will be open with a $5 armband required for admission. Music will include line dancing and Zumba.

At 4 p.m. family and friends of Clementine Hunter will pay tribute to the late Natchitoches Folk Artist. Organizers will share information about Clementine Hunter Day, which will be observed state-wide on Tuesday, Oct. 1. Earlier this year, Wynder spearheaded an initiative to establish Clementine Hunter Day with a resolution by State Rep. Kenny Cox that was approved by the Louisiana Legislature.

A zydeco dance band will perform from 6-9:30 p.m.

Registration costs for the conference start at $25 per person for those who pre-register through Sept. 16. This cost includes all Friday events including informational sessions, the zydeco dance and reception and Brandon Ledet/Creole Touch performance. On-site registration Friday, Sept. 27 is $30 per person. On-side admission to Friday’s dance and reception only are $20 per person and $30 per couple. Tickets can be reserved at creole.nsula.edu.

Admission to events on Saturday, Sept. 28 downtown are free except for the Legacy Fun Run/Walk. Pre-registration for the Legacy Fun Run/Walk is available now and walk-ups are welcome. For preregistration information, email creolecenter@nsula.edu or call (318) 357-6685.

Admission to the Legacy Kids Carnival is $5.

Comfort Suites, Best Western and Holiday Inn Express are offering group rates for those who attend the conference. Participants should reference Natchitoches Creole Heritage Festival when booking.

For information on the Creole Heritage Center, visit creole.nsula.edu.