Louisiana actor performing Evangeline in Yarmouth makes pilgrimage to Grand Pré

Wendy Elliott welliott@kingscountynews.ca
Published on July 29, 2014

Gonzales, Louisiana native Ranji Bercegeay, who plays the role of Gabriel in a Tusket musical, posed with Evangeline Claire Boudreau-Robertson from Wedgeport.

©Wendy Elliott, Kingscountynews.ca

Four cast members of a Louisiana-born production of Evangeline, the Musical took part in ceremonies July 28 marking the anniversary of the deportation order.

The production is taking place in a school in the fishing village of Tusket in Yarmouth County and closes later this week. A day off allowed the foursome to make a pilgrimage to Horton Landing.

Gonzales, Louisiana native Ranji Bercegeay, who plays the role of Gabriel, was joined by actors from Nova Scotia, including Evangeline Claire Boudreau-Robertson from Wedgeport.

Bercegeay said Paul and Darlene Taranto, composer and producer of Evangeline, which is based on Longfellow’s iconic poem, were in Nova Scotia recently to make further ties with the province where the Cajuns originated.

Taranto wrote the music and lyrics for Evangeline. The first full-scale production of the musical took place in 1999. Four subsequent productions followed, including one that was taped by Louisiana Public Broadcasting in 2000 and aired on PBS stations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Federal funding of $30,000 to the Conseil des arts de Par-en-Bas enabled the Tusket production to take shape at the Salle Père Maurice LeBlanc.

Each year on July 28, Nova Scotians recognize the Deportation of the Acadians. It was on July 28, 1755 that Governor Lawrence signed the order to deport the population of over 10,000 Acadian men, women and children. Various ceremonies are held throughout the Maritimes to commemorate the events of 1755, to honour the survival of the Acadian people, and to work towards renewing relationships with the First Nations.

There was a gathering at the iron cross at Horton Landing, followed by a service at the Covenanter Church in Grand Pré and a candlelight walk to the Interpretation Centre.