D.L. Menard

Affectionately known as "the Cajun Hank Williams," D.L. Menard (born Doris Leon Menard) only met Williams once, at the Teche Club in New Iberia in 1951. But in the five decades since, William's melancholy country songs have continued to be his major influence. D.L. was born April 14, 1932 in Erath, Louisiana. Raised in a farming community in south Louisiana, Menard worked in the cotton fields as a child. His father and uncle were amateur musicians and he heard music over the radio. At 17 he played professionally at Cajun dances and among the bands with which he played was Elias Badeaux & The Louisiana Aces. Menard had also begun writing songs that reflected his Acadian heritage and evoked the hard lives of his own people. Menard is best known for his song "La Porte En Arrière" ("The Back Door"), which Cajun folklorist Barry Jean Ancelet has called the most played and most recorded Cajun song, selling over 500,000 copies in 1962 alone.

Menard's work has been acknowledged in the USA with a Grammy Award nomination for 1993's Le Trio Cadien (with Eddie LeJeune and Ken Smith) as Best Traditional Album. He is in the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, the Cajun Music Hall of Fame, he was recipient of the 1993 Times Music Award, the 1994 National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2001 was inducted into the Acadian Museum's Living Legends. Balfa recorded with some of the finest Cajun artists (Dewey Balfa and Marc Savoy) as well as stranger match-ups such as Brian Ferry.

He and his wife Louella - now deceased - have seven children, seventeen great grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. He still lives in Erath and continues to play music. He has maintained a separate career as a craftsman, noted for his handmade ash-wood chairs he makes at his one-man factory in Erath.

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