Erath honors DL Menard on 55th Anniversary of ‘The Back Door’
July 2017 marks an important date in the life of Cajun Music Legend DL Menard, and his hometown of Erath is planning a celebration.
Fifty-five years ago this July, Menard released his biggest hit, "The Back Door" ("La Porte En Arrière").
The Erath 4th of July Celebration is having a “Tribute to DL Menard” to celebrate the life of its favorite son and his famous song, “The Back Door.” The tribute will be held on Sunday, July 2nd at 6:30 PM on the festival bandstand in downtown Erath. The celebration is open to the public. All of Menard’s fans are urged to attend this worthy event.
The tribute will feature the honoree performing with the Jambalaya Cajun Band. Several of Menard’s family members will join him on stage to perform many of his well-known hits. This will be the first time all of the Menards perform together. Joining him on stage will be three of his children: Larry and Dick Menard and Rebecca Menard Moreland; and six of his grandchildren: Nelda Menard Pontiff, Brandon, Joshua, Jeremy, Josiah, and Nathan Menard. In addition to the music, Erath 4th of July Association President Robert B. Vincent, Acadian Museum founder Warren Perrin, Erath Mayor John E. LeBlanc, Jambalaya’s Terry Huval, and Lafayette artist Tony Bernard will each make a special presentation to Menard.
The Acadian Museum of Erath will unveil a new, expanded exhibit on DL Menard as part of the celebration. The exhibit, entitled "Revisiting the Life of DL Menard - The Cajun Hank Williams," will include various photos and mementos from Menard’s storied life. The exhibit will be unveiled to the public at 5:30 PM and the museum will remain open until the tribute begins.
In 1962, Menard was working at a gas station one block away from the Erath 4th of July Celebration fairgrounds. He had a notebook in his pocket and would write a few lines to a song in between pumping gas and fixing flat tires. Menard and the Louisiana Aces recorded that song in July 1962. “The Back Door” became an instant hit and has sold over a half million copies. Its popularity has endured. The song is the most played and most recorded Cajun music song of all time, according to Cajun folklorist Dr. Barry Ancelet. When Rolling Stone magazine ranked the 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time in 2014, “The Back Door” made the list at number 72.
Menard has spent the past half-century touring the world and sharing his Cajun music and humor. He has become an ambassador of Cajun music and culture. Along the way, he has received many awards. He is a two-time Grammy nominee. He has been inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and the Cajun Music Hall of Fame. In 1993, Menard and his "Louisiana Aces" band received the Times Music Award. In 1994, he received The National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, their highest honor, along with ten thousand dollars, which was presented to him by then First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton. He has also been inducted into the Order of Living Legends by the Acadian Museum of Erath.
DL Menard is the only citizen in Erath who has had busloads of people drive up to his home to see him, sit in his rocking chairs under an oak tree and listen to music that has delighted the world for 55 years. The people of Erath and the 4th of July Association recognize DL Menard as a Cajun musical artist; a goodwill ambassador of Cajun humor and culture; a man of great humility who has never forgotten his Cajun roots.
For a complete schedule of festival events, please visit www.erath4.com.