by Louis Darby
In one word, Id call the culture interesting.
There's a lot more French influence here than many would realize.
Being from south Louisiana, I was intrigued at the similarities and came to the conclusion that the only difference between a Cajun (which is what I am) and a hillbilly is that we speak French and they dont!
Our thought process, our cultures, our utilization and appreciation of the land? Our use of all resources?
We have a lot of similarities. People here the natives are very conscious of using natural materials and making the most of those materials. There was very little waste.
People used to ask, Do you miss Louisiana? I'd have to laugh and tell them, No, not really. If you think about it, Missouri was part of the Louisiana Purchase. So I feel right at home!
Originally, even the name was a French derivative, though it would have been spelled Aux arcs.
In the French language, you can translate or interpret a lot of different things, so it's hard to know exactly what it meant.
But the Ozarks have been very interesting. Ive met some wonderful luthiers here. One, Charley Wells, was both a luthier and a local bee charmer. So he'd fix my fiddle and Id get a quart of honey while I was there!
I think its just the love of life and everything that comes with Cajun culture that really bled into the Ozarks. People here have a really good comfort level with that. I've been here 20 years and wouldnt call any other place home.
But I can tell you that the local people worked hard and they worked for what they had. They love life and they don't waste anything.
It's a nice atmosphere.
Louis Darby, Branson, Missouri
|Ozark Fall,Artwork by Joshua Heston, August 20, 2009.
From the editor
Louis Darby, originally of Opelousas, Louisiana, has lived in White River Country since 1987.
In the article at right, he succinctly defines a very hard-to-nail-down subject: the culture of the Ozarks.
A two-time Louisiana State Fiddle Champion, Darby became well-known in the Ozarks-region as part of the Cajun Connection.
Today, he plays regularly at the Circle B Chuckwagon in Branson.
I still remember the first time I saw him fiddlin up a storm at the Riverfront Playhouse one cold December afternoon over at Silver Dollar City.
And another afternoon, not so long ago, I sat down with Louis in his real estate office to talk about the Ozarks.
December 20, 2007