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Chairmaker and Cajun Musician
D. L. Menard was born in 1932 in Erath, Louisiana where he still resides with his wife, Louella. They have seven children and fourteen grandchildren. D. L. Menard is one of the most respected music artists in French Louisiana today. His song, "La Porte dans Arriere" (The Back Door) has challenged "Jole Blon" as the Cajun national anthem. In the eighteen years since "La Porte" was first recorded, it has sold over half a million copies.
D. L. says, "The singing and music came natural...people said I sang like Hank Williams, but it was just my way of singing." D. L. has sung at festivals in Quebec, France, and scores of Louisiana honky-tonks. He has recorded for Louisiana and French labels as well as northern folk labels in the United States.
Along with his music art, Mr. Menard owns a chair factory. Louella's kitchen is open to anyone wanting to enjoy Cajun coffee and food. The furnishing her kitchen are products of the D. L. Menard chair factory, a rambling one-man shop located next door. D. L. is a master craftsman and his chair factory is as remarkable as the chairs themselves. It is a small factory D. L. concocted from such materials as old washing machine motors. He makes most of the chair parts from the finest ash wood obtained from the local sawmill. He uses seasoned hardwood rungs, which are locked tight by drying ash in the traditional way. Louella weaves the chair seats. His inventory includes platform rockers, high back rockers, sewing rockers, ladder back chairs, bar stools, and children's furniture.
Photograph of D.L. Menard courtesy of Rounder Records. The photograph can be found on the cover of Rounder Records 0198, Cajun Saturday Night.
Updated March 23,2017 by Natchitoches-NSU Louisiana Folklife Center Staff