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Pierrottie, Russell "Dale"

Dale Pierrottie


Dale Pierrottie lives in Carencro, Louisiana. Mr. Pierrottie learned about his Cajun heritage from his maternal grandparents who lived in Basile, Louisiana. He grew up in Lake Charles, but spent his summers with his grandparents. During that time, he listened to his grandfather, Leaus Darbonne, tell stories about Acadian wall building.

Mr. Pierrottie restores and sculpts houses. He has been restoring bousillage houses and working with bousillage sculptures for more than eight years. Mr. Pierrottie has an actual section of wall he employs when conducting demonstrations. He uses clay, cured moss, and water to show how to mix bousillage. Dale also explains how to make a cordage called "tarabi" from cured moss, which he uses when completing sculptures.

Mr. Pierrottie started working with bousillage when he built a chimney and other set props for the movie Belizaire the Cajun in 1985. Dale has taken the medium a step further by using various materials to make sculptures. Some of the materials he uses include moss, hanging bones, string, feathers, and quartz. The finished product is referred to as "gris-gris." "Gris-gris" are talismans or charms in various Louisiana cultures.

Bousillage, as a building material, will probably never be used for major construction projects. However, Dale says "Bousillage contracting is picking up. I'm doing one about every two years." Mr. Perriotte has worked on a number of projects in the south. He worked on the Magnolia Mound Plantation, the 200 year-old Armand Broussard House at Vermilionville in Lafayette, and an 1840-era house for an attorney in Meaux.

Dale Pierrottie performs demonstrations when asked, even at schools. He has attended the Monroe Folk Festival, Festival Acadians, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Houston Folk Festival, Magnolia Mound Fall Festival, and Evangeline Longfellow State Park.