Where Have All the Cajuns Gone? (Psssst: Long Beach.)

Once a year, the irresistible sound of accordions and those washboard things fill Rainbow Lagoon in Long Beach for the Long Beach Bayou & Mardi Gras Festival . You don't have to know the difference between Cajun and Zydeco to appreciate the joyful -- and decidedly American -- sounds coming from the stage. There's even a blues stage for those who prefer their grooves non-Acadian. Many of the performers are coming from places like Opelouses and Breaux Bridge in Louisiana. This year's headliners include Theo & the Zydeco Patrol, the Bayou Brothers, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Chas, Steve Riley (pictured), Corey Ledet, Hubert Sumlin, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Jimmy Vivino & His East West Connection. The event is definitely L.A.'s best-smelling festival -- crawfish, jambalaya, etouffee, beignets, red beans and rice. Just go. Proceeds benefit Comprehensive Child Development, which supports educational programs for children of low-income families. www.longbeachfestival.homestead.com.
Sat., June 27; Sun., June 28, 2009

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