Funeral services were held Monday (July 31) in Lafayette, Louisiana, for D.L. Menard, a singer-songwriter widely known as the “Cajun Hank Williams.”
Menard, who died Thursday at his home in Scott, Louisiana, at age 85, achieved acclaim with his 1962 recording of “La Porte en Arriere.” Sung in French, the song is also known as “The Back Door.” The upbeat song is about a man who gets so drunk he sneaks home through the back door.
For Cajun music enthusiasts, “The Back Door” rivaled the traditional “Jolie Blon” as the unofficial Cajun national anthem
“’Jolie Blon’ is a song about a girl who went to Texas,” folklorist Barry Jean Ancelet noted in July during a celebration of the 55th anniversary of Menard’s hit. “’La Porte’ is about a guy who slips back in at home through the back door. Now, I ask you: Which one best describes us Cajuns?”
Menard gained a national fan base following an appearance at the 1973 National Folk Festival near Washington, D.C. He also performed on several U.S. State Department tours promoting the American culture. During his career, he performed in 38 nations and received two Grammy nominations.
In 1994, the National Endowment for the Arts named him to a National Heritage Fellowship, the highest award in traditional arts.