'We're all one family': Louisiana man travelling to P.E.I. for World Acadian Congress
While Billy Hebert was born and raised in Louisiana, his Acadian roots are taking him to Prince Edward Island for the World Acadian Congress being held Aug. 10-24.
He's from the small parish of West Baton Rouge, which is home to a large number of people with Acadian roots.Almost everyone I went to school with had an Acadian last name and I didn't realize it or appreciate it at the time.
— Billy Hebert
So much so, Hebert along with several others in the community started a historical society which hosts an annual Acadian heritage celebration. The parish held its second annual celebration last week.
Heading to P.E.I.
"When I tell people I'm from West Baton Rouge, they're like, 'Wait, there's Acadians in West Baton Rouge?' A lot of people are not even aware of that," Hebert said.
"I think our efforts are starting to payoff. We're starting to be heard and recognized," he said.
Hebert and his 13-year-old great-nephew have plans to head to P.E.I. and Moncton, N.B., for this year's World Acadian Congress, as well as visiting important Acadian sites like Grand-Pré, N.S. The event is organized in a different location every five years.
Culture and ancestry
Hebert said he's looking forward to having the opportunity to introduce his great-nephew to their shared culture and ancestry.
"I want him to experience as much Acadian history, of the Acadian story that he can while we're there," he said.
"When I was growing up in the '60s almost everyone I went to school with had an Acadian last name and I didn't realize it or appreciate it at the time," he said.
Hebert says he's never missed a congress in his adult life and he doesn't intend to miss one now.
"We're all one family and the congress is an opportunity ... to meet people and see people that you're not going to cross in everyday life," he said.