Story Two: Zydeco, Home Away From Home
The second squeezebox story starts at a Zydeco dance party, hosted by a church in Richmond, CA. Playing the accordion and singing at the center of the make-shift stage is Andre Thierry, who has been playing the instrument since he was first enchanted by it as a small child. Now in his early 30′s, Thierry grew up around Zydeco musicians touring from Louisiana, as his grandmother, Lena Pitre, organized and hosted Zydeco parties to bring together the black Creoles who migrated from Louisiana to California starting in the 1950′s.
This story tells us how Zydeco came to be in Louisiana, how Zydeco traveled all the way across the country to California together with the internal migration of the Creoles, and how this accordion-driven dance music provides a home away from home for them — as one of the dancers says, “No matter how far we go, Zydeco brings us home.”
If you’re interested in reading more about the background and the history of Creole migration, you can find information on the background page.
Special additional thanks to Professor Mark Dewitt, Barbara Yaley, Robbie and Shirly Robinson, and members of the Knights of Peter Claver, Ladies Auxiliary Court 230 in Richmond, CA for their help with this story.