27 July 2017 | | Off-Beat Magazine
Erath, Louisiana native Doris Leon “D.L.” Menard—who was often called the “Cajun Hank Williams”—died earlier today, Lafayette newspaper The Daily Advertiser reports. The Cajun music icon was 85 years old.
Born into a Cajun farming family in 1932, Menard gained widespread acclaim with his 1962 song “La Porte En Arrière” —also known as “The Back Door”.
The song, which sold 500,000 copies in its first year, has been considered an essential part of the Cajun music canon since its release. It was inspired by Hank Williams’ 1951 track “Honky Tonky Blues,” a fact that played no small part in earning Menard his nickname (Menard also met Williams at New Iberia’s Teche Club just a few years before the country music legend’s untimely death in 1953).
In his later years, Menard earned even more acclaim, including a 1993 Grammy Award nomination in the Best Traditional Folk Album category for his record Le Trio Cadien and a 1994 National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
He was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2009 and his released Happy Go Luckyscored him another Grammy nomination—this time for Best Zydeco of Cajun Music Album—in 2010. Menard continued to perform well well into his 80s, even taking the stage at this year’s Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival in New Orleans’ Armstrong Park.
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