Special Thanks

AARP Prime Time Radio is the distributor for Zydeco Nation. Fiscal sponsorship is provided by Deep Springs College and the International Documentary Association. This project was made possible with support from Cal Humanities, an independent non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit www.calhum.org.

Deep Springs College

Betty LeBlanc

Betty LeBlanc at the 23 Club in Brisbane, CA.

Betty LeBlanc at the 23 Club in Brisbane, CA. Photo by John Noltner.

The daughter of a laborer, Betty LeBlanc grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana, where Sundays were devoted to three things: church, food and dancing. “Church was No. 1,” she recalls—and afterward her neighbors would host outdoor meals at their homes. “I remember dancing,” she says. “My mom used to tell me, ‘Come on in the house now.’ And I said, ‘No, no, no, Mom. I got one more dance to do.’ And I would just dance the night away.”

LeBlanc moved to San Francisco in 1960. There she found a thriving Creole culture of house parties, social clubs, and church dances where French was spoken and jambalaya was always ready to be dished out. LeBlanc has made her own mark on the scene by organizing Sunday afternoon zydeco dances at the 23 Club, an old cowboy bar in Brisbane, California. In this clip, she talks about the meaning of the word “Creole,” and how it has evolved over the years.