August 4

In Memory: Farewell to Cajun Music Legend D.L. Menard


In Memory: Farewell to Cajun Music Legend D.L. Menard 1Doris Leon  “D.L.” Menard was an American songwriter, performer, and recording artist in contemporary Cajun music. He was called the “Cajun Hank Williams.” His music was highly influenced by late Hank Williams. They met in 1952 at the Teche Club before William’s demise.

Menard is known for his “tinny” voice and popular guitar strumming style. The D.L. Menard style uses bass runs on chord changes and combines up-strokes along with down-strokes which he also modeled after David Bromberg.

He is best known for the song “La Porte En Arrière” (“The Back Door”), which he composed and regularly performed. He modeled it on Hank William’s “Honky Tonk Blues” and another interesting fact is that he composed it less than an hour while working at a gas station. The upbeat song is about a man who gets so drunk he sneaks home through the back door.

“I had to fix flats and pump gas and serve the people,” he recalled, “so I was only able to get to the song between jobs.”

Sadly, Menard passed away last July 27 due to multiple ailments including cancer and heart problems.

Mr. Menard garnered listeners worldwide. Two of his albums were nominated for Grammy Awards, and he was a member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. In 1994 the National Endowment for the Arts named him to a National Heritage Fellowship, the highest award in traditional arts.

“He was a consistently excellent songwriter and a consistently excellent musician,” Mr. Ancelet said in a telephone interview. “He was a prolific oral poet who had a remarkable knack for turning an observation, something he observed in our society, into a little nugget of poetry.”

Other than being a musician, Menard built handmade rockers, chairs and stools in his factory (D. L. Menard Chair Factory).

Funeral services were held last July 31 in Lafayette, Louisiana. Your memories and legacy will continue to live on Mr. Menard. Thank you for the music.

Watch his famous song “The Back Door” here.



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