Sylvia S. Bienvenu Inducted into Living Legends
first became involved with the Acadian culture when she
agreed to participate in the French as a Second Language program at the St. Martinville Primary school in 1975.
wrote a grant that proposed that students from three area French Immersion or Bilingual schools research their Acadian ancestors and history, then write stories to be recorded to "Let the Children Speak".
The project won first place in the national competition, a $10,000 grant to accomplish the project, and another $10,000 award from Lowe's Building Supplies
, the main supporter of the project.
The following year First Lady Laura Bush invited The Acadian Memorial
to participate in the Preserve America Summit's
Student Component she
chaired in New Orleans.
Sylvia and teacher Peggy Feehan chaperoned 12 students who received all-expenses-paid trips to participate in discussion groups led by the First Lady and Dr. Libby O'Connell, Chief Historian of the History Channel.
Then, Sylvia worked with Dr. Julia Fredericks of the University of Louisiana Lafayette and received a grant from Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities to present a Teaching Institute to "teach the teachers" about Acadians and their culture, so that the history of the Acadians would become part of the school curriculum in Acadiana.
and her son Eddie planned and carried out the event, which honors two Acadian families, and has been repeated each year since.
As a fundraiser in 2013, Sylvia
designed a Raffle and Auction of an Authentic Cajun Wooden Pirogue built by her son Dr. Hal Bienvenu.
After the Louisiana Legislature declared the Pirogue as the Official Boat Of Louisiana, Sylvia
obtained an Official Proclamation from Governor Jindal declaring March 2014 as TheMonth of the Cajun Pirogue and planned a Christening Ceremony to recognize it.
Also that year, the Christening of the Acadian Wooden Dugout Pirogue, planned by Sylvia
and her son Eddie Bienvenu, recognized the Dugout as the earliest paddled watercraft of the Louisiana Acadians and ancestor of all Cajun Boats.
In recognition of the importance of gathering word-of-mouth information about all of these typical Acadian boats, Sylvia initiated the Wooden Boat Oral History Project by forming a committee at the Acadian Memorial for partnering with the Center for Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to collect oral stories of the men and women who locate, retrieve, restore, preserve and rebuild wooden boats and antique motors in Louisiana.
These will be transcribed and archived at the University of Louisiana Lafayette
and made available to the public for research and information.
As an Acadian Memorial Foundation Board Member, Sylvia continues to contribute her time and talents to other projects, including the L'Ordre de Bon Temps Galas and the designing of a Sponsorship Program for funding Memorial projects.
To quote Sylvia
, "By working on these projects, I discovered my own Acadian roots in the LeBlanc, Dugas, and Broussard lines, something I probably never would have learned otherwise.