Vermilionville Jam Session with Steve, Burke Riley Nov. 9, 2019
After photographing Horace Trahan leading a jam at the St. Landry Parish Visitor Center, I headed down I-49 to catch the last 40 minutes of the Saturday jam at Vermilionville led by Steve Riley and his son Burke. The open jam, organized by Ray Landry and sponsored by the Cajun French Music Association, is held 1-3 p.m. every week at the Vermilionville Performance Center. Since it was a beautiful fall afternoon, part of the west side of the center was opened up so that the jam circle extended into the bright sunshine and then back into the shaded interior of the building.

Because Steve Riley, Burke Riley, and Sheryl Cormier were seated in the sunlit section facing toward the inside, I had to contend with some extreme backlighting photographing them. I didn’t want to distract everyone by using direct flash, but I did try using bounce-from-behind flash to help a little to counteract the backlighting.

Photographic issues aside, the jammers sounded great, Ray Landry did an excellent job organizing the jam, and everyone seemed to really enjoy the music and camraderie. There’s an admission charge to tour Vermilionville, but those who are there only to attend the jam are admitted free.

For a listing of Cajun and Zydeco bands and Mardi Gras photos included on these Flickr pages, go to or
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