Skip to main content

Face Magazine of Acadiana

Noel Acadien Au Village - A tribute to Bob Lowe

Dec 01, 2015 04:49PM ● By Ren Campbell
FOR THE PAST 35 YEARS, Noel Acadien au Village has provided incredible memories for 
tens of thousands of Acadiana residents and visitors from around the world. The annual event is a Winter Wonderland of sorts — deep in southern style and tradition. LARC’s Acadian Village offers the perfect setting for children of all ages to marvel at a sea of Christmas lights as they stroll by reflective ponds and beautifully lit historical buildings. It’s a Christmas Carnival complete with merry-go-round, children’s train, and bumper cars. The sounds of holiday music resonate as live entertainment performs on stage. The sweet smell of funnel cake fills the air as the young and young at heart come together in a family atmosphere to celebrate the season and raise money for a very special cause — serving the needs of local residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Noel Acadien au Village is the largest fundraiser of the year for LARC. This twenty-seven 
day festival would not have been possible had it not been for the vision of a local businessman along with countless staff members, supporters and volunteers. 

This year’s event is dedicated to Mr. Robert (Bob) Lowe, founding father of LARC, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 93. In addition, a 21 gun salute is scheduled for December 7th (Anniversary of Pearl Harbor) in honor Mr. Lowe (a WWII Veteran) and all Veterans. 


History

It was the 1950s and Lafayette businessman Robert (Bob) Lowe saw a need for an organization that would aid mentally disabled individuals in the community. With meager beginnings, Bob created the foundation currently known as LARC, a non- profit organization whose mission is to aid and assist individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in 
reaching their goals of self-sufficiency, quality of life and self-worth. 

Over the past 50+ years, LARC has helped countless individuals and has continued to grow and serve the community. In the late 60s and early 70s (well before Noel Acadien au Village had become a reality), Mr. Lowe, along with Dr. Norman Heard and Glen Conrad sought to expand LARC’s community outreach in addition to finding ways to help generate funding 
for LARC’s operations. Their grand vision was to create a tourist attraction of authentic living conditions of early Acadian settlers in the 1800s, helping to keep the Cajun culture and language alive. 

Thirty-Two acres of land was donated by the Alleman family to help fulfill this vision. Original Acadian homes were donated and moved to the site. Community members donated their time and resources in the construction of what is known today as Acadian Village.


Mary Hooks (Director of LARC) tells FACE, “Public support is crucial as all funds raised stay within the community to directly assist individuals with special needs to lead a quality life.” 

“Our biggest fundraiser of the year is Noel Acadien au Village. It’s a twenty-seven day festival open every single night (weather permitting), from November 28th to December 23rd, between 5:30-9pm,” says Mary.

Visitors to Noel Acadiana can walk through the fully lit Acadian Village while sipping on hot chocolate, taking in the beautiful décor. The journey to the pavilion and main attraction area is beautifully lit with thousands of twinkling Christmas lights decorating the entire village. There is live entertainment by a different artist or group every night. Children can meet and take photos with Santa and spend time at the carnival.

This year (December 3rd), LARC initiated a talent competition, the first of its kind with intentions of making it an annual event. For a small fee, individuals or groups showcased their talents, competing for prizes in front of a trio of judges in one of four categories. The competition was open to all performing arts including — but not limited to — vocal, instrumental, dance, theater and variety performances.