Come to Houma, Louisiana, October 20-22 for Rougarou Fest, a family-friendly extravaganza honoring the elusive crypt known as Rougarou. The Rougarou Festival website explains that Rougarou is a werewolf-like creature “whose legend has been passed down through many generations, either directly from French settlers in Louisiana or from the French-Canadian immigrants long ago.” For more details, see the website:
It features live music, cultural activities, children’s activities, Cajun food, the Krewe Ga Rou parade and much more. All proceeds go to the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, a nonprofit organization that is revolutionizing the way we think, teach and learn about Louisiana’s disappearing coastline.
Rougarou Fest was ranked one of the Top 10 Costume Parties in the United States by USA Today in 2014, one of the Top 20 Events in 11 States by the Southeast Tourism Society in 2015, and a Best New Event in the State of Louisiana in 2019 by the Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals in 2015 and Festival of the Year by the Louisiana Travel Association in 2020 and 2023. Be sure to check out our map and schedule for a listing and location for all events!
Atlas Obscura has a great one too Piece about the Rougarou if you want to know more about the creature:
Usually described as a giant, hairy monster, the cryptid is supposedly a human cursed to take on an animal form. For centuries, if you didn’t follow Catholic traditions, such as Lent or hunting on holidays, you were caught by the rougarou. Even the act of self-defense could be life-changing. Foret remembers hearing about a legendary Rougarou encounter when a young boy armed only with his oyster knife encountered the creature while out for a walk. “As the Rougarou lunges forward, he defends himself and cuts off his arm, releasing the curse from that person and transferring it to him [himself].”
Atlas Obscura also offers some of these historical context:
Stories about the rougarou in Louisiana largely trace their origins to 16th-century French legends about an animal called the loup garou, which is essentially a werewolf. The name was changed to “rougarou” in Cajun Louisiana because “‘l’ and ‘r’ are linguistically fluid consonants and they change places often,” says Barry Jean Ancelet, a Cajun folklorist and professor emeritus at the University of Lafayette. For example, instead of laborer, which means “to plow,” you sometimes hear Cajuns say “rabourer.”
As the Rougarou settled in the swampy shadows of southern Louisiana, it took on some aspects of the native Native American cryptids, such as the legendary Choctaw shapeshifting owl witch. In fact, most Cajuns describe the rougarou not as having wolfish facial features, but rather as resembling a dog or an owl. “Nobody agrees on what it looks like because there aren’t really wolves in this part of our country,” says Nathan J. Rabalais, author of Folklore Figures of French and Creole Louisiana.
The festival sounds like a great time! In addition to the amazing sound Eat– including fried oysters, fried shrimp, fried catfish and sausage po-boys; crawfish fettuccine; spicy alligator sauce; fish court bouillon; Gumbo; jambalaya; and much more – the Rougarou Fest also has great sounding events like the “Nutria forgives” and that Storytelling stage:
One of the main purposes of the Rougarou Festival is to celebrate and share the traditions and folklore of our region as we begin to address the impacts of climate change on our bayou communities. We view the festival as a family tree of these traditions, which we can elevate and move to a higher level if necessary. This allows us to protect these treasures that are interwoven with our identity and sense of place.
The Atchafalaya Narrative Stage, also called the Talk Stage or Storytelling Stage, is our way of sharing these traditions and folklore with the rest of our community and visitors to the area. The format is very similar to a guest speaker or group of speakers discussing a specific topic or demonstrating a specific tradition while a moderator moderates the conversation and allows questions from the audience. Past topics have included hurricane stories, costume making, discussions of Louisiana French, First Nation crafts using native materials and traditional knowledge of medicinal plants.
Check out the Rougarou Festival website for more informations.