Made in Louisiana: The Back Door with the Cajun Hank Williams
ERATH – Cajun music runs through D. L. Menard’s blood. That’s why he’s been called the “Cajun Hank Williams.”
“I don’t think they know any better,” Menard said, strumming his guitar. “I played music all my life, and I’m friendly with people. That’s why people like me.”
Menard was born in April of 1932, and has lived here in Erath for 83 years. He’s left his home a few times, to play and share his music.
“I traveled a lot, but I never did move,” he says. “I don’t know why. They never did keep me. “
He’s traveled and played worldwide. Appearing in 36 different countries before thousands of fans. Menard says the favorite thing to see when traveling is the reaction people have to his music.
He started playing when he was 17 after ordering his first guitar out of a Sears catalog for just $11.
And while has written many songs, the one that’s got him to the front of the Cajun music movement is: “The Back Door.”
Rolling Stone Magazine called, “The Back Door” one of the top country music songs of all time.
“I recorded that song in 1962. And it’s still popular just like that day I recorded it,” Menard said.
His friend, Terry Huval says that everyone loved “The Back Door.”
“Even his children, when he started playing it initially, they always wanted to him to play it because there is an infectious kind of rhythm to it. And it has a nice Cajun sort of way that he sings the words and it’s a fun song,” Huval recalled.
Music even introduced D.L. to his wife. He met her at a dance hall, and she turned out to be his biggest fan.
Busloads of fans stop by his home every year to hear him play. And every year, he always welcomes them.
“I’ll tell you what. I don’t know how many persons has walked in my house from all over the world,” Menard said.
And he always gives this advice to young musicians trying to break into the business:
“Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone else. That’s what I always tell them,” he said.
That’s what helped him become a Cajun Hank Williams, to create a career that’s taken this “Louisiana legacy” through “The Back Door” and to the front of Cajun music.