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“Ah !… the floats full of flowers…the merry-go-round driven by Mr Félix de la Cropte’s horse… not to mention the stewed pears served up on a fig leaf … they’re but a thing of the past”, sighed Norbert Marty. The Saint-Louis Festival is no longer the wonderland that country folk used to flock to for a whopping good time on Saint-Louis Day.
There just aren’t the volunteers out there willing to spend months and months making the beautiful floats, so the Le Bugue Festival Committee, represented by Laurence Rebillon, had the bright idea of dispatching four well-known brass bands throughout the town, who took it in turns to get the happy passers-by to dance to their music. Martine Lacoste, the president of the “Lu Cordillou d’ol Buguo” folk music group, had invited to the occasion a group from Berry, “La Givaudine”.
In all their finery the two groups attended mass before sauntering through the town to the music of the bagpipes and the accordion. Later on in the afternoon both groups danced in the covered market hall, a sparkle in their eyes and a smile on their lips, as befitted the charming and graceful dances.
A “Saint-Louis Special” that lived up to everyone’s expectations and embodied the joie de vivre of the Occitan Périgord people, firmly attached to their merry country customs. This Saint-Louis festival was to be the last for Father Bernard who celebrated mass. He has chosen to leave Le Bugue to be beside his 94 year old father in Nantes.
Father Julien, who has been officiating along with Father Bernard for the last six years, has decided to enter the retirement home of the fathers of his congregation – the Sons of the Virgin Mary in Vendée – to be near the sisters, the laymen and the nuns in a spiritual centre. Father Bernard and Father Julien were held in high esteem by the people of Le Bugue. They left discreetly, leaving a little farewell message in the Saint-Martin-sur-Vézère parish journal. It is Father Gérard Blanc who is to replace them and whose responsibility it will be to celebrate Saint-Louis Day 2007.

Sophie Cattoire

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