Inducted on July 28, 2001
On Saturday, July 28, 2001, the Acadian Museum of Erath honored radio personality Pete Bergeron as a Living Legend. Museum Program Director Kermit Bouillion said, "Pete Bergeron is the French voice behind KRVS radio, reaching a listening audience of 20,000 Cajuns each morning, insuring that we still hear our news and music in French."
Born Joseph Hilton Bergeron in Eunice on November 9, 1939, Pete was nicknamed by his uncle, a name that simply stuck with him. Bergeron began singing professionally at the age of fifteen. He played Cajun and country music with his brother Nelson, forming a band called "Pete Marlow and the Rhythm Kings," recording for J.D. Miller in the late fifties. His French recordings of Jue de Cartes and Une Deuxieme Chance are of significant importance in Cajun music. He joined the Navy in 1960 and upon his release enrolled in broadcasting school in Atlanta, Gorgia, while working at radio stations in North Carolina and Tennessee. He and his wife, Nadine, returned to Louisiana in 1969, where he worked as a salesman until 1982. It was then that USL made a wise decision by hiring Bergeron as bilingual director of French programs at their public radio station KRVS FM 88.7. For the past twenty-one years, Bergeron's voice on "Bonjour Louisiane" has been heard each morning beginning at 5 AM from New Orleans to Lake Charles, extending 75 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, and covering over 22 parishes in south Louisiana playing traditional Cajun tunes.
In 1988, Bergeron produced a Cajun music program titled "Voix de la Louisiane" (The Voice of Louisiana), sponsored by CODOFIL, for WRNO World Wide out of New Orleans. It was selected as one of the top 10 programs on World Band Radio that year. In 1988, Bergeron then joined the Cajun French Music Association (CFMA) and was quickly elected to the state board. He then served as president of the Lafayette Chapter of CFMA for two terms. He also is credited as founder and first chairman of "Le Cajun Music Awards & Festival" serving for four years. Under his leadership, this award program was itself awarded as one of the top 20 events in the Southeastern United States in 1992.
But a subject close to his heart is the flag that he designed representing the Creoles of South Louisiana. C.R.E.O.L.E. Inc. adopted it as the official flag of the Creoles in 1995. One can see it flying over the old City Hall in Lafayette, the current Centre International.
Bergeron has received many awards over the course of his career. In 1989, the CFMA awarded him as promoter of Cajun Culture; in 198, he received the Carencro Lions Club Appreciation Award; in 1993, the CFMA's President Award; in 1990, he was entered into the Lake Charles CFMA Chapter Hall of Fame; in 1992, he was selected as Who's Who Worldwide by Business Leaders Internationally; in 1995, he was selected into the Louisiana Hall of Fame; and in 1996, he won as Cajun D.J. of the Year by the Kaplan Knights of Columbus Council 2913.
Today, Bergeron is in the process of completing the manuscript for a book which will terminate an eleven-year research into Cajun musicians. He proudly states that there are over 1100 Cajun musicians worldwide and he plans to publish a biography and photo of each one. Along with photos of instruments, his book will also include a discography, a listing of every Cajun recording ever made whicih should prove valuable for future research into Cajun music by students and music lovers worldwide.