Singer-songwriter, poet, cultural activist, environmentalist, Zachary Richard is best known as recording artist and performer. With 20 albums on his roster, including several gold and platinum albums, his musical career is international.
In 1996, Zachary Richard founded Action Cadienne, a non-profit organization devoted to the promotion of the Acadian culture and French language of Louisiana. In March, 1997, he is decorated Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres of the Republic of France. That same year, he is initiated into the Ordre des Francophones d’Amérique by the government of Québec. In the course of his career he has received four honorary doctorates from the University of Moncton (New Brunswick), the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, l’Université Ste. Anne (Nova Scotia) and the University of Ottawa (Canada). In response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Zachary Richard founded SOS Musiciens to come to the aid of the musical community of Louisiana. In 2009, he is decorated with the Order of Canada, one of very few Americans to receive Canada’s highest civilian award. Following the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe of 2010, Zachary Richard founded Gulf Aid Acadiana to help restore the Louisiana coast and support its communities. In 2015, Zachary Richard is named Humanist of the Year by the Louisiana Endowmment of the Arts. The following year he is decorated Officier des Palmes Académiques by the Republic of France and promoted Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres.
Zachary Richard is producer, narrator, and composer of several television documentaries. In 2000, Against the Tide, the story of the Cajun people of Louisiana is awarded Best Historical Documentary by the National Educational Television Association (USA). The French version, Contre vents, contre marées, is awarded the Prix Historia by the Institut d’Histoire de l’Amérique Française in 2003. Other documentaries will follow, Cœurs Batailleurs, a 26 part series that investigates the Acadian diaspora around the world, and Migrations, which studies bird migration in North America and is awarded the Liriot d’Or (first prize) at the Festival International du Film Ornithologique of France in 2008. More recently, Zachary Richard narrated and composed the music for Kouchibouguac, which examines the social upheaval that accompanied the expropriation of 250 Acadian families for the creation of a Canadian national park.
Fiercely attached to the French language and Acadian culture of his native Louisiana, Zachary Richard is the author of four children’s books as well as four volumes of poetry (Faire Récolte received the Prix Champlain and Feu the Prix Roland Gasparic in Bucharest). He is Louisiana’s first French Language Poet Laureate.