Music forms a large part of Cajun culture, and preserving it is an important part of the mission of the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux.

But it's also fun.

For those two reasons, the center sponsors a weekly gathering of musicians and fans every Monday night, appropriately named Monday Night Music.

The first three Mondays of each month feature various artists within the Cajun, zydeco and swamp pop genres, and the last Monday of each month finds artists within the jazz, blues and gospel genres.

Natasha Dufrene, park guide for the National Park Service, said the recurring event seeks to preserve the culture of the bayou region.

"We look for anything that has to do with Louisiana," Dufrene said. "The program is about preserving, celebrating and sharing our culture. If it's a musician who has originated in Louisiana, that's what we are celebrating."

Renowned acts such as Michael Doucet and David Greeley have performed at the Monday Night Music, as have the Cajun Music Preservation Society and local blues artist Josh Garrett.

Dufrene said the program has been in existence for about 10 years but was recently rebooted after a period of neglect, and the response has been encouraging.

The events are more than just people playing music while other people watch. Dufrene said the line between artist and spectator is very much blurred.

"This is not a concert, it's an immersive experience," Dufrene said. "(The acts) are not on a stage, they're in a phenomenal acoustic multi-purpose room, and the artist is three or four feet away (from the audience). They exchange stories about being musicians, and people talk about what the music has meant to them growing up. It's a very personal experience and an interaction between the audience and the artist."

Monday Night Music starts every Monday night at 5:30 p.m. at the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center, 314 St. Mary St. in Thibodaux. Admission is free.

Staff Writer Scott Yoshonis can be reached at 850-1148 or syoshonis@houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @Foster_Cajun.