The River Of No Return translated into Cajun  (La Rivière À Sans Retour or À Sens Unique))  (This is a song that was sung in the movie with the same title)   I will translate it in the Cajun that I spoke and heard when I was a young lad.  Please remember. that it could be translated differently.

There is a river, called The River Of No Return*

Il y’a une rivière qu’on appelle La Rivière À Sans Retour (À Sens Unique)

Sometimes it’s peaceful and sometimes wild and free!

Des fois alle (elle) est calme et des fois toute déchainé

Love is a trav’ler on The River Of No Return

L’amour est un voyageur sur La Rivière À Sans Retour (Qu’avance)

Swept on for ever to be lost in the stormy sea

Emporté à jamais pour être perdu dans la mer très agitéé

Wail-a-ree, I can hear the river call [no return, no return]

Wail-a-réé, J’entens (attends) l’appel [sans retour, sans retour]

Where the roarin’ waters fall, wail-a-ree

Ou que l’eau menaçante tombe. wail-a-réé

I can hear my lover call come to me [no return no return]

J’peux entendre (attendre) l’appel de mon amour [sans retour sans retour]

I lost my love on the river and forever my heart will yearn

J’ai perdu mon amour sur la rivière mais toujours mon coeur aspirera (va aspirer)

Gone, gone for ever down The River Of No Return

Parti, parti à jamais, aller au long La Rivière À Sans Retour

Wail-a-ree wail-a-ree

Wail-a-réé wail-a-réé

She’ll/he’// never return to me [no return no return]

È/y va jamais ervenir à moi  [sans retour sans retour]

*”Of no return” in Cajun can be said in various ways.  Why not enter how you said it or heard it said in Cajun?  __________________________________________________________________

Various ways I heard:

À un seul chemin

À une seule direction

Qui coure en allant

En avance seulement

Et cetra


8 Responses to “La Rivière À Sans Retour (À Sens Unique) (The River of no Return)”

  1. on 31 Mar 2013 at 10:49 pmBrad

    Haven’t seen a post in a few months. I hope you continue to post as your efforts are a blessing to us folks trying to recover our cultural language.

  2. on 31 Mar 2013 at 11:25 pmJim

    I am working on another post. My health hasn’t been the best. Thank you for your comment. J’vas essayer de faire mieux dans l’avenir. Jim Leger

  3. on 01 Apr 2013 at 6:47 pmBrad

    I will say a prayer for you and hope for your good health.

    The work you are doing here is so valuable and so appreciated.

  4. on 01 May 2013 at 4:22 pmJessica


    My cousin has recently sent me your page after I posted something about trying to find the proper use of a certain word and being unable to find it any place on the web. After listening to you speak, you sound just like my old-maw-maw and maw-maw when they would talk to one another. I had the thought, just as you said, people having different ways of speaking, depending on what part they are from. My family comes from Assumption Parish, down Canal, close to the water.

    I have recently went back down that way to try and find the land my family should still own, but so much has changed over the, almost 20 years, since I was last there. So many newer, nicer houses now stand where I remember trees and feilds.

    I am not sure if you could, but I was wondering if you could possibly help me with something. I would like to talk to my maw-maw in cajun, and tell her something very specific, not to try and hold a conversation or anything. I was wondering if you could maybe help me with it?

    She is old and she has dementia(for some time) and may not even remember how to speak it any more, I am not sure. I would like to still try and hope to give her something that she hasn’t been able to do since my old-maw-maw passed away back in ’03, since they were the only two who could speak it fluently in our family.

    I would also like it if you could maybe help me with a small phrase for something else. My momma passed away back in ’03 as well and I would like to do something in her memory and I would like it to be in cajun.

    Either way, many thanks.

  5. on 12 May 2013 at 9:13 pmJosh McNeill


    I’m glad I found your blog and hope you feel good enough to continue posting. I’m learning Cajun French and plan on going over everything you’ve posted this summer.

    I’m from New Jersey but my grandmom is Cajun. I think she lost her French, though, between leaving Louisiana 50 years ago and the social stigma attached to it at that time, which is quite sad. Only my aunt was raised French but she stopped using it, too, when she got to grade school.

    All this is just to say that I’m thrilled that there are still at least a few people trying to promote the language. Have you ever considered providing pronunciations to the site Forvo? It’s a huge pronunciation site that crowd-sources all its content and, sadly, I’ve never once looked up a French word there and found a recording from a Cajun speaker.

    Again, hope you feel better, and thanks!

  6. on 25 May 2013 at 1:59 amConnie Rabalais McGee

    Thank you so much for the effort you put forth in your blog. My parents are both Cajun. My father is from Plaucheville and my mom is from Opelousas. My grandmother recently passed away from Alzheimers. In the end, she would only speak in her Cajun French, and I was fervently trying to learn as much as I could from my parents before she died so that I continue my cherished conversations with her. Since she died, I began to realize that since my parents did not teach me the language, that once my parents are gone, the heritage will be lost. So I am using all resources to make sure that I can learn this and pass it on to my children before it is lost forever. Teaching tools are hard to find since Louisiana French is not a mainstream foreign language. I will be praying for your health to improve and again I appreciate your efforts.

  7. on 10 Nov 2013 at 9:34 pmBrad Nation


    I have a tall request if you can find it within yourself to help.

    Pages 213 – 225 in Cajun Self Taught.

    I am struggling with translating them correctly. The resources I use struggle with Cajun French. While my wife speaks the language, she doesn’t read or write it.

    Any help at all is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you in advance,


  8. on 11 Nov 2013 at 2:13 pmJim

    Brad: The pages you listed in CST list the conjugations as they are pronounced in Cajun. You must understand that Cajuns do not use all of these conjugations the way French people do. We use little helpers to conjugate the verbs. You would need to get someone who can read French to help you. Daigle spells the forms using English sounds because most Cajun cannot read French. (your wife is an example) If you have any questions for which I could write an answer email me. (

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