A Good article on Creole and Louisiana History and Culture
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All Louisianians share the same Culture regardless of color







The Louisiana / Caribbean Air



Just what is Culture in the Americas



In the United States, culture has come to serve as the dividing factor between "races" and skin color (Domínguez).

That is to say that, according to sociologists, white Americans take part in culture not shared by Asian Americans, Latin Americans or Black Americans.

In most countries and regions of the Caribbean realm, culture is shared by everyone, regardless of skin color or ancestral origins. In Haiti as well as the Dominican Republic, rice and beans, traditionally considered an "ethnic dish" in the United States, is eaten and prepared in the homes of white, mixed, black, and Arabs of both nationalities. In Aruba, Papiamentu, a Portuguese-based Creole language, is spoken by the entire island, regardless of skin color or ancestral origins.

Louisiana is no exception to this rule. Gravy and rice, red beans, boudin, gumbo, étouffée, jambalaya, all "ethnic" dishes are eaten and savored by all Louisianians practicing both Black and White French Creole or one of the French cultures of Louisiana.

In addition, the colonial (Creole) architecture of Louisiana bares striking resemblances with architecture in the Caribbean. For example, the architecture of the Vieux Carré of New Orleans, is modeled after part of the architecture of Old Havana, Havana, Cuba. The distinct raised roof, gallery-wrapped Creole plantation homes of Louisiana resemble those of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Cuba, Haiti and those painting the landscape of many Caribbean islands, though they are also heavily modeled after traditional European architecture.

It is therefore not odd, either, to find a Louisianian that carry Spanish or French features, even some with African features, carrying the family name Romero, Hernández or Rodríguez who can find their roots in Haiti and Mexico, as well as France and








The transfer of the French colony to the United States in 1803


The Louisiana Purchase Treaty 1803


(officially admitted into statehood in 1812) and the arrival of Anglo-Saxons from New England ignited an outright cultural war. Anglo-Saxons, reportedly disgusted by the cultural and linguistic climate of the newly acquired territory, the United States' first Louisiana governor,swiftly moved to thoroughly Americanize the Louisiana people in making English the official language. Outraged,

Louisiana Creoles in New Orleans allegedly paraded the streets of New Orleans renouncing the Americans' effort to transform them into Americans overnight. Realizing that he needed the local support to make any progress in Louisiana, Claiborne restored French as an official language of the newly acquired state, and in all forms of government, public forums and in the Catholic Church, French continued to be used. Most importantly, Colonial French and Creole French remained the language of the majority of the population of the state.

New Orleans remained a city divided between Latin (French and Creole) and Anglo-Saxon populations until well into the late 19th century (Hirsch & Logsdon). Among the eighteen governors of Louisiana between 1803-1865, six were Creole and were monolingual speakers of French: Jacques-Philippe Villeré, Pierre Augustin Charles Bourguignon Derbigny, Armand Julien Beauvais, Jacques Dupré de Terrebonne, André Bienvenue Roman, and Alexandre Mouton. When Americans began to arrive in Louisiana, locals began identifying themselves overtly as Creoles to distinguish themselves from the "nouveaux-arrivés" from New England and the American South.


The Diversity of the Louisiana People



Identity Issues


Since the conception of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana and the resurgence of Cajun pride in the late 1960s, Creole identity and pride has been neglected both by Creoles and non-Creoles.

For example, it is not odd to arrive in New Orleans, the historic birthplace of the Creole identity and language, and to find signs all over saying Cajun Restaurant or Cajun Music, or to hear local New Orleaneans refer to themselves as Cajun.

Similarly, it is not odd to find historic Creole families west of the Mississippi River referring to themselves as Cajuns now as well. The Cajun movement has ultimately redivided Louisiana latins into white (Cajun), white (French Creole) and non-white (Black Creole and Amerindian).

It should however be noted that "Cajun" originally refers to a different subset of Louisiana francophones. The term is a corruption of "Acadien" and therefore reflects the population of colonists resettled in Louisiana from Acadia following the Great Upheaval of 1755. Most Creoles are no longer fluent in either Louisiana Creole nor Colonial French. This has made the community vulnerable and susceptible to much scrutiny and neglect. Many locals, especially those of relatively pure French and Spanish

Creole descent, have often argued that the traditional usage excluded African lineage. The American Civil Rights Movement called for Black and Mixed Creoles to either join the rest of country in gaining inalienable rights or to continue to exist without social and political rights.

It also called for them to identify as Negro or Black, instead of the Creole identity, because Creole was mainly a culture vs. a race. An identity then and now not consciously recognized by American Blacks. The Louisiana Creole definition, defines Creole people as those who are "generally known as a people of any of the following mixes: French, Spanish, African, and Native American ancestry, most of whom reside in or have familial ties to Louisiana.

Many other ethnicities have contributed to this culture including, but not limited to: Irish, Italian, or German. Creole is now accepted as a broad cultural group of people who share French or Spanish ancestry. A definition from the earliest history in New Orleans (circa 1718) is "a child born in the colony as opposed to France or Spain. (see Criollo)" The definition became more codified after the United States took control of the city and Louisiana in 1803. The Creoles at that time included the Spanish ruling class, who ruled from the mid-1700s until the early 1800s.


The Louisiana Creole of Color







Louisiana Creole cuisine


is recognized as a unique a style of cooking originating in New Orleans, which makes use of the same Holy trinity (in this case chopped celery, bell peppers, and onions) as Cajun cuisine, but has a large variety of European, French Caribbean, African, and American influences. Gumbo is a traditional Creole dish. It was created in New Orleans by the French attempting to make bouillabaisse in the New World. The Spanish contributed onions, peppers, and tomatoes, the Africans contributed okra, in which the dish gets its name due to the popularity of the vegetable in the stew, the Indians contributed Filé, which are ground sassafras leaves, and later on the Italians blasted it with garlic.


The Louisiana Creole of Color


The Germans contributed potato salad as a side and even started the practice of eating gumbo with a scoop of potato salad in it. The Germans also dominated the french bread industry in New Orleans and brought the practice of eating gumbo with buttered french bread. The French gave the roux to the stew, and spices from the Caribbean, and over time it became less of a bouillabaisse and more of what is called gumbo. It is a stew consisting of, but can vary depending on the family: seafood gumbo( shrimp, crab, sausage, and oyster) or chicken sausage gumbo( chicken, sausage), and all contain the "Holy Trinity" and are served over rice.

It is often seasoned with filé by Cajuns and Creoles all over Louisiana. History reveals that "Gumbo" (Gombô, in Louisiana Creole, Gombo, in Louisiana French) was the word used in West and Central Africa for the okra plant. Okra is from the regions of Africa, and parts of the Middle East and Spain. The use of the word gombo was used to name the stew, due to its popularity to thicken the mixture before the roux came along. Thus, the stew was named Gumbo, because of the French accent used after first hearing africans call Okra "Gombo," as in a shortening of the word kilogombó or kigambó, and guingambó or quinbombó, in West African. Jambalaya is the second in line of fame of Louisiana Creole dishes.

It finds its origin in the original European city sector of New Orleans; the French Quarter, or vieux carré, in colonial days combining ham with sausage, rice and tomato. Today, jambalaya is prepared two ways: in New Orleans and its immediate environment, in parts of Iberia Parish as well as in parts of St. Martin Parish, jambalaya is red, and has for its base, tomato. Cajuns, generally speaking, prepare a "brown jambalaya", which is roux based with tasso. Jambalaya can combine chicken, sausage, fresh shrimp tails; or chicken and tasso.




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