Louisiana is one of the United States of America states whose capital is located at Baton Rouge. The state is characterized by a rich unique multilingual and multicultural heritage. It is home for many ethnic groups. The Louisiana creoles people and the French speaking Cajuns are dominant in the southern Louisiana state and have distinct cultures. Blending of these cultures has resulted to Creole lifestyle immerging that has become deep rooted cultural, social, economic lifestyle of the Louisiana until the 20th century when it was overtaken by the Anglo Americans.
Creole ancestors settled in Louisiana before 1803 when it was purchased from the Western Europe, and Senegal, they then settled in the State along the main water ways. Continuous blending of these disparate of France, Senegal and Germany led to emergence of the creed and this become a dominant social cultural and economic lifestyle till the 20th century (Carl Brasseaux, Keith Fontenot, Claude Oubre pp68-81). Acadians are the ancestors of Cajuns; the Acadians are French speaking people of Nova Scotia Canada and New Brunswick.
After the Britain won the Indian and French war, the separated families and the Acadians were settled in camps in England colonies for 10-30 years and those who escaped settled French Canada, upon being freed they scattered in Canada Mexico, France with majority seeking refugees in South Louisiana. Cajun were considered as a lower class national as their name means but it was in 1970 when they disclosed their natural resources of gas and oil when their culture music, food and lifestyle was internationally recognized in .
Creole is a term borrowed from Portuguese and Spanish by the French government. It means the native products and the colony’s people, whereas the meaning of Cajun is to subject to debate variant apathetic. The origin of Acadia is either Greek or India which means a camp set up in a good place. The Creole was an expression of colonial ghost in both the Spanish and French Regimes. The Creole then formed its own identity and they were normally referred to as the French creed.
Colonial French was a language spoken by French Creole who were of white origin; a hybrid of French- West African language is usually spoken by the black creeds. It’s the hybrid language that is mostly spoken by the people of central Louisiana currently whereas the creed French is extent. The whites that are as a result of French – Spanish mixture were called French creed and the mixed up mulatto population was called creeds of color, African creed or black creed (Carl Brasseaux, Keith Fontenot, Claude Oubre pp 40-81).
The Cajun have to date retained their unique dialect from the French language and assortment of other cultural characteristics that usually distinguish them from other ethnic group – unlike what its popularly believed by the Cajun communities, Cajuns did not solely descend from the Acadian exile but also descended from other numerous groups after intermarriage over several generations: the intermarriages with the Germans, Spanish, Native Americans, French creed and the Metis.
The French creeds who were settled in the rural areas were absorbed by the Cajun have a very pure French dialect despite the influences from the Acadians. Unlike the French creoles, the Cajuns ancestors are not French origin but of Hispanic, German, Canary Islanders and Filipino settlers as a result of intermarriages The geographical location of the Cajun has a strong relation to the lifestyle of the Cajun people. Those who settle at Atchafalaya Basin, a long the Westland’s and Bayous adapted a water based lifestyle.
This water based lifestyle included their economic life of trapping, hunting and fishing, the Cajuns who settled southwest Louisiana prairies adapted a land-based lifestyle, that included farming sugar cane and rice, cattle rearing among other agricultural practices. Many creoles and Cajuns migrated and settled part Arthur and Beaumont seeking oil related jobs since oil drilling become a major economic activity in the 19970 – 1980. The Cajun music originated from French speaking people that were Catholics of Canada.
Fiddle was the most dominant instrument in the earlier years but with time, the Acadian has also become popular, Jazz is a popular music of the Blade Creole that has been popularized in the 20th century. Both the Cajuns and the Creole sing the zydeco music, but initially it was only sang in the Cajun French, but the blade creoles added some linguistic elements to the zydeco music. Nowadays, the zydeco music is sung in Cajun French or English and a few done in black Creole.
The zydeco is closely related to American blues, Cajun music jazz and the swamp music and the most common zydeco music instrument is the frottoir just like the Catholic Church but nowadays they have joined other religious sects. The culture of these two ethnic groups was deep rooted in their community catholic and cuisine, they observed many catholic practices like the lent, holy week and the merdi gras (fat Tuesday). The Creole identity has been ignored since late 1960 by both the non creoles and creoles themselves after the emergence of the Cajun pride and the Louisiana French development council conception.
Since then you can travel to New Orleans, the original birth place of creoles languages and identity of the west of Mississippi river where creoles families reside and find them referring themselves as Cajuns. Cajuns movements have divided Louisiana into Cajun French Creole and black Creole, but it’s however noted that Cajun initially referred to a separate subset of the Louisiana francophone. The colonial French and the Louisiana French are no longer fluently spoken by most creoles and this had catalyzed the neglecting of the Creole people. The creoles identify is a race versus culture but not recognized nowadays.
The creoles of Louisiana are recognized people having the following mixes, Spanish, French, Africans and American ancestry and Creole is accepted as a big culture group that share Spanish and French ancestry (Ira Berlin PP 290-325). The cuisine is a unique cooking style that originated from new Orleans and adapted by both the creoles and the Cajun but its greatly influenced by the Americans, French Caribbean and the African Gumbo is traditionally a Creole dish which is of the features of the cuisine, other features of the cuisine include the jambalaya all these dishes are commonly prepared by both the creoles and the Cajuns.
Despite efforts to have one national language in Louisiana, the francophone Louisianans have pressured the need to maintain their language. This led to the Cajun movement that pioneered the establishment of the council for development for the French in Louisiana. This council initially was advocating for the use of standard French in Louisiana but the pressure and protests by the Creole community and the Cajun community has forced the adoption of all varieties of French that includes the creoles and the Cajuns in Louisiana.
This has had good fruits since it seen as a way of incorporating Francophone Louisiana with the other francophone world. Although the Cajuns were discriminated in the earlier times, the French Revival Movement has convinced the Cajuns to be proud of them selves, further more, the Cajun French is being taught in the public schools. Due to social factors that have led to the creoles French loosing their identity, the Cajun French has become more politically powerful than the Creole French currently. The Cajun French are becoming more dominant as the Creole French become extinct.
Currently it’s only the black Creole who identifies themselves as the Creole people and there are very few Creole speaking people below the age of six years. As the Louisiana Creole are languishing, three movements, the Un Cajun Committee, the southern heritage supporting creoles and the C. R. E. O. L. E INC. these movement have accused the French movement with the intention of making the Creole extinct and there the few Creole have identified themselves with a unique culture meant to be preserved.
Initially it’s the French Cajuns who were marginalized but today it’s the opposite as it’s the French Creole who are faced with the problem of racial and linguistic marginalization. REFERENCES Ira Berlin (2000) Many Thousands Gone, Harvard University Press, Harvard Carl Brasseaux, Keith Fontenot, Claude Oubre (1996) Creoles of color in the Bayou Country, University of Mississippi press, Mississippi Shane K. Bernard (2003) the Cajuns, University of Mississippi press, Mississippi