1945-1954 This is the longest period of time I’ve ever stayed in one place. After the war was over, my father returned to Louisiana. He’s a cajun short for acadian. boogalee is what creoles call us. for those that don’t know creoles are on the east side of canal st in NO cajuns on the west. Coonass is a pejorative to some, a badge of honor to others. Supposedly derived from connasse a french word roughly meaning “unclean hooker” Just so you’ll have something to listen to here’s the cajun national anthem Joele blanc
Just listening to this brings to mind the two step. Texans come over frequently, there is a texas two step which is 1,2,3 the cajun two step is 1,2. They stumble all over themselves. Most people think of texans as loud mouth braggards, cajuns think of them as polite quiet guys. There is also what is known as “swamp pop” Here’s a sample. Never can tell
While I’m talking about music I might as well mention zydeco. Practiced by creoles in SW Louisiana and SE Texas. Creole means mixed blood. These are called Sabines by the locals. (I need to update wikipedia, they’re incomplete) That squeeze box he’s using is hand made. It’s not an accordion. These people are descendants of the free blacks sent to Louisiana by the French. They never were slaves. For some reason there are cajun towns and sabine towns. Don’t understand why. They get along sabines never were slaves and cajuns never owned slaves. They mingle socially, but never intermarry. Dunno. Here’s a dance off Louisiana two step to swamp pop. (bet you didn’t know this song was swamp pop) It looks like the Evangeline Club in Ville Platte. I can’t see enough of it to know. These places all look the same. That’s channel 6 out of Lake Charles, La. WOW! found a picture of the Evangeline club. I can’t believe it. Bet you wonder what a 14 year kid’s doing in a juke joint. Beer was not classed as alcohoholic beverage in Louisiana. As long as they didn’t give me liquor all is cool. I lived on a farm so I didn’t need a drivers liscense. And I had a studillac. So we be jammin. Besides, I was big, and strong I worked on a farm. I could have passed for 18 but I don’t like whiskey anyway. Looking at the video of the dance off, I realize that’s the dance style I used as long as I was dancing. I see now where texans got confused, instead of the extra step, they do that foot twist instead, kinda like a texas boot scoot. As you drive east across Louisiana, if you drop off the freeway you’ll think you are passing through different countries. From the creoles of New Orleans, gonna go sideways here. The creoles of New Orleans they have what they call quadroons. 1 part white to 4 parts black is supposed to make the prettiest women. Ray Nagin is a quatroon as is Whitney Houston. Notice the skin tone, not really black, more bronze. They may be right. Shame she fucked up her life with drugs, she had a god given gift and she pissed it away.
Back on I 10 drop off at Pointe Coupee and take US 90. I got a speeding ticket here and called the judge an asshole. Got three days for contempt of court. After 3 days he asked “still think I’m an asshole” I told him he was confusing cause and effect. “are you trying to parlay this into a capital offense? get out of here.” South Louisiana is all about food, music and fun.
And no post on cajuns would be complete with out a mention of Big Mamou. The imposing edifice is Fred’s in Mamou. It gets so packed on weekends that the waitresses can’t get to the bar. So they just pick them up and hand them over the bar. Quiet impressive feat considering they are carrying pitchers of beer.
And where did they come from? Ever hear of Aquitania. probably not. It was in the southern part of France. The French killed them all. The survivors of the genocide fled to Nova Scotia which was called Acadia at the time. The english conquered acadia and expelled the acadians, in what they call le grand derangement. The sent the women to Virginia, the men to North Carolina and the children to South Carolina. This is chronicled in the Longfellow poem Evangeline. The picture on the left is the tree where they were reunited, St Martinsville, La. Found here Marys Where two lovers met under the evangeline tree many years later. They settled in Louisiana, west of Canal St remember. Plantations face the bayous, by the way, there were no roads. Then here come the civil war. Cajuns didn’t have any dog in this fight, just got there. None the less the victorious yankees revoked all the land grants, and forced the cajuns into the swamps. this is known as le petite derangement. By law there could be no more than ten families in a town. This created severe in-breeding problems resulting in “lazy baby” (Tey Sachs) periodically they’d have a fa de deux (by the two’s) becuase the singles came by the one’s and left by the two’s. (married) They may not even know each other. In my family three Gremillion sons married three Lemoine Sisters. This was to “shake up the gene pool” although they didn’t know that then. Here’s one from the movie “Southern Comfort” Some of these people didn’t come back to civilization but remained in these “swamp towns”.
As you can imagine they don’t like the “Anglias” (english) essentially everyone but a cajun. This is my heritige. A place called Plaucheville, a swamp town. There is a special on History Channel called Swamp People if you’re curious. When I am outside of this culture I feel like I’m outside my country. I was asked once why the south seemed to have the bulk of military facilities. I replied “an army of occupation” My connectedness to America is left mind, my connectedness to Acadia is right mind. Rational vs emotional. I still am leery of the “anglais” particularly the government. Governments are capable of great evil.
But you can’t go home, it’s not there anymore. Like cancer, the malling of America has even spread overseas. It used to be different, I don’t mean progress, but when you went to africa it was different than america. now you go to Nairobi check into the ramada inn, eat bacon and eggs for breakfast and watch HBO on the TV, you might go to starbucks for a latte. You could be in the states. What you don’t see is the indiginous people who were displaced by The New World Order who are now starving. But that’s OK I guess, as long as you’ve got your sixpack for the superbowl. The magic is gone the wonder is no more. This shit is gonna bite us in the ass. I can see it coming.
Just to finish this off, for grins and chuckles I went to Google maps. Damn house is still standing. In the picture on the left is Me, my mom, and my sister. Middle child of three children. Mickeys bedroom is just past my right shoulder. On the right is the house off of google maps. click to enlarge.
Damn, I miss these people.