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Cajun Culture

Cajun Culture

While the southern region of Louisiana is widely multicultural, it is predominantly composed of Cajuns and Creoles. The term “Creole” in Louisiana is used to characterize those of French and Spanish backgrounds. In south Louisiana – notably New Orleans – the initial settlers of the area were of French nobility who chose to retreat from the revolution in their homeland. These settlers brought with them their unique culture and delicious recipes. Soon after establishing residence in the New Orleans area and along the Mississippi River, the French were joined by settlers from Spain, Africa, Germany, Italy and Great Britain.

Another distinct group of settlers came to south Louisiana in the early 18th century. This group, known as the Acadians, consisted of natives of Nova Scotia who fled Canada when its governance fell under English rule. The Acadians were dispersed by the British in 1755, with one group eventually coming to south Louisiana – ultimately becoming recognized as “Cajuns,” derived from the accented version of “Acadians.”

Acadians

The Acadians were a family-oriented, religious group of people who made the most of what was given to them in south Louisiana. Since the climate and land conditions were very unlike that of Nova Scotia, the Cajuns struggled to overcome difficult obstacles. The strength of these early settlers has contributed greatly to the culture and outlook of today’s Cajuns.

Many people immediately think of food and a unique style of cooking when the names “Cajun” and “Creole” spring up. As the Creoles dined on more European-style cuisine, the Cajuns experimented with local flavors and the game available in the bayou.

The early families of Louisiana’s Acadian and Creole population today have engrained a distinct lifestyle recognized for its dedication to family and God; love of hearty, savory food; and “joie de vivre” (joy of life).

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