What is Creole? Understanding Creole Culture & Lifestyle
“What Is Creole” collage by Laura Plantation
Creole is the non-Anglo-Saxon culture and lifestyle that flourished in Louisiana before it was sold to the United States in 1803 and that continued to dominate South Louisiana until the early decades of the 20th century. Until then, native birth in Louisiana, the French language and Roman Catholicism were the benchmarks for identity in this Latin-based society that included people of white, black and mixed-race ancestry.
Culturally, influences from three groups, namely, west Europeans, west Africans, along with significant input from Native Americans combined to become Louisiana Creole culture.
The Creole functioned in an elitist structure, based on family ties. In its philosophy, economics and politics, European custom and modern thought were thrown out and, in their place, a strict, self-serving pragmatism was born out of the isolation and desperation that characterized Louisiana in her formative years. The earliest, tragic lessons of survival in Louisiana created a family-oriented world that would, for centuries, put little value in public education or public works and even in the rule of law.