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The Cajun World in Louisiana

The State of Louisiana has had French roots since its partial colonizing by French settlers in the late 18th century.  Even the name Louisiana and its capital Baton Rouge, are French names.  The Cajun people are an ethnic group, mainly Louisiana residents, and are descendents of 17th century French colonists.  They continue to have a large impact on the culture of Louisiana.

Beginnings

Tracing their roots back to the French and Indian War, the Cajun people have made a niche for themselves in Louisiana.  They have their own dialect, called Cajun French.   The Cajun people were otherwise known as Acadians, with their own territory in present day Canada.  Scattered over the eastern seaboard as they were forced to flee during the Revolutionary/French and Indian War, many of them settled in what is present day southeastern Lousiana.  There is also the Creole, who combined with the Cajuns to form one region in Louisiana; the Creole are not Acadians.  Together, these two people formed a unique culture of their own.

Cajun Culture

Cajun culture resounds strongly in their music and food. The fiddle and accordion play a strong role in Cajun music; this is not the same as the jazz and blues that New Orleans is often associated with. Cajun dishes tend to be spicy and hearty, using the local flavors and meat they had available to them.  This includes rabbit, okra, and rice; common in the region.  Hating to waste food, a common Cajun dish is boudin, a type of sausage served with leftover hog parts and rice. The majority of Cajuns is Roman Catholic and incorporate this into their traditions.  For example, they celebrate Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday with a religious context that is somewhat different from the party atmosphere of New Orleans during this time.  Easter and other type festivals are commonly celebrated as well.

Cajuns have had a remarkable impact on Louisiana’s economy and culture.  Today, there are over 430,000 Cajuns in Louisiana. 

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