Who are the Cajuns ?
About 700,000 Cajuns live in South Louisiana, originally from Acadia (a French Canadian province). The word originates in the attempted pronunciation of "Acadian" by U.S. speakers.
In 1604 -- sixteen years before the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock – families from Western France settled in Acadia, now Nova Scotia, Canada. An estimated 18,000 French-speaking Catholic inhabitants from Brittany, Saintonge, Poitou, Normandy, established a thriving, self-sufficient community. Later, the British won the colony from France in 1713, but for refusing to pledge allegiance to the British crown, which required renouncing their traditional Catholic religion for that of the Anglican Church, they were forced from their homes in 1755. This cruel and tragic event is known as Le Grand Dérangement (“The Great Upheaval”), and led families either to go to sea under dreadful conditions, (more than half lost their lives) or try their luck in other areas of Louisiana. Those who sailed away landed in Nantes, the greatest French port at the time.
This mural is seen in one of the old streets above the harbour in Nantes, it represents the Acadians preparing to depart from Nantes and sail back to America (they will eventually settle in St Martinville, La)
In 1784, the King of Spain allowed the rest of the Cajuns to settle in South Louisiana. They received a hostile greeting from the French aristocracy of New Orleans, so they headed west of the city into a waste territory. They settled along the bayous where they could live according to their own beliefs and customs.
Today, they are famous for their unique French dialect (a patois of 18th-century French), their music, their spicy cooking, and their folk customs (“joie de vivre, jambalaya, Courir du Mardi Gras, fais-do-do, boudin, andouille, etc.).
Now, let them talk !, and pay attention to the accent
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