Saturday, June 8, 2013

C'est Bon! History really is fun!

They emigrated from the tip of Nova Scotia, Louisbourg, to the depths of Louisiana, New Orleans, all French territory in approximately 1763 as part of a British treaty following the French and Indian War to allow these colonists free passage. They called  themselves Acadians (which when spoken quickly became "Cajun") from the Greek district Arcadia, meaning "place of refuge." They were lead by Joseph Broussard to New Orleans and settled throughout the French territory that eventually became the Louisiana Purchase, which we in turn got for a mere $15,000,000 -- the price of small office building today. Anyhow, to travel to this area, particularly where we are in Lafayette, which is not only rich in culture but powerfully proud of its heritage, they show it off in music, food, and language. We are jumping in flat-footed as they say, and as we move about to eat and explore we listen to a polyglot of English/French with a nuanced twist of accent. When we were in Texas we found ourselves almost subconsciously "talkin' hick." Here, we are drawing down for that once learned French vocabulary. Everywhere we go we see signs that read: "Nous parlons Francais." It's wicked sneaky! You hear them speaking a mile a minute. It sounds like English. It is English, but it isn't. Mix that in with a southern drawl to boot and your face begins to screw up into a big question mark.

America is the melting pot, right? So mix these Acadians with the Creoles which are those peoples of all races both French and Spanish, including those of the once French-controlled Haiti, and Native American, African, Cuban, Brazilian, German, and whatever, and you get a change in definition from French Acadian: European ancestry to Louisiana Creole: mixed ancestry. What this all boils down to is that we don't have to look into the sky to find aliens. They are here and living prosperously, whipping up some damn fine food, playing the blues Cajun Style -- which became Zydeco, a blend of Cajun music and rhythm & blues (don't think that a people forced to relocate from their homes approximately 1800 miles south can't sing the blues?!). Where does the word "zydeco" come from? Well, one theory is that derives from the French phrase, "Les haricots ne sont pas sales," which when spoken in Lousiana Creole French sounds like, "leh-zy-dee-co sohn pay salay." This literally translates as "the snap beans aren't salty," but idiomatically as, "I have no spicy news for you."

I'll bet by this point you are beginning to see something happening here, n'est-ce pas?  The French singing the blues, mixing it up with all the tribes mentioned above and et voila! The egg is fertilized!! 

1 comment:

  1. I must go there! My French might pass! AND your descriptive narrative calls me. GREAT POST!