Black History Culture : A Creole Plantation?

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by Astrologer4U, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. Astrologer4U

    Astrologer4U Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    During my recent visit to New Orleans from 2-23-09 through 2-28-09, I drove into Vacherie Louisiana to see the "Laura Plantation" a so called Creole plantation. I always thought that Creole was a mixed race consisting of French, Indian and African but that is not what Creole is. During the tour, I asked the question, what exactly is Creole? I was told that, Creole is in fact a French Culture, that Africans and Indians in America, preferably Louisiana, gravitated towards due to colonization and slavery. Here is what I found on a google search...


    Definitions of Creole on the Web:

    a person of European descent born in the West Indies or Latin America

    a person descended from French ancestors in southern United States (especially Louisiana)

    of or relating to a language that arises from contact between two other languages and has features of both; "Creole grammars"
    of or relating to or characteristic of native-born persons of French descent in Louisiana; "Creole cooking"

    A Creole language, or simply a Creole, is a stable language that originates seemingly as a nativized pidgin.




    Black folks been going around talkin bout they Creole, I always thought that was kind of strange. From what it apparently seems, Creole basically means French speaking whites, born or living in Louisiana... Currently meaning, black or Indian living the so called Creole culture, which is impossible because the plantation seems to be made up of African Culture. Even the food that the french ate, was prepared by Africans, for which was an African style of food. I had some so called Creole Gumbo when I was in New Orleans, thats what it said on the menu. The French don't know nothing about no gumbo, besides the fact that Africans cooked it for them. The tour guide her self said that, it was the Okra brought to America by African slaves which in turn originated the makings of Gumbo.

    I also learned that the story of Brer Rabbit, brer Fox and Tar Baby, origins in America came from the Africans who lived on the Laura Plantation. Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Tar baby played a huge role in the reason for why it was decided to preserve this particular Plantation, the Laura plantation...



    "Laura Plantation was rescued from demolition, not because of its Big House but, because of its remaining slave quarters and what happened in them many years ago. In the 1870s, Alcée Fortier, a young neighbor of Laura's, visited the workers' cabins at this site and at nearby plantations. On his visits, he wrote down what he heard. Throughout his life, Fortier was known for the passion he had for his native Creole culture and for his special interest in recording folklore that he, as a child, had been exposed to on his family plantation on the River Road and in New Orleans.
    As a teenager, Fortier began to collect these stories from former slaves, just as they told them to their children, all lively accounts of Compair Lapin and Compair Bouki, the clever rabbit and the stupid fool. In 1894, Fortier, the president of the American Folklore Society and Dean of Foreign Languages of Tulane University, published his stories, entitling them "Louisiana Folktales."

    One year later, Fortier's friend and colleague in Georgia, Joel Chandler Harris, published stories that he had heard in English, tales told by former slaves (whose ancestors were from Senegal) in Georgia and the Carolinas. To great success, Harris published "Tales of Uncle Remus", including his "The Little Tar Baby." Ever since, English-speakers would know Compair Lapin as that rascal: Br'er Rabbit.

    Fortier recorded 2 main characters in his tales: Lapin & Bouki. Lapin is French for Rabbit. Bouki is a Wollof word, the language spoken in Senegal in west-Africa, and means "stupid hyena." In the 1720s, when the first slaves arrived in Louisiana, Senegal was the homeland for almost all of these captives. For the next 60 years, Senegalese slaves formed the core of the African experience in Louisiana. Then, in the 1780s, the slave trade shifted to the English colonies, again bringing slaves out of Senegal. During all these years, the Senegalese slaves, whether in Louisiana or on the East Coast, were handing down the same tales of the rabbit and hyena to their descendants.

    Today, in Senegal, Wollof-speaking children learn French in school. Third-graders there are taught from one textbook, written in 1953 by a local teacher, Leopold Senghor, who took stories children already knew in their Wollof language and translated them into French. Senghor was, for years, President of Senegal, and the stories he recorded 50 years ago about Leuk, the clever rabbit, and Bouki, the stupid hyena, are the same, almost word for word, that Fortier collected in the 1870s.

    For hundreds of years, in many countries, these same tales have been handed down, some calling the rabbit Lapin or Malice, Brother Rabbit or Br'er Rabbit or, for unknown ages before, Leuk. Recalled by young and old, rich and poor, enslaved and free, these stories are, today, among the most widely known folktales in the world. It is this shared cultural treasure that visitors re-discover at Laura Plantation."


    http://www.lauraplantation.com/fest_frame.htm



    During the tour, I saw the big metal looking, what the tour guides call Sugar Kettles used for cooking sugar cane and washing clothes. For those of you who have seen the movie MandingoThe big boiling pot Mandingo was pushed into was a sugar kettle The tour guide said the bowls/sugar kettles, came from straight from Haiti... there were at least ten of them placed amongst the plantation

    Sugar Kettle... [​IMG]


    However, the plantation was built by the west African slaves from Senegal. I thought that was interesting that the tour guide made no mention of Haitian slaves, for which I am sure there had to be some Haitian slaves here in America, since America has Haitian ruins left behind from the American slave era.


    Here you can read some history on the Laura plantation...

    http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/louisiana/lau.htm

    If you look at the above picture, due to it's colors, the plantations main house looks like a house in the Caribbean. The tour guide however, after telling the tourist that Senegal slaves built the house, that it was the slave master Laura, who told them how to build the house and what colors to use. I find that hard to believe because Laura was not a skilled architect, nor was she a skilled construction worker. The tour guide claimed that all Creole plantation houses had the same multi colors, as opposed to the traditional white plantation house. I believe that the houses were multi colored because it was Africans building the house in the image of African architecture which involves lots of colors for which the slave owners had no problem with. African people in America are known for their trend setting, due to their unique universal style. Any way, The tour guide also said that when the preservers came into preserve the Laura plantation, that in an effort to make the house look the way it looked when the Dupare family originally had it built, they had to strip it of it's white paint. After removing the white paint, they attempted to remove the multi colors they found underneath the white paint, to only run into more original multi colors. Come to find out, during the Louisiana purchase, the English took over and declared that all plantation houses be painted white.
    The Louisiana Purchase... http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/maps/lapurchase/essay1.html


    On the way up to the Plantation, I took highway 18/River Road. All one could see was a sea of black faced residents amongst a River Side community that looked poor. I caught my self thinking, why is there so many black people living close to the Laura Plantation? Could it be that these people are actually descendants of the Slaves who lived on the Laura Plantation? Sure enough when the tour guide was giving the tour, she said that plenty of the descendants of the Senegalese slaves, still live in the area... needless to say, my mouth dropped. I asked the tour guide are the descendants were aware that they are actual descendants of slaves who lived on the Laura Plantation? The tour guide answered yes, they are aware. I was like... Wow!

    The plantation had bannana trees, which needless to say, Africans brought Bananas to that plantation. Oranges, lemons, greens, sugar cane and a host of other things were still growing on the plantation.



    The great grandmother of Laura thought it would be cheaper to start breeding slaves on the Laura Plantation, so she had 3 in a half miles worth of slave cabins built on the plantation. The Cabins consisted of two rooms for which 4 slaves each lived in. Only three of the slave cabins are there today but there is an old picture in one of the slave shack/cabin, of two slaves standing along side the row, where the cabins start and you could see the 3 miles worth of slave cabins that used to exist.


    Has anyone else at Destee.com, ever toured a real life Slave plantation?


    Astrologer4U
     
  2. Astrologer4U

    Astrologer4U Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Here is the slave Registry for the Laura Plantation. It was on the wall of a hollow shack. I so happen to find it on line. Another tourist of the Laura plantation apparently took a picture of it and posted it on line. I took a picture of it as well but I have not uploaded the pictures yet. I also took a picture of the "Code of Noir" for which I will post later on.



    http://www.aagsclev.org/headtip.htm
     
  3. lilpea

    lilpea Moderator STAFF

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    Greetings Sister Astrologer4U

    Please do remember that those tour guides have learn what they know from a script and those scrips were written by whites.... All the brothers and sisters that I talked to told me that the Creole was indeed a term used to describe a mix breed of French whites and africans.... So who's to believe what? I must do some more research.

    Lilpea :1on1:
     
  4. Astrologer4U

    Astrologer4U Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Please believe Lilpea, I did ask a lot of questions and I know that for the most part, what they say is a script. However, I do believe that descendants of the slaves living on that plantation still live around the area of that plantation. Also, I looked up the definition of Creole and most of the definitions did come out to be French Culture.

    I was thinking A Creole plantation? how could that be? From what I have learned, the only blacks who had slaves, they were mulattos, not Creoles. So it made since to me to hear that creole is in fact a so called French Culture. I say so called because everything about Creole has African stamped all over it. I forget the name of the movie but I think Halle Barry played in it, I think the movie was "Queen" or "A feast of all saints" Any way, in one of those movies, it is either Quads, Creoles or Mullattos who had slaves but who ever they were, they were not full white.


    Any way, you got your Creoles,Cajuns, Mullatos and occasional so called Quadroons. There has to be a differance between them all.

    Anywho, I am mostly intrigued and concerned with the descendants of the slaves who lived on that plantation, they are still living in that area.


    Astrologer4U
     
  5. phynxofkemet

    phynxofkemet Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Wow,

    That's a really cool journey that you took sister A4U, and I really enjoyed the way you shared it with us. You took me there with you. Amazing to me that some of the descendants are still there. I mean you would think they would want to get as far away as possible, oui?

    But I guess since most of us are still hanging around one plantation or another, I best not say anything cuz there's 3 fingers pointing back at me eh?

    Anyways, great photos, and really good post!
     
  6. Astrologer4U

    Astrologer4U Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    One would think that the descendants would get far a way but when you look at the big picture, it is not like all of us went back to Africa once we were set free, you know what I mean? You stay close to what you know, what you are familiar with, particularly when there has been no other options presented to you that you can envision or afford. Most of those black people I saw livng in the vicinity of that plantation, were dirt poor.


    You said it sista...LOL


    Thanks, it was really an experience walking that plantation, ooh god it was. Made me want to cry, but then it made me want to go and talk the the descendants of the slaves who lived on that plantation.




    Astrologer4U
     
  7. Blackbird

    Blackbird Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    He who awakes.....

    First let me say Sister Astrologer, if that's a picture of you, you better be glad I'm a married man because sister I would be com'n a knockin, dat's fa sho, cher.

    I see you visited home. Alas, I mourn my humid bayous and sagging cypress trees wrapped in Spanish moss. Louisiane', my beloved. Forever in my heart as my ancestors' bones rest in it's alluvial soils.

    I've visited Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches besides the many plantations over off the North Shore. I grew up in rural Louisiana so I'm well acquainted with this so mournful of symbol of our collective past.

    Now fa Creole, in Louisiana that term has about as much variety as the different ingredients to throw in ya gumbo (will dat be blond roux or dark roux, mister.) Oh, of course, you can add a little file' and Moscato wine to complex the taste, yeh. Depending on whom ya talking to and how ya talking it, I am considered a Creole. My memere' spoke Kouri vini (Creole). She would switch between English and Creole mid sentence; say, cher, ya betta keep up. She would say "Anglais, eck" with disdain when she would tire speaking English. C'est bon, mèsi.

    I'm also what ya would call a "griffe" in Louisiana.

    Blackbird (loving you sister beautiful Astrologer - keep the African homework coming, yeh)
     
  8. Astrologer4U

    Astrologer4U Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    hehe... I can't tell a lie, that is me in the picture, haha... Thank you for the compliment.

    I have family there as well, my mothers side of the family were born and bred in New Orleans, Lousianna.

    My Grandma was born and raised in Darrow Louisianna, is that part associated with the rural parts?

    It seems true, what you say but who set the Creole trend? Everything seems to be pointing back to the French. Is it true that most Creoles speak French or some kind of Pidgin French?



    Is this the proper definition of a griffe? I am assuming that griffes can be Creoles as well...

    1. The offspring of a mulatto woman and a negro; also, a mulatto.
    2. A person of mixed negro and American Indian blood.


    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Griffe



    Also, if you have time, could you explain what the differance is between a Griffe, Creole, Cajun, Mulatto and their relationships to Creole? Hehe, so much huh? Please break it down if you can for the people viewing this thread.


    Thanks in advance...


    Astrologer4U
     
  9. Blackbird

    Blackbird Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Ça k’ap rivé mon cher' Astrologer?


    I've tried to reply a few times and failed each time. I have family still in New Orleans, mainly on the East (East New Orleans) although I have a cousin that lives on the West Bank. My grandpère's (grandfather) people are from Houma and some of my mamitte's (grandmother) folks are from Breaux Bridge and Lafayette area. Some of my mamitte's people are from up north in Bossier Parish, which is where I was raised in my formative years. I generally tell people I'm a good ol country bwoi from Bossier Parish although I lived in a few places in Louisiana, including the 17th Ward (New Orleans).

    Darrow is between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in Ascension Parish near Donaldsonville. I know, cher. Yeah, Darrow is considered rural Loosey-ana.

    [​IMG]

    African House at Melrose plantation outside of Natchitoches, Louisiana. The only surviving relic of Kongo-inspired architecture in the United States.

    Louisiana Creole is a combination of French, Spanish, and some African languages with a smack of Anglais (English). Overall, it is French based so it's safe to say that Creole is a pidginized form of Provencal French, yeh.

    This definition is a good description of griffe, although of course it's not that fixed on the ground, ya dig. A griffe is Louisiana's form of a tri-racial person and especially a tri-racial isolate. Some people call griffes Black Frenchman or it Louisiana form, Black Franchmen (said especially fast). By some accounts, I could be considered a griffe as well as a Creole. Depending on whom you're speaking to.

    In short, and I can go into greater detail, a griffe is a Black person with a significant Native descent and some European.

    The typical Louisiana mix of a griffe is Wolof/Hal-pulaar, Bambara/Mande, Ewe/Fon or Mbundu for the African part and either Choctaw, Chitimacha, Houma or Biloxi for the First Nation addition with French or Spanish.

    A Creole, in it's strictest sense, is a mixed person from a homogeneous community. Creoles are mainly descendants of African female slaves and white French or Spanish men. What happened to create them is two mulattoes would intermarry or a mulatto and a white person. Their descendants would only marry people like themselves - mixed Black/white - or only white people. This pattern would continue until you have a new class of people. Your quadroon and octoroon would fit in this case. Homer Plessy of the infamous Plessy vs Ferguson case was a typical example of a "true" Creole being only 1/8th Black and 7/8ths White. Many Creoles have cafe au lait skin color, brunet wavy hair and otherwise mainly European features. Most creoles can pass for white on a bad day.

    A mulatto is, of course, a first generation person of Black and white ancestry.

    A Cajun or "coon-*****" is just stone cold white. It's an insult to call anyone but a Cajun a Cajun. Those are fighting words for Black people. They are the descendants of French Canadians who migrated to Louisiana from Nova Scotia after the end of the French and Indian War.

    Louisiana was twice colonized by the French and once by the Spanish before the Americans purchased the territory in 1803. So Louisiana's population is a varying mix of African, Indian, French, Spanish and Irish people. On my mémé (grandmother's) side I have family names like Fernandez, De la Plata (changed to Platte) and affiliated families of Bautista, Guillory and Broussard.

    I will address the confusing descriptions or definitions of the term "Creoles" in greater detail later, as time permits.

    Blackbird

    Recipe tip: From Mami Eula Platte's kitchen: Jazz your Monday red beans and rice with shrimp stock, bay leaves and thyme for a good wholesome Louisiana flavor. Da food good, yeah. I promise you gon' like it, cher. Fa sho.....

    [​IMG]

    Blackbird
     
  10. Astrologer4U

    Astrologer4U Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Why'd ya' have ta' show that food at the end?

    Blackbird, thanks so much, you put so much information into that response. You are really informed... Let me ask you this though, why'd ya' have to show that wonderful looking dish at the end? Now I am hungry and if it ain't a Lousianna dish that I'm eating on, ain't no use in eating...LOL I sure miss going into any kind of store and being able to purchase some Crab, Crawfish, Shrimp and etc... cher


    I need the recipe to that dish.


    Love the African house in America that you posted, have you seen that house up close and personal?

    Please tell us more, anything else you can think of to share, please do.



    Astrologer4U
     
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