CREOLE CULTURE FOR DUMMY'S
A HIDDEN CULTURE
Written by: Louis H. Metoyer
........Bayou Talk News
and Compiled by: Brother Michael
WE ARE SO HIDDEN, WE (West of the Mississippi) DO
NOT KNOW or forgot WHO WE ARE AND WHO WE ARE NOT!
There is very little one can do About those Creoles who are DENYING their
true cultural heritage, "They are in need of a cultural education".
Creoles who recognize their "Cultural Heritage" are proud individuals
with dignity and pride. They support the diversity of the Creole culture
and bask in the glow of their true identity.We are ONE ETHNIC CULTURE
with various diverse ethnic inheritances that have enriched our culture
OVER 10 GENERATIONS. All Creoles of today are educators of our culture.
have the awareness through our parents and those that have traveled the
road before us, who have have given us their knowledge of our heritage
and the desire to be Creoles in our everyday lifestyles. With this
knowledge, we hold in our hearts the ability to live our culture
in our daily lives in this fast moving world. I dedicate this study to
my Creole family. Amen. My hopes and dreams are that our next generation
of Creoles does come into its own by recognizing it's true cultural
heritage and Rewriting the history book around the world. The next
generation needs it's Creole cultural heritage and the "Creole Culture"
needs the next generation to survive as a seperate ethnic race.
people called Creole. A native race of our Country.
is a modern day graphic design which helps to clarify the original makeup
America. The Louisiana colonization period shows the existance of
basic ethnic groups prior to the Civil War in American history. From their
diverse unions a cultural heritage of "Creole" peoples was born in America
and called "Creole-Americans. In the post-Civil War period, to the present
day period there
known as CREOLE-AMERICANS
in Los Angeles, California and the
I recognized that our Creole Culture has been grossly misunderstood over
the years. It has been misunderstood by Creoles and non-Creoles alike,
adding to the myth and mystery of our Creole People and it's cultural heritage.
I have experianced both worlds. The world of complete understanding of
your classmates, and friends in the work force.
some of the mystery of who a Creole Person IS, and how our culture has
remained intact for over 10 generations.
are both BLACK and FRENCH in heritage, and as the years went on to other
ethnic groups that came into the
and having children out of wedlock. A period of history that no one wants
to admit happened, yet stil exists today crippling our Creole Culture.
along with the desire to be honest and open to who we as Creoles were
in the past and where we are going in the future. In addition to will
our culture to die if we dont wake up from the past and make plans for
We need even more today than ever, a strong a clearly
identified definition of who and what a Creole is for our young people
of today. They only seem to relate to what is printed in the dictionary,
and I am sad to say, Webster was NOT a
he is not capable of telling us and the billions of others who refer to
his dictionary who or what a Creole IS.
Is being a White Creole unheard of today? Is Multi-cultural, a term
in the twentieth century, a way to go? How far off is Creole American,
or is it right on as to WHO WE ARE? History shows us that words
get tacked on to ethnic groups and all to often they reflect a negative
connotation of what and who that is. So for "Creoles" who have gone the
full circle of being identified as being a forgotten people who
came from no place to being all black with only an African background as
their dominant historical trait. This to me is:
DENYING THE TOTAL PERSON AND OUR FRENCH BLOODLINE
Our heritage is one of the most complex
bloodlines to identify in American history. There are books which identify
names and trace family trees back for generations, but do not tell if an
individule was 100 % Creole. What is 100% or as close to 100% as possible?
Most hospital records in the past have
been destroyed. Birth certificates of my parents and my grandparents
that we can find have the letter "C"printed
in the space marked race. Did the "C"
mean colored with the connotation of colored being Afro-American.
What we do know is the letter "C"
as an abbreviation for colored was a convenient term for the people who
were filling out the birth certificates to suit their need to keep the
forgotten people forgotten. They also passed laws to backup and cover
up their lack of documentation.
US EXPLORE THE TERM OR POSSIBILITY OF HAVING A "BLACK BLOODLINE"
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (90% of the Creole
people are Catholic) and other churches were commissioned by the President
and Congress in the 1800's to record the births and deaths pf their parishes
to keep records straight. But, one must realize that in the south, the
Catholic Church and others were prejudiced with a racial attitude to
keep everyone in his or her own place, adding to the mentality of there
only being a black and white world. The recording of such information was
done in the French language and was handwritten prior to the Civil War
in 1861. Most slaves and other free people of color were forgotten and
misplaced in the confusion of the times.
According to our history books, black slaves came to Louisiana
in several ways. Some of them by their own free will, by former wealthy
landowners relocating their households and farm workers. The most focused
on is the taking of African people against their free will and turning
them into slaves and shipping them to Louisiana in large numbers.
The children born from African woman were considered as BLACK,
no matter who and what race the father was. When I explored the Louisiana
laws prior to the Civil War, I discovered that Chapter III, Section II
of "The Acknowledgement of Illegitimate Children, Article 220 and states
"Illegimate children who have been acknowledged
by their father, are called
whose fathers is unknown, are contra-distingushed by the appellation of
ARTICLE 221.--- "The acknowledgement of an illegimate
child shall be made by a declaration exeucted before a notary public, in
presence of two witnesses, when ever it shall not have been made in the
regestering of the birth or the or baptism of such child." "No other proof
of acknowledgement shall be admitted in favor of children of color."
connotation it has.
public are needed to claim acknowledgement of an illegitmate child, with
an added clause, "No other proof of acknowledgement shall be admitted in
favor of children of color."
There are twelve such articles in this section that have such
wording to project negativeness and oppression. It is obvious that the
articles were writen in such a style, to hide what was known in the 1800's
as a social embarrassment to city society.
May I bring to your attention here, that ALL CREOLES ARE
NOT from so-called illegimate children or non-married unions, in fact
it's the opposit. However more attention in the books printed prior to
the 1990's focus on this issue, thus forcing Creoles to continue to hide
in fear of social enbarrassment.
IN ARTICLE 226.--- it explanes how a free illegitimate child
of color may prove their descent from a father of color only. Followed
by ARTICLE 227--- in support of ARTICLE 226. Giving further ways for illegitmate
children to be recognized by their paternal parents.
After the Civil War in 1861 to 1865 the laws were revised in
the revised statute laws of the state of Louisiana from the organization
of the terrritory to the year 1869 inclusive, printed in 1870.
The book section on births and deaths bestowed the responsibility
to record such records to the PARISH CHURCHES. In section 338 and
341 on births states:
all the PARISH recorders of this State to RECORD ALL BIRTHS IN A BOOK bound
and kept for that purpose, in the order of their dates."
SECTION. 341--- "The said records shall contain the day, hour
and place of birth, the sex of the child, the first name or names of the
The present day Louisiana
Law writen in 1970, ACT No. 46, House Bill No. 211 was carefully writen
the focus on color clarification, but it's primary purpose was to clarify
A WHITE PERSON IS"... It reads as follows:
House Bill No. 211 - By Messrs. Bickford and
Cefalu and Senators Mouton and Stweart. AN ACT
"Negro" "Griffe" "Afro-American" "quadroon" "Mestizo" "colored person and
"person of color" when such terms are used to signify the race of a person
by ANY public official in the State of Louisiana; Be it enacted
by the Legslature of Louisiana;
SECTION 1. In signifying race, a person
one thirty second or less of Negro Blood shall not be deemed,
described or designated by any public official in the State of Louisiana
as "colored", a "mulato, "a black", "a negro", "a griffe", "an Afro-American",
"a quadroon," "a mesitzo", "a colored person" or a "person of color."
are hereby repealed.
..............Approved by the Gov: June
WADE O. MARTIN, JR.
Secretary of the Great State of Louisiana.
Long before the Civil War at the time
when Louisiana was undergoing colonization, there was a strong sence
of of family bonding of "Creoles" with the strength and courage of
belonging together. In addition to the formulation of the colony of "Creole",
people of the land were also forming a civilization of Free People
Taking their knowledge and skills and binding them together to form a Culture.
It was these skills, arts ect. of a given people, in a given period of
time, growing in number and wisdom and having a mutual bonding desire to
be a family that form into Creoles. The word "Creole" is an adjective
which is said to have come from the Spaniards meaning home grown"
or NOT IMPORTED. Most often used first to describe vegetables which were
home grown. The word became quite popular with early Creole settlers as
they used the word to refer to home grown plants, flowers and annuals,
an indefinable term of their own worth. It was the colonial formation of
the Louisiana land that the word "Creole was given to the people BORN
FROM THE LAND IN AMERICA with mixed ancestry. Perhaps at that time
the proper term for our people should have been Colonial Creoles
for they were the first to start the new cultural heritage.
SPITE OF BEING FORCED TO BE CONDITIONED BY A SOCIETY WITH PREJUDICE,
REMAINED IN TACT WITH STRONG FAMILY TIES TO THEIR FRENCH FOREBARERS
retained thier French dominate characteristics and physicial traits.
us explore the physicial qualities of MOST Creole in America.
A person who can trace his family bloodline
to a Direct descendent of French settlers who settled in Louisiana
during the colonial period of French and American History.
Fair to tan skin pigmentation. Naturally
straight to wavy hair, a synthetic look, without the use of synthetic products.
Light brown or hazel eyes within the family genealolgical lines. High
cheek bones, predominantly French with some ancestral traits of other
A person who can trace his family bloodline
to a direct descendent of the Africans who setteled in Louisiana
during the colonial period of African-American history.
Dark eyes. Has predominantly African ancestral
To assume all light skin blacks are
Creole or that all Creoles are black is just a myth. While the first
recorded Creoles in America had a mixture of ethnically French and African
A person that can trace his family bloodline
Italian and Indian decendent of the
colonial Creole period prior to the American Civil War period in American
Most white Creoles have very fair skin
pigmintation. Natuarlly blond hair, hazel eyes, (some have blue eyes) and
dark brown eyes. In today's world White Creoles exist in a White/Creole
A person that can trace his family bloodline
to a Creole decendant of the Colonial Creole period, and the American Indian
in American history. Most Indian Creole have similer physical traites
to the French Creole with very little distinction.
Spaniard Creoles are for the most part
NON-EXISTENT today, due to the strong French , Indian, and Afro/American
and White influence of the Creole community.
Over the years more predominantly
French traits have dominated the geneaology of the Creole cultural heritage
or ( or Creole person ). This leads us to say that more French Creole's
married other French Creoles thus making the French bloodline a stronger
one. As stated in the book of "Ediquette", which society looks upon
for it's code od ethics, the traits of the male are considered as dominant
in the Male/Female union. Many of the French and Louisiana laws prior to
the Civil War were based on this principal. If in the union of the French
male and a female of another race, the dominant bloodline of the female
would not be of the females
Creoles are Brothers and Sisters to eachother.
It makes no difference if your
family was French Creole in the early years and is now black Creole or
your family began as Afro-American and later married French Creole or white
Creoles, the main point is that you are a part of the Creole Cultural heritage
originating from the main line of Colonial Creloes that came from Louisiana
It's a proud Creole Race of people.
Creoles are among a rich
cultural heritage of people, nomatter what label or how they classify themselves;
French Creole, Afo-American Creole, White Creole or Indian-American Creole.
are a part od the fabric of our Creole heritage. AMERICA and the
WORLD needs to wake up and except us as a seperate ethnic race.
WE ARE NOT AFRICAN AMERICAN'S but some of us are Afro-American CREOLE
Born from the Louisiana soil, mixed with a vibrant American tradition
fo the love of OUR LAND and each other. A very cultural people.
In speaking with Creoles
in our community, it was taught to them by their parents who they are and
who their ancestors were. Their parents had the desire to want to know
about their history, culture and ethnic heritage.
PARENTS WERE GLOBAL CITIZENS.
As Creole Americans from different
parts of the United States, they gave thier children a sense of direction
in their lives. With this foundation, young Creloes would dream of their
future. They had a direct commitment to family life and family love.
Even with the struggles of the 60's when racial tentions were high,
Creoles survived and continued to move forward realizing that without
struggle, there would be no progress.
A large percentage of Creole
children are listed in
Catholic Schools across America. Ypoung Creole
man and women are attending colleges and universities as their parents
have. Carying on a tradition of theor higher education being the key to
success. We are a success oriented people, who have the ability and foundation
to survive and profit in the world.
You probibly have read in
the "Bayou Talk" newspaper over the past few years, a large number of Creoles
are successful in the professional work force. Enterpreneurs and corporate
executives alike are enjoying the fruits of their education.
There is a large group of
Creoles across America who have entered the political arena. California
Assemblyman Curtis R. Tucker Jr, Los Angeles Councilman Robert Farrell
amd New Orleans Mayer Sidney J. Barthelmy.
We are not without hierarchy
in the Roman Catholic Church Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, San
Pedro Regional Biship Carl A. Fisher, S.S.J. His Most Reverend Biship Joseph
Frances, S.V.D. of New Jersey. Higher educators: Father Joseph Donald Simon,
S.V.D, a seminary principal. George McKenna , Director of the Inglewood
Unified School District, Doctor Norman Frances, Director of Xavier University,
New Orleans, Louisiana.
carried the Creole Zydeco musicial heritage to new heights with
Grammy Award Winner "Queen Ida" and her brother "Al Rapone"
, Emmy nominated
"T. Lou", "Joseph L. Eaglin", "Wilfred
LaTour" French accordian player who was awarded by the French Music
NUMBER OF CREOLES
Is noted in the book
and Marie Thereze Coincoin, married people of other French families which
introduced into the colony a particular French or French Indian origin
rather than just French-African origins. As the colony grew, more French
married French, moving away from the African origin. It wasn't until
the 1900's that French Creoles out of the Cane River colony began to marry
Afro-Americans predomininantly in the New Orleans area or out of the State
of Louisiana. To this date, French Creoles are predominantly on the Cane
River area, Nachitoches, Cloutieville Camptiinside Louisiana. California
has an equally large number of French Creoles with an equal number of Afro-American
Creoles. It's said to be the largest constituency of Creoles outside
As I spoke with the Creoles
in today's society, they have two mixed views on the future of the Creole
"Creole-to Creole" Marriages are fewer in our society.
There are more mixed ethnic marriages with spouses of French Creole or
Black Creole origin marrying other ethnics of what is considered full,
White, Afro-American, Spanish, or others. These marriages will produce
children of mixed Creole origin.
The most crippling source
to the TRUE Creole heritage are teenagers and single women and men
producing offsprings from a non-married union of mixed ethnic origin.
National ststistics from the late 1980's showed this mixed ethnic origin
is high among all social ethnic groups. We Creoles do not face this social
burden alone. We can trace our roots BUT are WE going to be able to
trace our roots in the next century?. It is TIME to WAKE UP!
NOT AFRICAN AMERICAN
Education is one of the
on going processes that can cause a long term effect in saving our cultural
heritage. As parents, we bear the responsibility to be educated in our
own culture, and to pass along our knowledge to the future generations
of Creoles. Creole parents that are near the age of 40 are about to become
grandparents to the future Creoles of America.
MUST NOT STAND ON THE SIDELINE AND BE A PART OF OUR CULTURAL
FADING INTO THE MELTING POT OF "AMERICA"
AND GOD BLESS US ALL.
OUT OF MANY- ONE