Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cajun story Part III

Exiled from Acadie, separated from loved ones, mistreated and enslaved, the Acadians might well have been destroyed as a culture. But they endured and survived. Hearing of Louisiana with its own French heritage, thousands of exiles began a tortuous journey through the North American wilderness. When they reached New Orleans, they again faced disappointment and despair. The French Creole nobility wanted nothing to do with these French farmers and fisherman.
Ironically, it was the Spanish, then in control of Louisiana, who provided land grants in Southwest Louisiana for the Acadians. The long, hard journey ended in the lush coastal wilderness, where they would live in isolation until reasonably modern times, clinging to their language and customs and carving, from the marshes and swamps- another Acadie. Here they reaped the bounty of the bayous, rivers and the prolific Gulf waters, the untamed marshes and the great Atchafalaya swamp.
And, in their new Acadie, there was the same family spirit among neighbors and the same zest for living- undaunted by one of the most brutal ordeals in the history of the American continent.
The name Acadian has been contracted to "Cajun", and was actually resented at one time by the descendants of the Nova Scotia exiles. Now, it is used with affection and respect, and has a bouncy ring that seems in keeping with the laughing way of life of these unique people.

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