View Full Version : Modern Cajun views on North vs. South

04-22-2005, 07:21 PM
If anyone out there is from Louisiana and familiar with the Cajun way of thinking... In my story, a group of Cajuns meet the two protagonists--one of whom is Texan, the other from California. Would a typical Cajun be biased toward or against either one because of their place of origin (particularly as relates to the Civil War, but if there are other prejudices please educate me)?



04-22-2005, 07:41 PM
:Wha: Interesting question. I would like to hear that info. It's something I would never have thought about. :Jump:

04-26-2005, 12:17 AM

I've PM'd you. Thank you so much for the information!


04-26-2005, 01:19 AM
Cher, mai oui but my view of Cajuns (better known in Louisiana as Coonies) are yours are so different. MOST Cajuns admit without doubt that they are of mixed blood. The original Acadians - ancestors of todays Cajuns - came from Canada in the late 1700's when they were driven out by the British - an event which still leaves a bad taste in Cajun mouths.

Many Cajuns in the real world do intermarry with non-Cajun and non-French. Marriages between Cajuns and Hispanics seem to do well but so do some with "Whites". My in-laws are both Louisiana natives and I had a very dear friend, much older, who was full blood Coonie - her word, not mine. Odile taught me to cook Coonie and about the realities of Cajun life. And I spend a lot of time in Louisiana.

Too many people want to make the Cajuns into some kind of "cute" old-fashioned race like they do hillbillies in the Ozarks and Amish in Pennsylvania. The reality is in the 21st century, more Cajuns are just folks not unlike their neighbors.

They do have fais do do (dance parties), different music, and killer food but these things are changing as with all ethnic groups. The younger people would rather a night out in Alec (Alexandria) or Llafayette with a burger at McDonald's than Mama's chicken maque shoux (a chicken and rice dish).

Even Odile - who was born speaking French and married an "American" in the 1940's - was nonplussed to meet people from around the country. She might think a Californian was weirder than a Texan but not any more than most non-Californians would.

As for Texans, cher, don't you know that Texas and Louisiana share a border? Texas is just over the line and sounds like your perception of Texans is based on ten-gallon hats, six shooters, and oil money. East Texas is a lot more like Louisiana with a definite French/Spanish influence so a Cajun isn't going to phased by someone from Texas. They probably have friends and family who live there. And, hell, a lot of Cajuns live in Texas too.

One of Odile's sons married an American woman and lived in Port Arthur and Orange Texas, working in shipyards.

Lil' Abner is long gone from Arkansas and so is Marie Laveau.

Julie Worth
04-26-2005, 01:22 AM
If anyone out there is from Louisiana and familiar with the Cajun way of thinking... In my story, a group of Cajuns meet the two protagonists--one of whom is Texan, the other from California. Would a typical Cajun be biased toward or against either one because of their place of origin (particularly as relates to the Civil War, but if there are other prejudices please educate me)?

I’ve no idea what the Civil War has to do with this, but many Cajuns live in Texas—there’s no requirement to live in Louisiana, as far as I know. And I doubt there would be a bias in either case—if you’re thinking of the kind of bias you might run into for northerners in other parts of the south. And even there, it's not what it used to be.

If you want to experience the culture, you ought to do the Mardi Gras run in one of the small Cajun towns, like Eunice or Mamou.

04-26-2005, 02:20 AM
The reason I asked the question is because I don't know anything at all about the Cajun community.

I'm a midwesterner--born and raised in St. Lous, Missouri. And though there are racial tensions in that city, people don't hearken back to the Civil War much. However, I went to Virginia for a 10-week internship at NASA Langley and was asked by my fellow engineers (in all seriousness) what side of the Mason-Dixon Line I was from. I had to dig back into the recesses of my memory for my fourth grade lessons on Civil War history to remember--vaguely--where the Mason-Dixon Line was in Missouri. (And, actually, I don't have any ancestors that fought in that war, that I know of. My dad's family are honest-to-goodness Arkansas hillbillies and my mom's immigrated from Europe after the end of that war.)

My impressions of Texas are based on the small amounts of time I've spent in the Houston and Dallas areas, and on some friends of mine who are from Texas.


04-26-2005, 02:59 AM
I'm Missouri born and bred myself.

One thing I wanted to mention too - in New Orleans, there are Creoles - which in general are people of pure French-Spanish blood lines which is a far different thing from Cajuns.

I travel to Louisiana and throughout the South often and most of my family - those who were not immigrants - come from a Southern heritage. Maybe it's because of that fact - the heritage - but I "pass" most of the time. People think I'm from The South but I've always spoken with somewhat of a Southern accent.

For the most part, I don't see the same kind of racial tensions in the South that I do in Missouri. And although the Civil War is remembered, it's not with any more emphasis than other wars in other places - say the Revolutionary war in New England.

There are so many seperate parts of the South as a whole, each with its' unique experience and background that it's not really fair to judge the region as a whole.

The old folks who are Cajuns grew up speaking French. Most of their children speak a little but not much, the grandchildren hardly any at all, a few words, no more.

04-26-2005, 03:01 AM
One more thought - the Civil War touched St. Louis very little but in other parts of the state, it hit home much harder.

And funny, though I am a Missouri native, I think of myself (and always have as Southern) but then most Missourians notice a difference in perception between St. Louis and the rest of the state.

04-26-2005, 03:57 AM
Finally, it sounds politically incorrect, but Cajuns NEVER refer to themselves as Cajun. They are Coonass, pure and simple.

Hmmm. The Cajuns I've known - some VERY well, like family - say "Coonie" and consider "coonass" to be an insult on a par with the "N" word for blacks.

04-26-2005, 09:25 AM
The only help I can give would be to direct you to a website. I follow college sports especially from the Southland conference which consists of Texas and Louisiana schools. Anyways, the website geauxcowboys.com (http://geauxcowboys.com) is a fan website for McNeese St University. Their forum is mainly about sports, but they do have a non-sports section in which a lot of cajuns would love to tell you their opinions. Hopefully that helps.

04-26-2005, 03:37 PM
Perhaps the best advice I can offer to any writer is the tried and true "Write What You Know". If a writer is not familiar with a region, an ethnic group, or a way of life - be it Cajun or Filipino or New York city - it's going to show in the finished result because sooner or later, someone (very likely the editor) is going to read it and know better from experience.

Stereotyping anyone or having a belief that any ethnic group is living like it's 1900 is never realistic or a good thing!

05-01-2005, 03:23 AM
Having been born in Cameron Parish, I guess I can chime in here. I split my time growing up in Cameron Parish and Orange and Jefferson Counties (just across the Sabine River). Anyway, a lot of the Texans in that area sort of look down on the Cajuns from across the river, though Cajuns probably make up the majority of the population in Orange and Jefferson Counties too. I consider Port Arthur, Texas to be my hometown since that is where I went to school and all.

Now a person from Deep East Texas or Southern Louisiana would probably look at a person from California with a certain amount of distrust, but they would to any outsider. Some Cajuns, for example, will tell you that a Yankee is anyone who lives north of Alexandria, Louisiana. Some East Texans will say a Yankee is anyone who lives North of Huntsville, Texas.

But the distinct regional flavor is starting to erode. And, I might add, New Orleans does NOT represent Louisiana as a whole. The rural Southern Louisiana communities are more like rural communities in Texas or Alabama than they are New Orleans.

(in the interest of full disclosure, I HATE New Orleans)

Brady H.

05-02-2005, 02:03 AM
I can tell you, having lived in Houston for five years now (yes, I know I'm not a native Texan, but I play with them regularly), that most of the people around here are disgustingly un-regional.

I was greatly disappointed to find zero cattle, zero bleached cow skulls, zero desert, and zero cowboys. Apparently, as a Houstonian told me, "Nah, that's WEST Texas you're thinking of." They don't even really have accents on this side -- although they make fun of my mixed up one all the time ("Boul? You mean the one with horns or the one you put soup in?" "Fer? Isn't that what animals wear?").

I have a friend who is originally from Louisiana and who thinks of himself as Cajun. From hearing him talk, the image I've gotten is of a culture similar to that of my Italian in-laws -- the traditions live on in what your mom serves when you come home to visit and at holidays, and the rest of the time, they aren't really an issue.

Of course, I only know a couple of people who consider themselves Cajun, so I can't speak for all of them, or even most of them.

Jim Riley
03-03-2013, 07:21 AM
I've lived in Louisiana most of my life. Many years ago, we used to hunt in an area north of Morgan City where I encountered the true Cajun culture. No roads or a school bus, just Four Mile Bayou and a school boat. The one grocery store was only accessible by boat. Almost everyone spoke French and very little broken English. I agree with johnnysannie; most of the old culture has been overcome by the modern conveniences and intrusion of other cultures. But even in the old culture, I never saw a particular bias against people from the northern states because most of the true Cajuns were biased against anyone that couldn't speak French or set a trap. They put up with us, but weren't thrilled with us.

03-03-2013, 07:27 AM
This thread is from 2005! I sincerely hope the OP has written their story by now.