Americanization of a People
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: University Press of Mississippi
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This study resulted from personal exploration: I am a descendant of Acadian exiles who settled in Louisiana in the eighteenth century, who intermarried with other ethnic groups on the semitropical frontier, and who in the process became a new ethic group—the Cajuns. I am, however, an Americanized...
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pp. xiii- xvi
I wish to thank Professors Terry H. Anderson, John H. Lenihan, Albert S. Broussard, Rogelio Saenz, and Richard Furuta of Texas A&M University and Professor Carl A. Brasseaux of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, who helped to prepare the dissertation on which this study is based. I also extend my gratitude to Professors Barry Jean Ancelet and James H. Dormon of the...
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pp. xvii- xxiv
The Americanization of the Cajuns took place after decades of intense, scornful Anglo-Saxonism, the belief that Anglo-Saxon culture is superior and therefore should be imposed on other ethnic groups. Both the Cajuns and the Acadian exiles from whom they descended had been slandered as backward, ignorant...
ONE: Cajuns during Wartime
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Four thousand miles from his hometown of Breaux Bridge, Ralph LeBlanc, or “Frenchie,” as Navy pals called the twenty-year-old sailor, sat reading comics in Kingfish Hangar’s ready room. Usually occupied by pilots receiving orders and briefings, the room this morning, as every Sunday morning, served as a hangout where...
TWO: Atomic-Age Cajuns
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Around 10 P.M. on March 15, 1957, a fiery meteor emitting a shower of red sparks hurtled over south Louisiana, turning darkness to broad daylight before slamming into West Côte Blanche Bay. Windows rattled, some shattered, and police throughout central Acadiana fielded calls from hundreds of frantic citizens. No, they replied, it wasn’t a midair collision, an oil-rig blowout, a “space ship from...
THREE: Cajuns and the 1960s
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In June 1971 as many as one hundred thousand hippies invaded Acadiana to attend the Celebration of Life rock festival at Cypress Point, a two-hundred year- old sugar plantation in rural Pointe Coup
FOUR: From Coonass to Cajun Power
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On May 9, 1972, Edwin Washington Edwards went to morning Mass looking like “the best-dressed pimp to ever strut through a whorehouse,” according to one observer. Afterward, Edwards reigned as grand marshal of his own Mardi Gras-style parade. Mobs cheered, marching bands strutted, beauty queens waved...
FIVE: Exploitation and Revitalization
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Something peculiar happened to Cajun culture in the late twentieth century. Once derided as backward, it suddenly became associated with words such as hot, chic, and trendy . Mainstream society not only discovered Cajun culture but embraced it, usurped it, and reshaped it almost beyond recognition into a highly marketable...
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Along with the expulsion from Nova Scotia and the Civil War, the last sixty years of the twentieth century represented one of the most crucial periods in Cajun history. During this time, the ethnic group, like other American minorities, experienced a fundamental change in character—one that actually redefined the meaning...
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pp. 183- 196
Publication Year: 2003