This essay reads Louisiana literature from the Gilded Age in relation to two contemporaneous issues that gave many Creole Louisianians cause for concern: shrinking French- and Creole-language fluency and growing Jim Crow segregation. Arguing that short stories by George Washington Cable, Kate Chopin, and Alice Dunbar-Nelson spotlight links between language suppression and racial oppression in the late nineteenth-century United States, I challenge readings of local color fiction as a form promoting a unification-through-assimilation approach to reuniting the nation in the decades after the Civil War and show instead how local color stories treat life and language in and around New Orleans as untranslatable. By representing irreducible cultural differences as checks on the pressures and narratives of Americanization, these texts push back against anglophone dominance and white supremacy.