to be Creole
Nothing like it in
the whole world
“…When I was younger, I was raised to believe that
my culture was unique and rich and alive. That there was nothing
that could ever take away the pride of my heritage.
people the “forgotten people” of La Region d’Isle
Brevelle in Natchitoches, Louisiana-contributed greatly to the
history of the United States. And, for a long time, I thought
that the Creoles were the only people in to the world. It is
“the land that time forgot.” But it is mine.
are mine… les Creoles: every bit of the French, the Spanish,
the African, and the Indian in us. The bayou music… Zydeco: Keith
Frank and the Soileau Band,
he accordions, the Eunice two-step, the Yele, les Bleus de Creve
Faim, Y-Ki-Ki Slims.
The language…creole… our own
pidgin dialect, a so-called corruption of the sophisticated
French, spoken on street corners, written on signs and billboards,
taught in schools, learned in the home: Laissez les bons temps
rouler… Oh ye yaille…CoucouC’est la vie…Maumau
et Paupau…Ce n’est pas mon faut.
boudin, cracklings, andouille, filet, etoufee, pralines, bestioles
(“crawdaddies”), gumbo, jambalaya, mirleton, beignets,
the famous Lausanne café. The values..
Catholicism, the preservation of cultural identity, the demand
for recognition in a “politically correct” society,
the value of education instilled within our children, the “Southernness”
of our souls. I have been to Melrose many times. And at Melrose,
I have found myself.
So I sit
and watch the faces of the visitors… wondering if they
know. There is so much to Creole culture… so many things
to cherish. And I often lay back and gaze into the sun, then
close my eyes.
I breathe in the air, the soil, the purity of
everything around me. I take in all that I know. They are beautiful
thoughts… These visions of divinity dance about within
my head, and I am proud.”
(excerpts from one of my college essays on race)