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The Cajuns: Americanization of a People

By : Chrissy LeMaire | 0 Comments | On : March 30, 2005 | Category : Cajun Country Blog

I’ve been reading the book, The Cajuns: Americanization of a People, by Shane Bernard and I highly recommend it. I think that this book is one of the main reasons I exhausted all of my vacation time today by booking a flight to Lafayette (Woohoo!)
 
I’m going to go back home to interview my grandma and a few other older family members to see their perspective of what it is to be Cajun and if they remember the exact moment they decided to stop teaching their kids Cajun French. Only 2 out of 9 of my paternal grandma’s kids speak Cajun French. My dad was one of them. All of my mom’s 8 brothers and sisters speak/spoke it but it was not passed on to any of their children. This book details the reasons for that.
 
 
It’s gotten great reviews at Amazon.com, one of them in particular hit home for me.

This book changed my life! Mr. Bernard does a great job of putting the culture in perspective. His history is accurate, interesting and inspiring. As a full blooded cajun, living outside of Louisiana, this book really hit home. I’m convinced I must return and learn the cajun french language and encourage the rest of the younger people in my family to do the same. Thanks for a great book.

I feel the same way, to a degree. I suddenly find myself scrambling, trying to find a way to preserve what is left of our culture. I want all of my friends in Louisiana to read this book and just.. understand that *we are* Cajun. It’s not just something we name our businesses. We take so many little things for granted. We assume that our little fais do dos happen all over America. We think that everyone eats rice and gravy every day and there’s a reason we don’t “get” Asian rice jokes.
 
Check out NPR’s coverage of the book. There’s an audio section where you can hear Shane’s slight accent and some good Cajun music. You can also hear a clip of Dennis Quaid’s god-awful  fake Cajun accent in the movie The Big Easy. For the record, the soundtrack is mostly a stinker too.
 
So in about a month, I’ll be down in Louisiana eating crawfish at Richard’s in Abbeville! I’m so excited.. I really miss home. I’m also going 4wheeling on some Broussard’s property. Maybe we’ll hunt too. I’ll be there with my cameras (both video and still!) to capture it all.
 
Speaking of eating crawfish, I got some great pictures of a crawfish boil that I’ll be talking about in my next post. MmmMMM.

 

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