Being from Louisiana and a decendant of a cajun I just wanted to give my two bits worth of the coonass theory.
Coonass is a term used by the cajuns from the deep south to describe those of us who are not full blooded cajuns and also just as the southerners are called rebels and the North called yankees, the southern Louisiana consider anyone in Louisiana north of the Mississippi river to be coonasses and though many would be insulted by that I take great pride in it because my grandfather was the fastest french talking cajun I ever knew and to have his bloodline run through me is a great honor. As far as backwards and slow, a dumbass must have came up with that one.thats my two bits worth and for anyone that doesn't know what two bits are well its a quarter. I figured two bits worth was better than two cents.
In two different old homes, we heard the story of the rolling pin bed. This must be something local to Louisiana, because I have heard of spool beds, sleigh beds and four poster beds, but never had heard of a rolling pin bed.
In this case the rolling pin is a part of the headboard but it set on pegs so that it can be detached. The mattresses are stuffed with Spanish moss, which tends to shift and lump when slept on. The rolling pin which detaches allows two people roll out the mattress smooth with the rolling pin ready for the next night..
The city of New Orleans was founded by Bienville in 1718 and was named after Duc d'Orleans. The oldest and most famous part of New Orleans is the Vieux Carre, the French Quarter, what isn't really a square but rectangular in shape. In a way the name is misleading too. In 1788, a fire destroyed the French Quarter, 856 buildings burned down. The fire took place during the Spanish occupation. The majority of the buildings were rebuild in a more Spanish then French style.
JANUARY - Creole Heritage Festival. Demonstrations, exhibitions and performances of traditional Creole music, dance, food ways, folk, crafts, art and religious traditions are included in the day\'s activities.
APRIL – Jazz R & B Festival. Lots of sounds of Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Cajun and Zydeco musicians from across the South. Over 20 bands playing continuous music on four stages on the banks of the scenic Cane River in downtown historic Natchitoches.
OCTOBER - Adais Caddo Indian Tribe Pow Wow. The Adias Caddo Indian Tribe of Louisiana hold an annual Pow Wow on the third Saturday of October. The Pow Wow is a memorial dance in honour of the forefathers celebrating our Indian heritage.
DECEMBER - Natchitoches Christmas Festival. Held every first Saturday in December. There are over 300,000 Christmas bulbs which are strung along the Cane River Lake creating a fairyland of multi-coloured lights. Fireworks and entertainment every Saturday in December.
The drinking age in Louisiana is 21 years old. Drinking in public in New Orleans is permitted as long as you do not have an open or glass container. Be sure to ask the bar or restaurant for a "to go cup".
February : Mardi Gras
March : Super Sunday, Mardi Gras Indians Festival
April : Jazz and Heritage Festival
May : New Orleans Wine and Food Festival
June : International Arts Festival (formerly Reggae Riddums)
July : Russian Summer Festival
August : Satchmo Summer Fest
October : Swampfest, New Orleans Film and Video Festival, Fresh Art Festival
December : Christmas New Orleans Style.
January : Mardi Gras In the Ark-La-Tex. This is a regional celebration of the carnival season which features parades, balls and other special events.
April : NIKE Shreveport Open Golf Tournament, an annual event for professional golfers from throughout the country. Held at Southern Trace.
May : Ark-La-Tex Jazz and Gumbo Festival. An annual weekend event of hot gumbo and cool jazz.
September : Annual Red River Revel Arts Festival. This is the largest outdoor festival in North Louisiana. This is an eight-day festival is dedicated to presenting the finest in visual and performing arts.
State Fair of Louisiana - features the largest midway in Louisiana with over 70 and host to one of the finest livestock gatherings in the country.
Louisiana’s subtropical climate makes for one of the longest growing seasons in the national, officially lasting from 220 days per year in North Louisiana to as many as 350 days in the south.
Shreveport’s annual average temperatures range from 66 to 69ºF (18.9 to 20.6ºC), with July averaging 82ºF (27.8ºC) and January averaging 53ºF (11.7ºC).
Natchitoches sits 130 feet above sea level and therefore has more semi-tropical climate. Winter months are usually mild with short cold spell. Summer months are quite hot and humid.
There is almost no place in Louisiana where a traveller HAS to know French to get by. Knowing reasonable English is fine. However, there are some places in South Louisiana where French is spoken predominantly.
There is a rich diversity of peoples in Louisiana. They include the original Indian inhabitants, plus the descendants of a variety of settlers, among whom were the French, Spanish, English, German, Acadians, West Indians, Africans, Irish and Italians and now include almost every nationality on earth. The original French colonists were soon joined by the Spanish and Acadians, and later by French aristocrats fleeing slave revolts in the West Indies or the horrors of the French Revolution. As part of Louisiana's French legacy counties are called "parishes" and the Napoleonic Code (rather than Common Law) holds sway in the state's courtrooms.
Among the other nationalities that have settled in Louisiana are the Yugoslavians who made a success of oyster harvesting along the Gulf Coast and the Hungarians who became cultivators of strawberries and other crops in the Albany area. Free blacks amassed some of Louisiana's largest land holdings prior to the Civil War and blacks have major contributions to Jazz and Louisiana cuisine in particular. And many of Louisiana's annual festivals are celebrations of particular ethnic contributions to the "cultural gumbo" of this unique state.
'Coonass is a controversial term in the Cajun lexicon: to some Cajuns it is regarded as the supreme ethnic slur, meaning 'ignorant, backwards Cajun'; to others the term is a badge of pride, much like the word Chicano is for Mexican Americans. In South Louisiana, for example, one can often see bumper stickers reading 'Warning — Coonass on Board!' or 'Registered Coonass' (both of which generally depict a raccoon’s backside). The word’s origin is unclear. Non-French-speaking American GIs during WW1 allegedly overheard french expression and converted it to the English 'coonass,' and introduced the term back in the United States. There it supposedly soon caught on as a derisive term among non-Cajuns, who encountered many Cajuns in Gulf Coast oilfields. It is now known, however, that coonass predated the arrival of Cajun GIs in France during World War II, which undermines the conasse theory. Indeed, folklorist Barry Jean Ancelet has long rejected this theory, calling it 'shaky linguistics at best.' He has suggested that the word originated in South Louisiana, and that it derived from the belief that Cajuns frequently ate raccoons. He has also proposed that the term contains a negative racial connotation: namely, that Cajuns were 'beneath' or 'under' blacks (or coons, as blacks were often called by racists). Despite efforts by Cajun activists like James Domengeaux and Warren A. Perrin to stamp out the term’s use, coonass continues to circulate in South Louisiana and beyond. Its acceptability among the general public, however, tends to vary according to circumstances, and often depends on who says it and with what intention. Cajuns who dislike the term have been known to correct well-meaning outsiders who use the epithet.'
Sources: Ancelet, 'On Coonass' [unpublished essay]; Domengeaux, 'Native-Born Acadians and the Equality Ideal'; Robertson, Robertson’s Oil Slang.
There is a difference in the northern and southern part of Louisiana in the accent you will hear when people talk. I have always enjoyed our travels in the southern part of Louisiana, I think because there seems to always be some sort of a festival going on somewhere to celebrate something. I just love to hear that Cajun (slang expression for Acadian) music.
New Orleans' climate is influenced by its subtropical latitude and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. It's hot, wet and sticky for most of the year - other times it's just wet. February through April is the best time to visit, when an easygoing climate coincides with the city's two most spectacular events, Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest. May sees the heat begin to intensify, and June marks the official beginning of hurricane season, which lasts through September. The oppressive heat and humidity of the summer months are a misery, driving many residents to the 'redneck Riviera' of gulf coast Mississippi.
If you're visiting in summer, prepare for the 'oven' effect of going from chilly air-conditioned interiors to overwhelmingly tropical 95°F (35°C) streets. September and October tend to be much more agreeable. Christmas is an off-peak period with discounted accommodations, although the winter temperatures during the large New Year's Eve celebration and the Sugar Bowl football game can be chilly.
Make sure to visit some of the smaller parishes
If you go to a party and eat king cake, here are some things you should know:
King cakes are ring shaped, with multi-colored sugar on top. They are only made during Mardi Gras. The sugar is dyed purple, green and gold (the colors symbolizing Mardi Gras). Be careful when eating the pieces of cake, for there usually is a small baby made of an inedible material, (usually plastic) hidden in the cake. If your piece of cake contains the baby, it is considered an honor, and you are the 'king' of the Mardi Gras party, sometimes given a cardboard crown or some other prize. Being king ain't all it's cracked up to be, however. You are now responsible for throwing the next party and serving the next king cake to pass on your crown.
For a recipe on baking a king cake for your own event: http://www.holidays.net/mardig as/cake.htm
Pic credit to neworleanskingcakes.com
New Orleans is more than just a fun city. The French quarters are a prove of that. By the way, let me inform you that the so-called French quarters are actually bunch of Spanish XVIII style houses, as the guide said. Yes, as you might know, Span held possesion of Lousiana by the end of XVIII century and a Spanish governor and aristrocacy took over the city. It wasn't until Napoleon seized Spain in the beginning of XIX century that France took back the Lousiana and sold it to the North Americans, who now were just the next door negihbor for us (México).
The Cajun country is a beautiful one.
The story of the Acadians is so romantic, so sad, one can't imagine what these people had to endure in order to find peace and order in their lives. It wasn't until they found bunch of swampy lands that they decided to give it to them. They developed one of the richest cultures of the US. And their food is all across the country, too!!
MUSIC KEEPS NEW ORLEANS ALIVE EVERY SINGLE HOUR!!!
The Netchez is a ship where you can have a good time with remarkable jazz players and horrible food. Of course, the music outplayed the food and we got out of there delighted by a good performing and a fun time. Of course, no need to compare but the black guys in Jackson square are porbably not as technical but just as good player and with far more feeling. But anyway, we had a good time everywhere there
the omni royal orleans is located between royal and chartres streets in the heart of the french...more
This was a very, very nice motel. We've stayed in Baton Rouge, LA before and been disappointed with...more
This hotel is very close to the Shreveport regional airport, which makes it very desirable for those...more