The city of New Orleans, Louisiana is incredibly strong in multiple humanities. A town that has been seasoned, fried, and served in original culture for hundreds of years. Everywhere you step in this floozy city, you are guaranteed a taste of what elegance it has to offer. Whether it be a metaphorical taste, or a spoonful of gumbo, you are in for an exciting ride. New Orleans is brimming with rich culture from everywhere, like how it contains a plethora of Haitian background, French is a primary language spoken here, it is known for its feisty southern eating, and it is the former Jazz capital of the world.
Haiti’s Takeover A plethora of the population in New Orleans is of Haitian background. This is because in 1698, French explorer, Sieur d’Iberville, left Haiti, which used to be called Saint Domingue, to settle in the city of Biloxi, LA, sparking the beginning of all Haitian immigration (“Haitian Immigration”). These Haitian refugees immediately took a liking to New Orleans. Between 1791 and 1803, thirteen hundred refugees made their way to, and settled in New Orleans, Louisiana (“Haitian Immigration”). From this point on, the Haitian population prospered and continued to grow.
New Orleans even became know as the “Creole Capital” to much of America and Haiti (“Haitian Immigration”). This became it’s title because Creole is the native language of Haiti, which is a dialect of French (History. com Staff). These are the major factors of how immigration occurred in New Orleans during its beginning years. Vodou is a syncretic religion based on animism, magic,and elements of Roman Catholic ritual (Kolb). It is a very avant-garde religion because often it involves sacrifice, possession rituals, and strange songs accompanied by dancing (Kolb).
Many vodou practices are looked down upon because of either ignorance on the religion itself or because of its peculiar ideas. In fact, one of the city’s most infamous celebrities, Marie Laveau, was a profound mambo (a woman who practices vodou) (Kolb). Marie Laveau was a priestess of the 18th century, who was known for her estranged sacrifices, which involved mutilating many human’s bodies (Kolb). She is especially disliked by the white american community, because her practices were particularly inflicted upon caucasian workers (Kolb).
Laveau is only one of millions who practiced vodou in New Orleans (History. com Staff). Vodou has marked this region so fervently, that a museum called The New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum, was built to honor the religion in 1972 (Kolb). The aim of building the museum is to preserve vodou culture, and history for years to come. Lingua Franca Lingua Franca is a language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different (Codrescu). The lingua franca of New Orleans (besides English) is French.
This is because Louisiana was first a territory of France before the Louisiana purchase, when Thomas Jefferson bought the area from France in 1803 (History. com Staff). New Orleans retained much of it’s French culture and language from this time. Up to 16 percent of the city can speak French (History. com Staff). It is also included in many shop titles, books, building names, and much more. For example, one of the most refined restaurants in New Orleans is La Petite Grocery, which translates to “The Small Grocery” in English (Codrescu). This is one of many different places affected by the French language.
In New Orleans, a handful of French holidays take place. Two of the most celebrated are Courir de Mardi Gras and Mardi Gras itself (Mckinney). Courir de Mardi Gras translates to “Fat Tuesday Run” (Mckinney). This sub-holiday takes place during Mardi Gras, but has it’s own set of traditions. The rules include that the participants in the run, follow Le Capitaine (the leader), who is on horseback, to a nearby house, and Le Capitaine must ask the owner of the house, if he/she, and all of the participants, may enter the property to play pranks on any of the inhabitants, and each other (Mckinney).
Furthermore, to make the holiday truly exciting, during the celebration, Le Capitaine reserves the right to lash at any participant with his or her whip, at any time. This joyful event dates back to hundreds of years ago, when Louisiana was still under French control (History. com Staff). Although, back in the day, the whipping of participants was much less for show, but more to actually inflict pain. The holiday is significantly more exuberant in present time because, in the end, everyone who participates receives a heaping serving of New Orleans specified communal gumbo (Tenant).
Courir de Mardi Gras is one of many French holidays celebrated in New Orlean today. All things considered, Mardi Gras itself is the daddy of all French holidays. Mardi Gras is a celebration that begins before Ash Wednesday, which is a religious day that signals the beginning of Lent (McKinney). This holiday is celebrated all over the world, during the spring season. The masses of Orleanians join together to dance, sing, and eat their way through the festivities. These festivities include things such as: parades, drinking contest, outdoor concerts, and of course, competitions to see who can wear the most beads.
A major tradition involved with Mardi Gras is wearing shiny, multi-colored beads (Codrescu). Men, women, and children can participate by layering on dozens of bead necklaces, and showing them off to the entire town (Codrescu). This one of many French holidays is a very unique and exhilarating time in New Orleans, as well as the rest of the world. French architecture is present in every nook and cranny of New Orleans. From buildings such as the LeCarpentier-Beauregard-Keyes house to the French Quarter itself (Codrescu), French inspired architecture is always present here.
The city is built in an American Colonial style, although it is called American, it is very much French (McKinney). Be that as it may, some buildings in New Orleans are built with French Baroque style (McKinney). It is similar to gothic style because it uses many flying buttresses, large windows, towers, spires, and ornate facades (“French Quarter”). These components make up this gorgeously stupefying city we know today. Consequently, the French Quarter is most well known for its use of French architecture. Its design includes: arches, beveled ledges, and iron fencing (“French Quarter”).
These elements make it feel almost as if you’re walking through France instead of New Orleans, Louisiana (Codrescu). Not to mention, France and New Orleans both have a reputation for containing only short buildings (Codrescu). This is because a few hundred years ago, most buildings were only built up to a few stories (McKinney). New Orleans is a very old, and distinguished city in the United States. It is full of French culture in many different ways, such as its language, holidays, and architecture. Kill it, Clean it, Cook it New Orleans is world renowned for its bizarre food.
Whether it be alligator gumbo, or turtle soup this city has it. To add to it, this city has spice as well. If looking for something to eat with a kick, visit this town. That may be treated with a heaping bowl of tongue searing jambalaya, or if there’s a need for something to make your mouth water, perhaps a Muffaletta would suffice (Harris). Be prepared to quench your thirst with a glass of creamy milk or a town favorite, chilled quadruple beer, because these meals can start a fire with their spice (Harris). The town has to offer multitudes of delectable, heated dishes, even so, they also offer some more outlandish meals.
A common ingredient in their Creole cooking is alligator. For example: alligator stew, alligator sausage, alligator hash, and cajun style gator tail (Harris). They use this ingredient so often because of the massive population of gators found in Louisiana (McQuaid). Not only is there alligator though, there are also meals prepared with: pigeons, snakes, crawfish, toad, skunk, and even feret (Harris). The idea of such peculiar meals is enough to make some tourist quiver. The natives on the other hand, don’t bat an eye at the thought. The people of New Orleans are extremely resourceful.
They use what nature has to offer to fix their food. If the bayou happens to flush up some crawfish, or toads, it’s going in the stew pot. These are just a few of the odd, yet delicious, meals offered in New Orleans. The City Where Angels Sing The first opera in the United States opened in New Orleans in 1796 (Leopold). From here on, the music industry in this city continued to prosper. The town even became known as the Jazz capital of the world. New Orleans is responsible for famous singers such as Allen Toussaint, Harry Connick Jr. , and the great Louis Armstrong (Millar).
All of these performers have one thing in common, which is their strong influence of Jazz music. Jazz is considered to have been invented in New Orleans around 100 years ago (Millar). This style of music is created with many different properties, such as: wavering melodies, a soulful attitude, and improvisation (Leopold). Walking along the patio streets of the city, you can find a musician belting out tunes for his dinner, with a rhythmic beat and deep voice. That musician, is a Jazz musician. Jazz has come a long way from its beginning rebellious notes.
Today, when performing Jazz in the streets of New Orleans, there is a certain flow required to do the music justice. Louis Armstrong found this flow when he produced top hits, such as “What a Wonderful World” (Codrescu). As did Harry Connick Jr. and Allen Toussaint. All three of these incredible Jazz singers used New Orleans as their muse to create soulful music for the rest of the world to cherish (Codrescu). New Orleans is responsible for one of the most enjoyed music styles in the world, therefore affecting the entire world with it.
Conclusion New Orleans has a strong culture, filled with zany religions like vodou, diversity from a foreign language, tasty food choices, and lastly, it is the center of the world for Jazz. In this radiant, flourishing city, the street corners are brimming with history and a self-made aura. This town provides an environment that can excite anyone. You can enjoy a yummy, French beignet, in a Haitian cemetery, all while listening to an old man, blast notes on his horn, and serenade the world with his soulful Jazz. No other city in the world can offer this kind of happiness. Welcome to New Orleans.