Quebec Studies

Creoles and Québécois: Louisiana-Québec Relations Before the Quiet Revolution

Quebec Studies (1987), 5, (1), 60–84.

Abstract

QuCbec Studies, No.5,1987 CREOLESAND Q ~ B E C O I SLOUISIANA-QUEBEC : RELATIONS BEFORE THE QUIET REVOLUTION Alfred Olivier Hero, Jr. This article provides some historical context for the active educational and cultural cooperation that has developed between Louisiana and Quebec since the late 1960s.' That activity has understandably focused primarily on Acadian southwest Louisiana, which has in recent decades included most of the declining number of Louisianians who still understood spoken French. Among the many descendants of Quebec and other non-Acadian francophones who settled in the Mississippi valley from Baton Rouge through New Orleans, few people still speak French. The pertinent backgrounds of the Acadians, most of whose ancestors came from the Maritimes rather than Qukbec, are much better understood than are those of the Creoles (originally, people of French or Spanish ancestry born in the New World), whose genealogy more often than not includes at least one Quebec francophone. Indeed, most North Americans outside Louisiana seem to perceive all Louisianians of hancophone ancestry as Acadian descendants, though these include perhaps no more than a quarter of the francophones in the lower Mississippi valley. Linkages between Quebec and Louisiana prior to the 1930s were almost exclusively with Creole rather than Acadian Louisiana. Creoles comprised the overwhelming majority of the Louisiana francophone elite as late as the 1930s and accounted for a significant minority of those who still spoke some French in Acadian regions in the 1980s. Acadians remained predominantly little educated and culturally isolated from the rest of frnncophonie from their anival in the late eighteenth century until the time of the Second World War. Since I and others have attempted elsewhere to deal with Louisiana Acadians' generally more recent relations with Quebec, this article will focus on relations between largely non-Acadian francophone Louisiana and Quebec in the period extending from 1672 to 1960.

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Hero, Alfred