Louisiana French

Louisiana French (French: français de la Louisiane, Louisiana Creole: françé la lwizyàn) refers to the complex of dialects and varieties of the French language spoken traditionally in colonial Lower Louisiana. As of today Louisiana French is primarily used in the U.S. state of Louisiana, specifically in the southern parishes, though substantial minorities exist in southeast Texas as well. Over the centuries, the language has incorporated some words of African, Spanish, Native American and English origin, sometimes giving it linguistic features found only in Louisiana,[4][5][6][7] Louisiana French differs to varying extents from French dialects spoken in other regions, but Louisiana French is mutually intelligible with all other dialects and particularly with those of Missouri, New England, Canada and northwestern France. Many famous books, such as Les Cenelles, a poetry anthology compiled by a group of gens de couleur libres, and Pouponne et Balthazar, a novel written by French Creole Sidonie de la Houssaye, are in standard French. It is a misconception that no one in Louisiana spoke or wrote Standard French.[8] Figures from the United States Census record that roughly 3.5% of Louisianans over the age of 5 report speaking French or a French-based creole at home.[9] Distribution of these speakers is uneven, however, with the majority residing in the south-central region known as Acadiana. Some of the Acadiana parishes register francophone populations of 10% or more of the total, with a select few (such as Vermilion, Evangeline and St. Martin Parishes) exceeding 15%.

The language is spoken across ethnic and racial lines by people who identify as Cajun or Louisiana Creole as well as Chitimacha, Houma, Biloxi, Tunica, Choctaw, Acadian, and French among others.[8][10] For these reasons, as well as the relatively small influence Acadian French has had on the language, the label Louisiana French or Louisiana Regional French is generally regarded as more accurate and inclusive than "Cajun French" and is preferred term by linguists and anthropologists.[11][12][13][14] However, "Cajun French" is commonly used in lay discourse by speakers of the language and other inhabitants of Louisiana.[15]

Louisiana French should further not be confused with Louisiana Creole, a distinct French-based creole language indigenous to Louisiana and spoken across racial lines. In Louisiana, language labels are often conflated with ethnic labels. For example, a speaker who identifies as Cajun may call their language "Cajun French", though linguists would identify it as Louisiana Creole.[15] Likewise, many Louisiana Creole people of all ethnicities (including Cajuns, who are themselves technically Creoles of Acadian descent, although most do not identify as such) do not speak Louisiana Creole, instead speaking Louisiana French.

Parishes in which the dialect is still found include but are not limited to Acadia, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Cameron, Evangeline, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, Terrebonne, Pointe Coupée, Vermillion, and other parishes of southern Louisiana.

Louisiana French
français louisianais
Native toLouisiana
Native speakers
150,000 to 200,000 (2012)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3frc
Glottologcaju1236  Cajun French[2]
gulf1242  (Mississippi) Gulf Coast French[3]
Louisiane francophone
Blue indicates Louisiana parishes where French is spoken as of 2011. In total, 7% of Louisianans speak French.


Starting in the second half of the 17th century, several trading posts were established in Lower Louisiana (French: Basse-Louisiane) eventually giving way to greater French colonial aspirations with the turn of the century. French immigration was at its peak during the 17th and 18th centuries which firmly established the Creole culture and language there. One important distinction to make is that the term "créole" at the time was consistently used to signify native, or "locally-born" in contrast to "foreign-born". In general the core of the population was rather diverse, coming from all over the French colonial empire namely Canada, France, and the French West Indies.[16]

Choctaw Village near the Chefuncte, by Francois Bernard, 1869, Peabody Museum – Harvard University. The Choctaw people had a great impact on the development Louisiana French.

Eventually, with the consistent relations built between the Native American tribes and francophones, new vocabulary was adopted into the colonial language. For example, something of a "French-Choctaw patois" is said to have developed primarily among Louisiana's Afro-French population and métis Creoles with a large portion of its vocabulary said to be of Native American origin.[17] Prior to the late arrival of the Acadian people in Louisiana, the French of Louisiana had already begun to undergo changes as noted by Captain Jean-Bernard Bossu who traveled with and witnessed Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne speaking this "common language."[18] This unusual blend of French was also noticed by Pierre-Clement de Laussat during a lunch visit with the Creole-French Canterelle family. Upon the arrival of their Houma relatives, the family began conversing in "French and Choctaw."[19] Additional witness to this variety of French comes from J.F.H. Claiborne, a cousin of Louisiana's first American Governor, who also noted the "unusual patois of provincial French and Choctaw."[20]

Starting in 1755, large populations of the French-speaking Acadians began to arrive en masse along the Mississippi River as well as eventually arriving all the way to south to the modern-day state of Louisiana following the Great Upheveal. In 1762, France relinquished their territorial claims to Spain just as Acadians had begun to arrive; despite this, Spanish Governor Bernardo de Gálvez, permitted the Acadians to continue to speak their language as well as observe their other cultural practices. The original Acadian community was composed mainly of farmers and fishermen who were able to provide their children with a reasonable amount of schooling. However, the hardships after being exiled from Nova Scotia, along with the difficult process of resettlement in Louisiana and the ensuing poverty made it difficult to establish schools in the early stages of the community's development. Eventually schools were established, as private academies whose faculty had recently arrived in Louisiana from France or who had been educated in France. Children were usually able to attend the schools only long enough to learn counting and reading.[21] At the time, a standard part of a child's education in the Cajun community was also the Catholic catechism, which was taught in French by an older member of the community.[21] The educational system did not allow for much contact with Standard French.[21] It has often been said that Acadian French has had a large impact on the development of Louisiana French but this has generally been over-estimated.[12][14]

French immigration continued in the 19th century until the start of the American Civil War, bringing large numbers of francophones speaking something more similar to today's Metropolitan French to Louisiana. Over time, through contact between different ethnic groups, the various dialects converged to produce what we know as Louisiana French.[22]


The strong influence of English-language education on the francophone community began following the American Civil War, when laws that had protected the rights of French speakers were abolished. Public schools that attempted to force francophones to learn English were established in Louisiana. Parents viewed the practice of teaching their children English as the intrusion of a foreign culture, and many refused to send their children to school. When the government required them to do so, they selected private French Catholic schools in which class was conducted in French. The French schools worked to emphasize Standard French, which they considered to be the prestige dialect. When the government required all schools, public and parochial, to teach in English, new teachers, who could not speak French, were hired. Children could not understand their teachers and generally ignored them by continuing to speak French. Eventually, children became punished for speaking French on school grounds.[21]

The punishment system seems to have been responsible for much of the decay that Louisiana French experienced in the 20th century since, in turn, people who could not speak English were perceived as uneducated. Therefore, parents became hesitant to teach French to their children, hoping that the children would have a better life in an English-speaking nation.[21] As of 2011, there were an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people in Louisiana who speak French. By comparison, there were an estimated one million native French-speakers in Louisiana in about 1968. The dialect is now at risk of extinction as children are no longer taught it formally in schools.

Many question whether the Louisiana French language will survive another generation.[23] Some residents of Acadiana are bilingual though, having learned French at home and English in school. Currently, Louisiana French is considered an endangered language.

Preservation efforts

Marilyn J. Conwell of Pennsylvania State University conducted a study of Louisiana French in 1959 and published "probably the first complete study of a Louisiana French dialect,"[24] Louisiana French Grammar, in 1963. Conwell focused on the French spoken in Lafayette, Louisiana, and evaluated what was then its current status. Conwell pointed out that the gradual decline of French made it "relatively common" to find "grand-parents who speak only French, parents who speak both French and English, children who speak English and understand French, and grand-children who speak and understand only English."[24] The decision to teach French to children was well-received since grandparents hoped for better opportunities for communicating with their grandchildren.[24]

Louisiana French
All varieties of French in Louisiana according to 2000 Census, including Louisiana French. Parishes marked in yellow are those where 4–10%, orange 10–15%, red 15–20%, and maroon 20–30% of the population speak French at home,

The Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) was established in 1968 to promote the preservation of French language and culture in Louisiana. In addition to this, some Louisiana universities, such as Louisiana State University, offer courses in "Cajun French" in the hopes of preserving the language.

The Louisiana state legislature has greatly shifted its stance on the status of French. Since the passage of Legislative Act No. 409 in 1968, the Louisiana governor is granted the authorization "to establish the Council for the Development of Louisiana-French" and that the agency is to consist of no more than fifty members, including a chairman. The name was soon changed to CODOFIL and was granted the power to "do anything possible and necessary to encourage the development, usage and preservation of French as it exists in Louisiana.[25]

In 1984, Jules O. Daigle, a Roman Catholic priest, published A Dictionary of the Cajun Language the first dictionary devoted to "Cajun French." Once considered an authority on the language, it is not exhaustive; it omits alternate spellings and synonyms that Father Daigle deemed "perversions" of the language but are nonetheless popular among so-called Louisiana French speakers and writers.[26] Though remaining useful today, Daigle's dictionary has been superseded by the Dictionary of Louisiana French (2010), edited by Albert Valdman and other authorities on the language.[8]

Beginning in the 1990s, various signage, packaging, and documentation in French became present throughout the state. State and local tourism bureau commissions were influential in convincing city, parish and state officials to produce bilingual signage and documentation. French and English bilingual signage is, therefore, usually confined to the old districts of cities, like the French Quarter in New Orleans, downtown Lafayette and New Iberia (trilingual with Spanish), St. Martinville, Breaux Bridge, as well as several other cities. Locals continue to refer to the place names in English and for postal services, English is generally preferred. To meet the demands of a growing francophone tourist market, tourism bureaus and commissions throughout the state, particularly in southern Louisiana, have information on tourist sites in both French and English as well as in other major languages spoken by tourists.

A resurgence of French has been observed on several social media pages in the wake of Louisiana's 2018 accession to the Organisation internationale de la francophonie, with three projects in particular gaining attention: Télé-Louisiane, an upcoming television channel; Charrer-Veiller, a Franco-Louisianian podcast; and Le Bourdon de la Louisiane, the first and, as of early 2019, only collaborative web gazette written in Louisiana French (as well as Standard French and Louisiana Creole).

Paul Breaux Middle School Bilingual Sign

Paul Breaux Middle School, Lafayette, Louisiana

Downtown New Iberia Trilingual French, English, Spanish signage

New Iberia, Louisiana

Mel's Diner Lafayette Louisiana

Mel's Diner, Lafayette, Louisiana

Lafayette Parish Courthouse Louisiana Bilingual Title

Lafayette Parish Courthouse, Lafayette, Louisiana

St. Martinville Louisiana Bilingual Street Signs

St. Martinville, Louisiana

Signalisation routière bilingue à l'entrée de la Louisiane

Louisiana state welcome sign

Many young adults are learning enough French to understand French music lyrics. Also, there is now a trend to use French-language websites to learn the dialect. Culinary words and terms of endearment such as "cher" [ʃæ] (dear) and "nonc" (uncle) are still heard among otherwise English-speaking Louisianians.

Wikitongues interview with Louis Michaud, a Lafayette resident discussing changing attitudes toward the language and culture, 2013

An article written online by the Université Laval argues that the state of Louisiana's shift, from an anti-French stance to one of soft promotion has been of great importance to the survival of the language. The article states that it is advantageous to invigorate the revival of the language, to better cherish the state's rich heritage, and to protect a francophone minority that has suffered greatly from negligence by political and religious leaders. Furthermore, the university's article claims that it is CODOFIL rather than the state itself which sets language policy; the only political stance the state of Louisiana makes is that of noninterference. All of this culminates in the fact that outside the extremely southern portions of the state, French remains a secondary language that retains heavy cultural and identity values.[27]

According to Jacques Henry, former executive director of CODOFIL, much progress has been made for francophones and that the future of French in Louisiana is not merely a symbolic one. According to statistics gathered by CODOFIL, the past twenty years has seen widespread acceptance of French-immersion programs. He goes further to write that the official recognition, appreciation by parents, and inclusion of French in schools reflects growing regard of the language. Ultimately the survival of French in Louisiana can only be guaranteed by Louisianan parents and politicians, but that there is still hope.[28]

Similarly, the state legislature passed the Louisiana French Language Services Act in 2011 with particular mention to cultural tourism, local culture, and heritage. The bill sets forth that each branch of the state government shall take necessary action to identify employees who are proficient in French. Each branch of the state government is to take necessary steps in producing services in the French language for both locals and visitors. This bill is, however, an unfunded state mandate.[29] The legislative act was drafted and presented by francophone and francophile senators and representatives as it asserts that the French language is vital to the economy of the state.


Reliable counts of speakers of Louisiana French are difficult to obtain as distinct from other varieties of French. However, the vast majority of native residents of Louisiana and east and southeast Texas who speak French are likely speakers of Louisiana French.

In Louisiana, as of 2010, the population of French speakers was approximately 115,183.[30] These populations were concentrated most heavily in the southern, coastal parishes.

In Texas, as of 2010, the French-speaking population was 55,773, though many of these were likely immigrants from France and other locations, living in the urban areas.[30] Nevertheless, in the rural eastern/southeastern Texas counties of Orange, Jefferson, Chambers, Newton, Jasper, Tyler, Liberty, and Hardin alone—areas where it can be reasonably presumed that almost all French speakers are Louisiana French speakers—the total French-speaking population was composed of 3,400 individuals. It is likely a substantial portion of the 14,493 speakers in Houston's Harris county are also Louisiana French speakers. With this in mind, a marked decline in the number of French speakers in Texas has been noticed in the last half of the twentieth century. For example, at one point the French-speaking population of Jefferson County was 24,049 as compared to the mere 1,922 today. Likewise, in Harris County the French-speaking population has shifted from 26,796 to 14,493 individuals.[31]

Louisiana French-speaking populations can also be found in southern Mississippi and Alabama, as well as pockets in other parts of the United States.


Despite ample time for Louisiana French to diverge, the basic grammatical core of the language remains similar or the same as Standard French.[26] Even so, it can be expected that the language would begin to diverge due to the various influences of neighboring languages, changing francophone demographics, and unstable opportunities for education. Furthermore, Louisiana French lacks any official regulating body unlike that of Standard French or Quebec French to take part in standardizing the language.


Person Subject Pronoun Direct Object Indirect Object Reflexive Disjunctive Pronoun
1st singular je / j' me / m' me / m' me / m' moi
2nd singular informal tu / t' te / t' te / t' te / t' toi
2nd singular formal1 vous vous vous vous vous
3rd singular il (i'); elle (e') / alle (a'); ça le (l'); la (l') / lé (l') lui / y se / s' lui; elle; ça
1st plural on; nous2 nous nous se / s' nous-autres (même)
2nd plural vous-autres vous vous vous / vous-autres / se / s' vous-autres (même)
3rd plural ils; eux-autres; ça; eusse3 les leur / y'eux / eux se / s' eux-autres; ça; eusse3

1. the formal second-person singular form is rarely used
2. nous is only present in formal Louisiana French
3. eusse/euse is confined to the southeastern parishes of Louisiana

Immediately some distinct characteristics of Louisiana French can be gleaned from its personal pronouns. For example, the traditional third-person singular feminine pronoun elle of Standard French is present but also there is the alternative of alle which is chosen by some authors since it more closely approximates speakers' pronunciation. Also, use of the pronoun ils has supplanted the third-person feminine pronoun elles as it is used to refer to both masculine and feminine subjects.[32] Similarly, all of the other third-person plural pronouns are neutral. The usage of -autres with plural pronouns is widespread in the language.


In order to demonstrate the use of some of the indicative verb tenses in Louisiana French, take the example of manger meaning to eat:

Person Present Present Progressive Passé simple Imperfect Conditional Near Future Future
1st singular je mange
je / j'suis après manger
je / j'suis apé manger
j'ai mangé je mangeais
je mangerais
je vas manger
j'vas manger
je mangeras
2nd singular informal tu manges t'es après manger
t'es apé manger
t'as mangé tu mangeais tu mangerais tu vas manger tu mangeras
2nd singular formal vous mangez vous êtes après manger
vous êtes apé manger
vous avez mangé vous mangeâtes vous mangeriez vous allez manger vous mangerez
3rd singular il mange il est après manger
il est apé manger
il a mangé il mangeait il mangerait il va manger il mangera
1st plural on mange on est après manger
on est apé manger
on a mangé on mangeait on mangerait on va manger on mangera
2nd plural vous-autres mange vous-autres est après manger
vous-autres est apé manger
vous-autres a mangé vous-autres mangeait vous-autres mangerait vous-autres va manger vous-autres mangera
3rd plural ils mangent
ils mangeont
ils sont après manger
ils sont apé manger
ils ont mangé ils mangeaient
ils mangiont
ils mangeraient
ils mangeriont
ils vont manger ils mangeront

Some minor simplification of tenses is exhibited in the conjugation of the verb manger, namely of the plural first and second person conjugations which are inflected identically to the third person singular. Not only this, but the inflection of the third person plural verb form has diverged between the form identical to Standard French and the use of -ont in for all verbs.

The elision that is common in many aspects of French is accelerated in Louisiana French with the schwa in je often omitted regardless of the presence of a following vowel as well as the regular use of t'es (tu es) and t'as (tu as) as opposed to such avoidance in Standard French.

The present progressive tense of Louisiana French initially appears alien as compared to Standard French but après/apé possesses the same function signified by en train de.


Unlike Standard French, Louisiana French avoids article-preposition contractions involving the prepositions de, or des:

  • "I learned from the grandparents."
    • Louisiana French: "J'ai appris de les grand-parents."
    • Standard French: "J'ai appris des grand-parents."
  • "the skylight"
    • Louisiana French: "la lumière de le ciel"
    • Standard French: "la lumière du ciel"

Proper names

Place names in Louisiana French usually differ from those in Standard French. For instance, locales named for American Indian tribes usually use the plural article les instead of the masculine or feminine singular articles le or la. Likewise, the contraction aux (à and les) is used with such locations. This trend seems to vary by region since in Pierre Part and Lafayette elderly francophones have often been heard to say la Californie, le Texas, la Floride. In informal Louisiana French, most US states and countries are pronounced as in English and therefore require no article but in formal Louisiana French, prefixed articles are absent: Californie, Texas, Floride, Belgique, Liban, etc.

English Louisiana French Standard French
Informal Formal
Carencro (le/au bayou) Carencro; St-Pierre Carencro; St-Pierre Carencro
New Iberia Ibérie la Nouvelle-Ibérie la Nouvelle-Ibérie
Natchitoches (les/aux) Natchitoches (les/aux) Natchitoches Natchitoches
New Orleans en ville la Nouvelle-Orléans la Nouvelle-Orléans
Arkansas (les/aux) Arcs (les/aux) Arcs l'Arkansas
Illinois (les/aux) Illinois (les/aux) Illinois l'Illinois
Lake Charles (le/au) Lac-Charles (le/au) Lac-Charles Lac-Charles


Code-switching occurs frequently in Louisiana French but this is typical for many language contact situations.[33] Code-switching was once viewed as a sign of poor education, but it is now understood to be an indication of proficiency in the two different languages that a speaker uses. Fluent Louisiana French speakers frequently alternate between French and English, but less proficient speakers usually do not.[34]


From a lexical perspective, Louisiana French differs little from other varieties of French spoken in the world. However, due to the unique history and development of the language, Louisiana French has many words that are unique to it or to select French varieties.

English Louisiana French Standard French
automobile, car un char une voiture
ball une pelote un ballon
catfish une barbue un poisson chat
cookie une galette un biscuit, un petit gâteau, un petit gâteau sec
courthouse une maison de cour un palais de justice
dollar (U.S. dollar), currency un piastre un dollar
dude un bougre un gars, un mec
eggplant, aubergine une brème une aubergine
goat un cabri une chèvre
noise du train du bruit
now (right now) drette-là, asteur, asteur-là maintenant
possum, opossum un rat de bois un opossum
raccoon un chaoui un raton laveur
shoe un soulier une chaussure
shrimp chevrette crevette
tail (of an animal) une tcheu une queue
to look at guetter, garder regarder
where, whereto àyoù, etyoù, éyoù
why quoi faire, pourquoi pourquoi

Native American influences

Term Gloss Origin
chaoui raccoon Choctaw or Mobilian: shaui
choupique bowfin Choctaw: shupik "mudfish"
latanier palmettoCarib: allatani
pacane pecan Algonquian via Mobilian
patassa sunfish Choctaw: patàssa "flat"
plaquemine persimmon Illinois via Mobilian: piakimin
tchoc blackbird Possibly Atakapa: t'sak

English influences

Il y avait une fois il drivait, il travaillait huit jours on et six jours off. Et il drivait, tu sais, six jours off. Ça le prendrait vingt-quatre heures straight through. Et là il restait quatre jours ici et il retournait. So quand la seconde fois ç'a venu, well, il dit, "Moi, si tu viens pas," il dit, "je vas pas." Ça fait que là j'ai été. Boy! Sa pauvre mère. "Vas pas!"

One time he was driving, he was working eight days on and six days off. And he was driving, y'know, six days off. It would take him twenty-four hours straight through. And he would stay here four days and then go back. So when the second time came, well, he said, "If you don't come," he said, "I'm not going." So I went. Boy! His poor mother. "Don't go!" she said. "Don't go!"

— Carl Blyth, French and Creole in Louisiana. New York, N.Y.: Plenum Press. p. 40. ISBN 0-306-45464-5.

Le samedi après-midi on allait puis ... wringer le cou de la volaille. Et le dimanche, well, dimanche ça c'était notre meilleure journée qu'on avait plus de bon manger. Ma mère freezait de la volaille et on avait de la poutine aux craquettes.

Saturday afternoon we would go ... wring the chicken's neck. And on Sunday, well, Sunday, that was our best day for eating well. My mother would freeze some chicken and we would have some poutine of croquettes.

— Carl Blyth, French and Creole in Louisiana. New York, N.Y.: Plenum Press. p. 41. ISBN 0-306-45464-5.

Creole influences

Francophones and creolophones have worked side-by-side, lived among one another, and have enjoyed local festivities together throughout the history of the state. As a result, in regions where both Louisiana French and Louisiana Creole are or used to be spoken, the inhabitants of the region often code-switch, beginning the sentence in one language and completing it in another.[5][35][36][37][38]


Taxonomies for classing Louisiana French have changed over time. Until the 1960s and 1970s, Louisianans themselves, when speaking in French, referred to their language as français or créole. In English, they referred to their language as "Creole French" and "French" simultaneously.[39][40][41][42][43]

In 1968, Lafayette native James Domengeaux, a US Representative, created the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL), whose mission was to oversee the promotion, visibility, and expansion of French language usage in Louisiana. His mission was clear: (re)create a European French bastion in Louisiana by making all Louisianans bilingual in International French and English. To accomplish his goals, he teamed up with political leaders in Canada and France, including former French President Georges Pompidou. He found Louisiana French too limiting, so he imported francophone teachers from Europe, Canada and the Caribbean to teach normative French in Louisiana schools. His penchant for International French caused him to lose support in Louisiana: most Louisianans, if they were going to have French in Louisiana schools, wanted Louisiana French, not "Parisian French."[44][45][46][47][48][49][50][51][52]

Simultaneously, an ethnic movement took root in southern Louisiana led by Acadian-Creoles like James Donald Faulk, Dudley Joseph Leblanc and Jules O. Daigle. Faulk, a French teacher in Crowley, Louisiana, introduced using the term "Cajun French" for Acadian-Creoles and French Creoles who identified as Cajun, for which he created a curriculum guide for institutionalizing the language in schools in 1977. Roman Catholic Priest Jules O. Daigle, who in 1984 published his Dictionary of the Cajun Language, followed him. "Cajun French" is intended to imply the French spoken in Louisiana by descendants of Acadians, an ethnic qualifier rather than a linguistic relationship.[39][40][41]

In 2009, Iberia Parish native and activist Christophe Landry introduced three terms representing lexical differences based on Louisiana topography: Provincial Louisiana French (PLF), Fluvial Louisiana French (FLF), and Urban Louisiana French (ULF).[53] That same year, the Dictionary of Louisiana of Louisiana French: As Spoken in Cajun, Creole, and American Indian Communities, was published. It was edited by a coalition of linguists and other activists. The title clearly suggests that the ethno-racial identities are mapped onto the languages, but the language, at least linguistically, remains shared across those ethno-racial lines.[38]

Due to present ethnic movements and internal subdivisions among the population, some of the state's inhabitants insist are ancestral varieties. As a result, it is not odd to hear the language referred to as Canadian French, Acadian French, Broken French, Old French, Creole French, Cajun French, and so on. Still other Louisiana francophones will simply refer to their language as French, without qualifiers. Internally, two broad distinctions will be made: informal Louisiana French and formal Louisiana French.[7][40][54][55][12]

Informal Louisiana French

Probably the widely used variety of the language, informal Louisiana French has its roots in agrarian Louisiana, but it is now also found in urban centers because of urbanization beginning in the 20th century. Historically, along the prairies of southwest Louisiana, francophone Louisianans were cattle grazers as well as rice and cotton farmers. Along the bayous and the Louisiana littoral, sugar cane cultivation dominated and in many parishes today, sugar cultivation remains an important source of economy. Informal Louisiana French can at least be divided further into three core varieties: Fluvial, Provincial, and Bayou Lafourche Louisiana French.

The phonology of these varieties, apart from some minor distinctions, are rather similar and distinct in comparison to the international francophone community. A key feature of the dialect would likely be the pronunciation of the letter "r" as an alveolar consonant /ɾ/ rather than a uvular consonant like in Standard French. Vowels are commonly omitted from the beginning and end of for words: "américain → méricain" or "espérer → spérer." Likewise, the letter "é" preceding "o" frequently erodes in the spoken informal varieties: "léonidelonide" or "cléophasclophas." The nasality and pitch of the language is akin to that associated with provincial speech in Québec. In terms of nasality, Louisiana French is similar to French spoken in Brussels and Dakar, Senegal. The pitch of Provincial Louisiana French and Provincial Quebec French share a predominantly agricultural history, close contact with Amerindian groups and relative isolation from urbanized populations.[42][52][56][57]

Bayou Lafourche

Particular mention should be made to the francophones of Bayou Lafourche, who speak a linguistic feature that is absent everywhere else in Louisiana. Some francophones along Bayou Lafourche pronounce the letters "g" and "j" as a voiceless glottal fricative, but others pronounce the two letters in the manner of most other francophones.[58][59][60]

Two theories exist to explain the feature:

  1. Some activists and linguists attribute this feature to an inheritance of Acadian French spoken in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and other Canadian maritime provinces, a theory based entirely on observation of shared vocal features rather than the communities being linked by migration.[61][62]
  2. On the other hand, it has been suggested that there may be a linguistic link to the hispanophones living at the Mississippi River and Bayou Lafourche junction, who were more numerous than the Acadians in the immediate vicinity.[63]

The Louisiana Creole spoken in Lafourche Parish in and around Kraemer, Choctaw, and Chackbay contains the letters "g" and "j", but they are voiced as they are in all other varieties of Louisiana and French spoken elsewhere.

Formal Louisiana French

This variety is known for its use in all administrative and ecclesiastic documents, speeches and in literary publications. Also known as Urban Louisiana French, Colonial French, or Plantation Society French, it is spoken primarily in the urban business centers of the state. Because those regions have historically been centers of trade and commerce with contact French speakers from Europe, it is regarded as a more conservative variety of the language. Areas where this formal variety can be heard include New Orleans, Baton Rouge, St. Martinville, and other once important francophone business centers in the state. Generally formal Louisiana French is maintained along strict class lines.

The phonology of formal Louisiana French shares much in common with Standard French to various degrees depending upon the speaker. As an example, speakers can be heard pronouncing "r" as a uvular constant as opposed to an alveolar. Furthermore, the pronunciation and intonation of this variety can vary from European to the North American varieties of French. Use of the pronouns nous and vous are far more prevalent in the register as nous has been supplanted by on in the informal varieties.

Louisiana French 19th century document

19th century Notarial document from St. Martinville.

Louisiana French 19th century document 2

19th century Newspaper clipping from Thibodaux.



Consonant phonemes in Louisiana French
Labial Dental/
Palatal Velar
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Stop voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ
voiced v z ʒ
Approximant plain l j
labial ɥ w
Rhotic r

Louisiana French consonants do not show several differences from Metropolitan French consonants, except that unlike most of French spoken varieties, which use uvular varieties of r [ʀ, ʁ]; Louisiana French uses the Classic alveolar trill or flap [r, ɾ], just like in Spanish, Italian, and several other Romance languages; e.g. français [frɑ̃sɛ] 'French'.

Like in several colloquial varieties of French, some consonant clusters are reduced, especially the ones having the liquids /r/ and /l/. E.g. arbre /ɑrbr/ → [ɑrb] 'tree', possible /pɔsibl/ → [pɔsib] 'possible', astre /astr/ → [ast] → [as] 'star', juste /ʒyst/ → [ʒys] 'fair, just'.

Dental stops are usually affricated before high front vowels and semivowels: in other words, /ty/, /ti/, /tɥ/, /tj/, /dy/, /di/, /dɥ/, /dj/ are then pronounced [t͡sy ~ t͡ʃy], [t͡si ~ t͡ʃi], [t͡sɥ ~ t͡ʃɥ], [t͡sj ~ t͡ʃj], [d͡zy ~ d͡ʒy], [d͡zi ~ d͡ʒi], [d͡zɥ ~ d͡ʒɥ], [d͡zj ~ d͡ʒj]. The degree of palatalization depends on the speaker; e.g. petit [pət͡si ~ pət͡ʃi] 'small, little'.

The velar stops /ky/, /ki/, /kɥ/, /kj/ are optionally affricated [t͡ʃy], [t͡ʃi], [t͡ʃɥ], [t͡ʃj], depending on the speaker; e.g. cuisine [t͡ʃɥizin] 'kitchen, cuisine'.

In some mesolects, just like in Haitian Creole, general pronunciation may become non-rhotic; e.g. parler /pɑrle/ → [pɑːle] 'to speak'.[64]


  Front Central Back
unrounded rounded
Close i y u
Close-mid e ø ə o
Open-mid ɛ œ ɔ
Open a
Front Back
unrounded rounded
Mid ɛ̃ ~ ẽ œ̃ ~ ø̃ ɔ̃ ~ õ
Open ã ~ ɑ̃ ~ ɒ̃

The /a - ɑ/ distinction is seldom existing in Louisiana French. However, a is usually pronounced [ɑ ~ ɒ ~ ɔ] when making up the diphthong [wa], before /r/ and when being the last open syllable; e.g. fois [fwɑ ~ fwɒ ~ fwɔ] 'time' (frequence), mardi [mɑrd͡zi] 'Tuesday', rat [rɑ ~ rɒ ~ rɔ] 'rat'.

The maître - mettre /ɛː, ɛ/ distinction does not exist.

Like other French varieties, /ə/ can be omitted in fast speech, e.g. je peux /ʒə pø/ → [ʒ‿pø] → [ʃ‿pø] 'I can'.

Like in Quebec French, [i, y, u] may become laxed [ɪ, ʏ, ʊ], depending on the speaker; e.g. musique [myzik ~ myzɪk ~ mʏzɪk] 'music'.[65]

The four nasal vowels have evolved according to their own pattern, similarly, but not the same way, to French spoken by Haitians: /ɑ̃/ → [ã ~ ɑ̃ ~ ɒ̃], /ɛ̃/ → [ɛ̃ ~ ẽ], /œ̃/ → [œ̃ ~ ø̃], /ɔ̃/ → [ɔ̃ ~ õ].

Words pronounced in Classical French as /ɑ̃m/ and /ɑ̃n/ (using amm-, ann-, emm-, enn-), are pronounced [ɑm ~ ɒm ~ ɔm] and [ɑn ~ ɒn ~ ɔn] respectively, rather than [am] and [an] as in Modern French; e.g. femme [fɑm ~ fɒm ~ fɔm] 'woman', solennité [sɔlɑnite ~ sɔlɒnite ~ sɔlɔnite] 'solemnity', s'enamourer (de) /sɑ̃namure (də)/ 'to fall in love (with)'.[66]


Healing practices

Medicine men and women, or healers (French: traiteur/traiteuse), are still found throughout the state. During their rituals for healing, they use secret French prayers to God or saints for a speedy recovery. These healers are mostly Catholic and do not expect compensation or even thanks, as it is said that then, the cure will not work.[67][68][69]


Louisiana French has been the traditional language for singing music now referred to as Cajun, zydeco, and Louisiana French rock. As of today, Old French music, Creole stomp, and Louisiana French rock remain the only three genres of music in Louisiana using French instead of English. Most "Cajun" artists have expressions and phrases in French in songs, predominantly sung in English.[70][71][72]

French language events

  • Festival International de Louisiane
  • Festivals Acadiens Et Créoles
  • Association louisianaise des clubs français des écoles secondaires
  • Francophone Open Microphone, Houma, Louisiana
  • Louisiana Creole Families/Bastille Day Celebration, Ville Platte, Louisiana
  • Bastille Day Fête, New Orleans Art Museum, New Orleans Louisiana
  • Louisiana State University Night of French Cinema, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Rendez-vous des Cajuns, Liberty Theater, Eunice, Louisiana

La table française

Today one can find many local groups dedicated to practicing Louisiana French regularly, usually over a meal with other interested parties. Many of said groups can be found through the online Cajun French Virtual Table Française:

  • Vermilion Parish Library, Abbeville, Louisiana
  • NuNu's, Arnaudville, Louisiana
  • La Madeleine's, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • City Cafe on O'Neal Lane, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • LSU Community Education Building Room C117, Eunice, Louisiana
  • Ascension Parish Library, Galvez, Louisiana
  • St. James Parish, Gramercy, Louisiana
  • Acadiana PoBoys & Cajun Cuisine, Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Dwyer's Café, Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Blue Moon Saloon, Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Carpe Diem, Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Chez Bi Bi's Patisserie, Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Johnston Street Java, Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Lafayette Public Library South, Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Restaurant Pamplona, Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Nanny's Restaurant, Marksville, Louisiana
  • Marrero Senior Center, Marrero, Louisiana
  • Victor's Cafeteria, New Iberia, Louisiana
  • Carrollton Table Francaise, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Keller Library, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Le Vieux Village, Opelousas, Louisiana
  • Java Square Cafe, Opelousas, Louisiana
  • Ascension Parish Library Galvez Branch, Prairieville, Louisiana
  • The Lafourche Central Market, Raceland, Louisiana
  • Frog City Travel Plaza, Rayne, Louisiana
  • The Bernard House, Rayne, Louisiana
  • Begnaud House Heritage Visitor Center, Scott, Louisiana
  • La Lafourche Parish Library, Thibodaux, Louisiana
  • Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center, Thibodaux, Louisiana
  • French Quarter Cajun Seafood Restaurant, Houston, Texas



  • KRVS 88.7:, Radio Acadie
  • KBON 101.1 FM: Louisiana Proud
  • KLEB 1600 AM: The Rajun' Cajun
  • KJEF 1290 AM: Cajun Radio
  • KLCL 1470 AM: Magic
  • KVPI 1050 AM: The Legend
  • KVPI 92.5 FM: Acadiana's Greatest Hits

Periodicals, newspapers, & publications

  • Les éditions Tintamarre
  • La Louisiane
  • La revue de la Louisiane (defunct)

Cable networks

  • TV5 Monde
  • Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB)
  • KLFY TV10


French-language Public School Curriculum

Louisiana French Immersion Parishes
Parishes offering French immersion programs in 2011

As of autumn 2011, Louisiana has French-language total immersion or bilingual French and English immersion in ten parishes: Calcasieu, Acadia, St. Landry, St. Martin, Iberia, Lafayette, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson and Orleans. The curriculum in both the total French-language immersion as well as in the bilingual program follows the same standards as all other schools in the parish and state.

The Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) recruits teachers locally and globally each year. Additionally, Les Amis de l'Immersion, Inc. is the parent-teacher organization for students in French immersion in the state which organizes summer camps, fundraisers and outreach for teachers, parents and students in the program.

School Grades City Parish
Church Point Elementary K-4 Church Point Acadia
Pierre Part Primary K-4 Pierre Part Assumption
Pierre Part Middle 5-8 Pierre Part Assumption
Belle Rose Primary K-2 Belle Rose Assumption
Assumption High 9 Napoleonville Assumption
Winbourne Elementary K Baton Rouge East Baton Rouge
Henry Heights Elementary K-5 Lake Charles Calcasieu
Gillis Elementary K-5 Lake Charles Calcasieu
Prien Lake Elementary K-5 Lake Charles Calcasieu
Moss Bluff Middle 6-8 Lake Charles Calcasieu
S.J. Welsh Middle 6-8 Lake Charles Calcasieu
Alfred M. Barbe High 9-12 Lake Charles Calcasieu
Daspit Elementary K-6 New Iberia Iberia
North Lewis Street Elementary K-6 New Iberia Iberia
S. J. Montgomery Elementary K-3 Lafayette Lafayette
Myrtle Place Elementary K-3 Lafayette Lafayette
Prairie Elementary K-5 Lafayette Lafayette
Evangeline Elementary K-2 Lafayette Lafayette
Vermilion Elementary K-1 Lafayette Lafayette
Edgar Martin Middle 6-7 Lafayette Lafayette
Paul Breaux Middle 6-8 Lafayette Lafayette
Audubon Montessori K-8 New Orleans Orleans
Ecole Bilingue de la Nouvelle-Orléans Nursery-6 New Orleans Orleans
Hynes Elementary K-3 New Orleans Orleans
International High School of New Orleans 9-10 New Orleans Orleans
International School of Louisiana K-8 New Orleans Orleans
Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orleans PK-4 New Orleans Orleans
Park Vista Elementary K-2 Opelousas St. Landry
South Street K-3 Opelousas St. Landry
Cecilia Primary K-3 Cecilia St. Martin
Teche Elementary 4-6 Breaux Bridge St. Martin
Cecilia Junior High 7-8 Cecilia St. Martin
Cecilia High School 9-12 Cecilia St. Martin

CODOFIL Consortium of Louisiana Universities and Colleges

The Consortium of Louisiana Universities and Colleges unites representatives of French programs in Louisiana universities and colleges, and organizes post-secondary level francophone scholastic exchanges and provide support for university students studying French language and linguistics in Louisiana:

Notable Louisiana French-speaking people

See also


  1. ^ http://seattletimes.com/html/living/2018623886_cajunfrench07.html
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Cajun French". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Gulf Coast French". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Carl A. Brasseaux, French, Cajun, Creole, Houma: A Primer on Francophone Louisiana. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 2005. Alcée Fortier. Louisiana Studies: Literature, Customs and Dialects, History and Education. New Orleans: Tulane University, 1894.
  5. ^ a b Thomas A. Klingler, Michael Picone and Albert Valdman. "The Lexicon of Louisiana French." French and Creole in Louisiana. Albert Valdman, ed. Springer, 1997. 145-170.
  6. ^ Christophe Landry. "Francophone Louisiana: more than Cajun." Louisiana Cultural Vistas 21(2), Summer 2010: 50-55.
  7. ^ a b Thomas A. Klingler. "Language labels and language use among Cajuns and Creoles in Louisiana." Ed. T. Sanchez and U. Horesh. Working papers in linguistics 9(2), 2003. 77–90.
  8. ^ a b c Valdman, Albert (2009). Dictionary of Louisiana French: As Spoken in Cajun, Creole, and American Indian Communities. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1604734034.
  9. ^ https://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/language/data/acs/TablesAFig5.xls
    For 1990 figures, see https://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/language/data/census/table4.txt
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  14. ^ a b Klingler, Thomas A. (2015). "Beyond Cajun: Toward an Expanded View of Regional French in Louisiana". In Picone, Michael D.; Evans Davies, Catherine Evans Davies (eds.). New Perspectives on Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Approaches. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press. pp. 627–640. ISBN 9783110196351.
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Further reading

  • Malveaux, Vivian (2009). Living Creole and Speaking It Fluently. AuthorHouse.
  • laFleur II, John; Costello, Brian (2013). Speaking In Tongues, Louisiana's Colonial French, Creole & Cajun Languages Tell Their Story. BookRix GmbH & Co. KG.
  • Valdman, Albert; et al. (2009). Dictionary of Louisiana French: As spoken in Cajun, Creole and American Indian communities. University Press of Mississippi.
  • Picone, Michael D. (1997). "Enclave Dialect Contradiction:German words". American Speech. 72 (2): 117–153. doi:10.2307/455786. JSTOR 455786.
  • Cajun French Dictionary and Phrasebook by Clint Bruce and Jennifer Gipson ISBN 0-7818-0915-0. Hippocrene Books Inc.
  • Tonnerre mes chiens! A glossary of Louisiana French figures of speech by Amanda LaFleur ISBN 0-9670838-9-3. Renouveau Publishing.
  • A Dictionary of the Cajun Language by Rev. Msgr. Jules O. Daigle, M.A., S.T.L. ISBN 0-9614245-3-2. Swallow Publications, Inc.
  • Cajun Self-Taught by Rev. Msgr. Jules O. Daigle, M.A., S.T.L. ISBN 0-9614245-4-0. Swallow Publications, Inc.
  • Language Shift in the Coastal Marshes of Louisiana by Kevin J. Rottet ISBN 0-8204-4980-6. Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
  • Conversational Cajun French I by Harry Jannise and Randall P. Whatley ISBN 0-88289-316-5. The Chicot Press.
  • Dictionary of Louisiana French as Spoken in Cajun, Creole, and American Indian Communities, senior editor Albert Valdman. ISBN 978-1-60473-403-4 Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2010.

External links

American French

American French (French: le français d'Amérique) is a collective term used for the varieties of the French language that are spoken in North America:

Canadian French

Quebec French

Ontario French

New England French

Métis French


Acadian French



Newfoundland French

Louisiana French

Louisiana Creole

Missouri French

Frenchville French

Muskrat French

Haitian French

Saint-Barthélemy French

Atchafalaya Basin

The Atchafalaya Basin, or Atchafalaya Swamp (; Louisiana French: L'Atchafalaya, [latʃafalaˈja]), is the largest wetland and swamp in the United States. Located in south central Louisiana, it is a combination of wetlands and river delta area where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico converge. The river stretches from near Simmesport in the north through parts of eight parishes to the Morgan City southern area.

The Atchafalaya is different among Louisiana basins because it has a growing delta system (see illustration) with wetlands that are almost stable. The basin contains about 70% forest habitat and about 30% marsh and open water. It contains the largest contiguous block of forested wetlands remaining (about 35%) in the lower Mississippi River valley and the largest block of floodplain forest in the United States. Best known for its iconic cypress-tupelo swamps, at 260,000 acres (110,000 ha), this block of forest represents the largest remaining contiguous tract of coastal cypress in the US.


The Cajuns (; Louisiana French: les Cadiens), also known as Acadians (Louisiana French: les Acadiens), are an ethnic group mainly living in the U.S. state of Louisiana, and in the Canadian maritimes provinces as well as Québec consisting in part of the descendants of the original Acadian exiles—French-speakers from Acadia (L'Acadie) in what are now the Maritimes of Eastern Canada. In Louisiana, Acadian and Cajun are often used as broad cultural terms without reference to actual descent from the deported Acadians. Today, the Cajuns make up a significant portion of south Louisiana's population and have exerted an enormous impact on the state's culture.While Lower Louisiana had been settled by French colonists since the late 17th century, the Cajuns trace their roots to the influx of Acadian settlers after the Great Expulsion from their homeland during the French and British hostilities prior to the Seven Years' War (1756 to 1763). The Acadia region to which modern Cajuns trace their origin consisted largely of what are now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island plus parts of eastern Quebec and northern Maine. Since their establishment in Louisiana, the Cajuns have developed their own dialect, Cajun French, and developed a vibrant culture including folkways, music, and cuisine. The Acadiana region is heavily associated with them.

Canadian French

Canadian French (French: français canadien) is the French language spoken in Canada. It includes the varieties of French used in Canada such as Quebec French. Formerly Canadian French referred solely to Quebec French and the closely related varieties of Ontario (Franco-Ontarian) and Western Canada—in contrast with Acadian French, which is spoken in some areas of eastern Quebec, New Brunswick (including the Chiac dialect), and some areas of Nova Scotia (including the dialect St. Marys Bay French). PEI and Newfoundland & Labrador have Newfoundland French.

In 2011, the total number of native French speakers in Canada was around 7.3 million (22% of the entire population), while another 2 million spoke it as a second language. At the federal level, it has official status alongside English. At the provincial level, French is the sole official language of Quebec as well as one of two official languages of New Brunswick, and jointly official (derived from its federal legal status) in Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. Government services are offered in French at select localities in Manitoba and Ontario (through the French Language Services Act) and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in the country, depending largely on the proximity to Quebec and/or French Canadian influence on any given region.

New England French (a dialect spoken in northern New England) is essentially a variety of Canadian French and exhibits no particular differences from the Canadian dialects, unlike Louisiana French and Louisiana Creole.

Cocodrie, Louisiana

Cocodrie is an unincorporated fishing, shrimping and crabbing village in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, United States, ten miles south of Chauvin and due south of the city of Houma. It is part of the Houma–Bayou Cane–Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area. The settlement is known for being very near the landfall location for Tropical Storm Matthew on October 10, 2004, and Hurricane Gustav on September 1, 2008.The name "Cocodrie" is an alternate spelling of the Louisiana French word "cocodril" which means "crocodile." It is a waterfront town, located due west of Grand Isle, on an inlet of another bay blocked by several barrier islands along the Gulf of Mexico.

Cocodrie is connected to Houma, due north, by Louisiana state highway 56. It is at the end of the highway. Most buildings in Cocodrie are now elevated on pilings to minimize flood damage.

Cocodrie is home to the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) W. J. DeFelice Marine Center, which was completed in 1986.[1]

Flag of Louisiana

The flag of Louisiana (French: Drapeau de la Louisiane) consists of a "pelican in her piety," the heraldic charge representing a mother pelican "in her nest feeding her young with her blood[,]" on an azure field with state motto reworded to "Union Justice Confidence." First adopted in 1912, it was last modified in 2010.

French language in the United States

The French language is spoken as a minority language in the United States. Roughly 2.07 million Americans over the age of five reported speaking the language at home in a federal 2010 estimate, making French the fourth most-spoken language in the nation behind English, Spanish, and Chinese (when Cajun, Haitian Creole and all other forms of French are included, and when Cantonese, Mandarin and other varieties of Chinese are similarly combined).Several varieties of French evolved in what is now the United States:

Louisiana French, spoken in Louisiana by descendants of colonists in French Louisiana

New England French, spoken in New England by descendants of 19th and 20th-century Canadian migrants

Missouri French, spoken in Missouri by descendants of French settlers in the Illinois Country

Muskrat French, spoken in Michigan by descendants of habitants, voyageurs and coureurs des bois in the Pays d'en Haut

Métis French, spoken in North Dakota by Métis peopleMore recently, French has also been carried to various parts of the nation via immigration from Francophone regions. Today, French is the second most spoken language (after English) in the states of Maine and Vermont, and the third most spoken (after English and Spanish) in the states of Louisiana, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.As a second language, French is the second most widely taught foreign language (after Spanish) in American schools, colleges and universities. While the overwhelming majority of Americans of French ancestry grew up speaking only English, some enroll their children in French heritage language classes.

Homer Plessy

Homer Adolph Plessy (March 17, 1862 – March 1, 1925) was a Louisiana French-speaking Creole plaintiff in the United States Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson.

Arrested, tried and convicted in New Orleans of a violation of one of Louisiana's racial segregation laws, he appealed through Louisiana state courts to the U.S. Supreme Court and lost. The resulting "separate but equal" decision against him had wide consequences for civil rights in the United States. The decision legalized state-mandated segregation anywhere in the United States so long as the facilities provided for both blacks and whites were putatively "equal".

The son of French-speaking creoles (Haitian refugees who fled the revolution), Homer Plessy was born on St. Patrick's Day in 1862, at a time when federal troops under General Benjamin Franklin Butler were occupying Louisiana as a result of the American Civil War and had liberated African Americans in New Orleans who had been in bondage but Plessy was a free person of color and his family came to America free from Haiti and France. Blacks could then marry whomever they chose, sit in any streetcar seat and, briefly, attend integrated schools.As an adult, Plessy experienced the reversal of the gains achieved under the federal occupation, following the withdrawal of federal troops in 1877 on the orders of U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes.Due to Plessy's phenotype being white, Plessy could have ridden in a railroad car restricted to people classified as white. However, under the racial policies of the time, he was an "octoroon" having 1/8th African-American heritage, and therefore was considered black. Hoping to strike down segregation laws, the Citizens' Committee of New Orleans (Comité des Citoyens) recruited Plessy to deliberately violate Louisiana's 1890 separate-car law. To pose a clear test, the Citizens' Committee gave notice of Plessy's intent to the railroad, which opposed the law because it required adding more cars to its trains.On June 7, 1892, Plessy bought a first-class ticket on a train from New Orleans and sat in the car for white riders only. The Committee had hired a private detective with arrest powers to take Plessy off the train at Press and Royal streets, to ensure that he was charged with violating the state's separate-car law and not some other misdemeanor.Everything that the committee had organized occurred as planned, except for the decision of the Supreme Court in 1896.

By then the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court had gained a more segregationist tilt, and the committee knew it would likely lose. But it chose to press the cause anyway, [author Keith] Medley said. 'It was a matter of honor for them, that they fight this to the very end.'

Kid Ory

Edward "Kid" Ory (December 25, 1886 – January 23, 1973) was a Louisiana French-speaking jazz trombonist and bandleader. He was born in Woodland Plantation, near LaPlace, Louisiana.


A lagniappe ( LAN-yap, lan-YAP) is "a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase" (such as a 13th doughnut on purchase of a dozen), or more broadly, "something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure."The word entered English from the Louisiana French adapting a Quechua word brought in to New Orleans by the Spanish Creoles.

Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana

The Office of Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana (French: Lieutenant-Gouverneur de la Louisiane) is the second highest state office in Louisiana. The current lieutenant governor is Billy Nungesser, a Republican.

Paul J. Hardy, who served from 1988 to 1992, was the first Republican in the position after the Reconstruction Era.

Louisiana (New France)

Louisiana (French: La Louisiane; La Louisiane française) or French Louisiana was an administrative district of New France. Under French control 1682 to 1762 and 1801 (nominally) to 1803, the area was named in honor of King Louis XIV, by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle. It originally covered an expansive territory that included most of the drainage basin of the Mississippi River and stretched from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Appalachian Mountains to the Rocky Mountains.

Louisiana included two regions, now known as Upper Louisiana (French: la Haute-Louisiane), which began north of the Arkansas River, and Lower Louisiana (French: la Basse-Louisiane). The U.S. state of Louisiana is named for the historical region, although it is only a small part of the vast lands claimed by France.French exploration of the area began during the reign of Louis XIV, but French Louisiana was not greatly developed, due to a lack of human and financial resources. As a result of its defeat in the Seven Years' War, France was forced to cede the east part of the territory in 1763 to the victorious British, and the west part to Spain as compensation for Spain losing Florida. France regained sovereignty of the western territory in the secret Third Treaty of San Ildefonso of 1800. But strained by obligations in Europe, Napoleon Bonaparte sold the territory to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, ending France's presence in Louisiana.

The United States ceded part of the Louisiana Purchase to the United Kingdom in the Treaty of 1818. This section lies above the 49th parallel north in a part of present-day Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Louisiana Creole

Louisiana Creole (kréyol la lwizyàn; French: créole louisianais), also called Louisiana French Creole, is a French-based creole language spoken by far fewer than 10,000 people, mostly in the state of Louisiana. Due to the rapidly shrinking number of speakers, Louisiana Creole is considered an endangered language.

Louisiana Creole people

Louisiana Creole people (French: Créoles de Louisiane, Spanish: Criollos de Luisiana), are persons descended from the inhabitants of colonial Louisiana during the period of both French and Spanish rule. The term creole was originally used by French settlers to distinguish persons born in Louisiana from those born in the mother country or elsewhere. As in many other colonial societies around the world, creole was a term used to mean those who were "native-born", especially native-born Europeans such as the French and Spanish. It also came to be applied to African-descended slaves and Native Americans who were born in Louisiana. Louisiana Creoles share cultural ties such as the traditional use of the French and Louisiana Creole languages and predominant practice of Catholicism.Starting with the native-born children of the French, then later the Spanish in Louisiana, 'Creole' came to be used to describe these Louisiana-born people of full European descent. Creole has its roots in Latin America meaning native-born. Creole was used casually as an identity in the 1700s in Louisiana. Starting in the very early 1800s in Louisiana, Creole began to take on a more political meaning and solid identity, especially for those of Latinate culture versus the newly arriving Americans from the Upper South and the North. In the early 19th century, amid the Haitian Revolution, thousands of refugees (both whites and free people of color from Saint-Domingue (affranchis or gens de couleur libres) arrived in New Orleans, often bringing their African slaves with them and essentially doubling the city's population. As more refugees were allowed in Louisiana, Haitian émigrés who had first gone to Cuba also arrived. These groups had strong influences on the city and its culture. Half of the white émigrė population of Haiti settled in Louisiana, especially in the greater New Orleans area. Later immigrants to New Orleans, such as Irish, Germans, and Italians, also married into the Creole groups. However, there was a sizable German creole group of full German descent, centering on the parishes of St. Charles and St. John the Baptist. Over time this group absorbed many French Creoles, who are Louisiana-born whites of colonial heritage. French Creoles made up the majority of white Creoles in Louisiana. Louisiana Creoles are mostly Catholic in religion. Throughout the 19th century, most Creoles spoke French and were strongly connected to French colonial culture. The sizeable Spanish Creole communities of Saint Bernard Parish and Galveztown spoke Spanish. The Malagueños of New Iberia spoke Spanish as well. The Isleños and Malagueños were Louisiana-born whites of creole heritage. (Since the mid-twentieth century, the number of Spanish-speaking Creoles has declined in favor of English speakers, and few people under 80 years old speak Spanish.) They have maintained cultural traditions from the Canary Islands, where their ancestors came from, to the present. However, just like the Spanish Creoles, native languages of all creole groups such as the French Creoles, German Creoles and Creoles of color, have declined over the years in favor of English. The different varieties of Louisiana's Creoles shaped the state's culture, particularly in the southern areas around New Orleans and the plantation districts. Louisiana is known as the Creole State.While the sophisticated Creole society of New Orleans which centered mainly on white Creoles such as the French creoles has historically received much attention, the Cane River area in northwest Louisiana, populated chiefly by Creoles of color, also developed its own strong Creole culture. Other enclaves of Creoles culture have been located in south Louisiana: Frilot Cove, Bois Mallet, Grand Marais, Palmetto, Lawtell, Soileau and others. These communities have had a long history of cultural independence. New Orleans also has had a historical population of Creoles of color as well. Another area where many creoles can be found is within the River Parishes, St. Charles, St. John, and St. James, as many white Creoles such as German Creoles and French Creoles have settled there. Most white Creoles are found in the greater New Orleans region, a seven parish-wide creole cultural area including Orleans Parish, St. Bernard Parish, Jefferson Parish, Plaquemines Parish, St. Charles Parish, St. Tammany Parish and St. John the Baptist Parish. Also, Avoyelles Parish and Evangeline Parish in Acadiana is home to a large white creole population of French descent, known as French Creoles.

New England French

New England French (French: français de Nouvelle-Angleterre) is a variety of Canadian French spoken in the New England region of the United States.New England French is one of the major forms of the French language that developed in what is now the United States, the others being Louisiana French and the nearly extinct Missouri French, Muskrat French and Métis French.

The dialect is the predominant form of French spoken in New England (apart from standard French), except in the Saint John Valley of northern Aroostook County, Maine, where Acadian French predominates.

The dialect is endangered. During the 1960s and 1970s some public schools would discipline students for speaking French in the classroom; however, in recent years it has seen renewed interest and is supported by bilingual education programs in place since 1987. A continuing trend of reduced bilingual and foreign-language education has impacted the language's prevalence in younger generations since 2010. However, cultural programs in recent years have led to renewed interest between older generations speaking the dialect and newly arrived refugee populations from Francophone Africa.

North Louisiana

North Louisiana (French: Louisiane du Nord) (also known locally as "Sportsman's Paradise", a name sometimes attributed to the state as a whole) is a region in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The region has two metropolitan areas: Shreveport-Bossier City and Monroe-West Monroe.

The northwestern portion of Louisiana is culturally and economically attached to Northeast Texas and Southwest Arkansas. Combined they comprise the Ark-La-Tex area as the northeastern portion of Louisiana, Southeast Arkansas, and Northwest Mississippi are known as the Ark-La-Miss. The Louisiana Central Hill Country, the hilly areas of LaSalle, Grant, Winn, Caldwell, Natchitoches, Jackson, and Bienville Parishes, extend into portions of North Louisiana's border with Central Louisiana (CenLa).

Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana

Plaquemines Parish (; French: Paroisse de Plaquemine, Louisiana French: Paroisse des Plaquemines) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census the population is 23,042. The parish seat is Pointe à la Hache. The parish was formed in 1807.Plaquemines Parish is part of the New Orleans–Metairie, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area. It was severely damaged in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005, and in hurricane events in 2011.

Republican Party of Louisiana

The Republican Party of Louisiana (French: Parti républicain de Louisiane) is the U.S. state of Louisiana's organization of the national Republican Party. The state chairman is Louis Gurvich, a businessman from New Orleans, who was elected on February 24, 2018. Since the late 20th century, white conservatives in the states have mostly shifted to the Republican Party from the Democratic Party. As of 2016, every statewide elected official in Louisiana, with the exception of the governor, is a Republican.

Varieties of French

Dialects of the French language are spoken in France and around the world. The francophones of France generally use Metropolitan French (spoken in Paris and considered standard) although some also use regional dialects or varieties such as Meridional French. In Europe outside France there are Belgian French, Swiss French, and in Italy Aostan French. In Canada, French is an official language along with English; the two main dialects of French in Canada are Quebec French and Acadian French, but also another dialect commonly grouped as Canadian French, used by Anglophones speaking French as a second language or by Francophones in Canada using a different dialect. In Lebanon, French was an official language until 1941 and the main dialect spoken there is Lebanese French or Levantine French. Note that the discussion here refers to varieties of the French language, not to the Romance sister languages (sometimes considered dialects) of French spoken in France (e.g. Picard, Limousin, Gascon, etc.; for these languages see: Langues d'oïl, Francoprovençal, Occitan and languages of France). See also French-based creole languages, which are also considered separate languages.

North America

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