The importance of our unique Cajun Culture


Photo by: Jeffery Miller

Like Bayou Lafourche, bayous are an important part of South Louisiana’s culture.

Although the Cajun culture may still be alive in South Louisiana, many people worry about it slipping away.

There is no doubt that South Louisiana is a unique culture filled with rich customs and traditions, but do we truly understand and appreciate this? There are two reasons why our special culture may be dying: growing of mass culture and land erosion.

It could be that mass culture in the United States has caused our Cajun culture to become unappreciated. This is not to say everyone in South Louisiana does not love where they come from, but there are some who have become somewhat annoyed with the notion of “different” culture we have here. What’s to blame for this? It could be the inaccurate perceptions the United States created of what Cajun culture actually is.

Mostly everyone has a stereotypical vision in their heads because of mass media that Louisianans might not be the smartest, eat seafood every day, drive boats to town and live right off the land. I guess one could say this is the image of the Cajun culture. Although there is some valid reasoning behind this type of perception, Cajun culture is more than just what people may see on television shows like Swamp People or Duck Dynasty. There is an actual deep embedment of family value and people filled with lively spirit. For example, it is rare to find someone who won’t smile at another stranger walking past them or even say hello for that matter, and the families here bond deeply. We also know how to have a good time.

The stereotypes of many in this country are far from true when it comes to our Cajun ways, which makes it understandable for us to become easily annoyed by them. Because of this annoyance, our culture can become unappreciated, but it shouldn’t be because to be a true Cajun is wonderful.

Along with our culture being lost to a mass medium, another problem is that the area is literally disappearing.

Sadly, Louisiana is losing between 25 to 35 square miles of wetlands per year. There are many causes of Louisiana’s land eroding. The main one being when the lower Mississippi River was laid with huge levees in order to help control the flooding of the river to protect communities, economic infrastructure and croplands, less sediment was able to build up. In decades to come, the coastal land will no longer be here, taking with it our wildlife, jobs, cities and most importantly, our culture.

If we haven’t taken time to care about the disappearing of our land, then we need to. It is crucial that we try to do the best we can to restore our land. If not, the beautiful ways of our Cajun Culture may be something that is only left in the past.

Let’s find ways to save our precious land in order for us to be who we truly are and to carry out our wonderful Cajun culture.