What Louisiana culture means to today’s generation

Although many historical Louisiana customs are still relevant today, the importance of Cajun and Creole traditions in south Louisiana are possibly beginning to lose significance as the generations come and go.

The way people communicate within their families and communities are exceptionally different from two generations ago. The grandparents of college-aged students today grew up with more simple methods of communication, allowing families and surrounding communities to become close knit. Today, traditions and customs valued generations ago are steadily fading away due to the way folks communicate today being faster and high-tech.

Many students in south Louisiana say most of their knowledge of French Louisiana culture comes to mind when thinking of their grandparents and great-grandparents. Victoria Cantrelle, junior History major from Galliano, talks about ways she uses some of the language picked up from being around her grandparents.

“Growing up I had a lot of family members that spoke Cajun French around me and a lot of their phrases I picked up on while growing up,” Cantrelle said. “One example is when someone says they get the chills, I find myself saying “des frissons” instead. It’s not something I realize until I am around someone who doesn’t understand what you meant.”

When asked about the influence of French language influence today, Cantrelle thought there was an obvious generational break.

“I feel as every generations goes on, the dialect and traditions around here dies a little bit because many people are just not in touch enough with the culture around them.” Cantrelle said. “ My parents know the languages, and some of my older cousins pick up on bits and pieces like me. My younger family members don’t know any and its not because they don’t care, but just because they are not exposed to it enough.”

This generation of Louisianans seems to not be too heavy on learning or passing on traditions of French Louisiana identity. Part of that may be because trying to figure out the differences and origin meanings of several Louisiana ethnical identities. In south Louisiana, it may be hard to gain a distinction between the many different cultures that meshed together overtime. Locals then do not have a clear understanding of why they eat, talk, live and view things the way they do.

According to an article called The Cajunization of French Louisiana: Forging a Regional Identity, academia uses the expression ‘the Louisiana French’ to speak about the French Louisiana population. It also adds that the words Creole and Cajun refer to traditional identities in the region, each having their own roots in the past.

The identity crisis between what is “Creole French” and “Cajun French” and just what exactly those two words mean is still being argued today. One thing that is for sure though is that although fading, the traditions learned from the many distinctive ethnical and cultural backgrounds still influence people today, whether pay attention to it or not.

The creole culture will persist, although the language might soon fade away. Things that connect Louisiana to Creole, Caribbean and Latin American cultures will remain in generations to come. The generation today should take more pride in being knowledgeable of Louisiana’s historically distinctive region, and the customs learned and passed over time. As long as there is a culture around the state that loves food, people, art and music, it is important to keep some of those rich, valued traditions alive and thriving for future generations.