Cajun & Creole Heritage
Thumb through any St. Landry Parish phone book and you’ll see surnames that indicate a gumbo of ethnicities – French, Spanish, German, African, Irish, Native American and more. Yet most residents celebrate their Cajun and Creole heritage.
Cajuns are descendants of the Acadians, who were evicted from the region of Nova Scotia in the mid-1700s, after their continued refusal to swear allegiance to the British crown. Many of these Acadian exiles landed in south Louisiana, where they blended with other groups to have a lasting impact on the state’s language, music and food.
Creole has numerous definitions that vary in different regions of the state, country and the world. But in St. Landry Parish, Creole mainly refers to descendants of slaves and free people of color. Many trace their lineage to the Caribbean and Africa.
Creoles have heavily influenced the region’s culture, especially with zydeco, the accordion-driven, dance music that now has fans across the globe. Accordionist Amédé Ardoin, a native Creole of St. Landry Parish, is widely regarded as a founding father of Cajun music and zydeco.