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This collection of six original essays explores the peculiar ethnic composition and history of New Orleans, which the authors persuasively argue is unique among American cities. The focus of Creole New Orleans is on the development of a colonial Franco-African culture in the city, the ways that culture was influenced by the arrival of later immigrants, and the processes that led to the eventual dominance of the Anglo-American community.
Essays in the book's first section focus not only on the formation of the curiously blended Franco-African culture but also on how that culture, once established, resisted change and allowed New Orleans to develop along French and African creole lines until the early nineteenth century. Jerah Johnson explores the motives and objectives of Louisiana's French founders, giving that issue the most searching analysis it has yet received. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, in her account of the origins of New Orleans' free black population, offers a new approach to the early history of Africans in colonial Louisiana.
The second part of the book focuses on the challenge of incorporating New Orleans into the United States. As Paul F. LaChance points out, the French immigrants who arrived after the Louisiana Purchase slowed the Americanization process by preserving the city's creole culture. Joesph Tregle then presents a clear, concise account of the clash that occurred between white creoles and the many white Americans who during the 1800s migrated to the city. His analysis demonstrates how race finally brought an accommodation between the white creole and American leaders.
The third section centers on the evolution of the city's race relations during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Joseph Logsdon and Caryn Cossé Bell begin by tracing the ethno-cultural fault line that divided black Americans and creole through Reconstruction and the emergence of Jim Crow. Arnold R. Hirsch pursues the themes discerned by Logsdon and Bell from the turn of the century to the 1980s, examining the transformation of the city's racial politics.
Collectively, these essays fill a major void in Louisiana history while making a significant contribution to the history of urbanization, ethnicity, and race relations. The book will serve as a cornerstone for future study of the history of New Orleans.
|Pt. I||The French and African Founders|
|1||Colonial New Orleans: A Fragment of the Eighteenth-Century French Ethos||12|
|2||The Formation of Afro-Creole Culture||58|
|Pt. II||The American Challenge|
|3||The Foreign French||101|
|4||Creoles and Americans||131|
|Pt. III||Franco-Africans and African-Americans|
|5||The Americanization of Black New Orleans, 1850-1900||201|
|6||Simply a Matter of Black and White: The Transformation of Race and Politics in Twentieth-Century New Orleans||262|
Posted August 8, 2006
This book presents an excellent description of the cultural, social and political dynamics that gave rise to present day New Orleans, and does so concisely. It is nuanced with anecdotes that describe certain people customs and terminology that I was not aware of growing up in New Orleans. As an historical piece it avoids being overly stodgy so most of the reading goes smoothly. I have quoted several portions o the book in my family newsletter to make historical points and use it often to verify issues that come up in conversation or reading. The book provides informative views of the city at various places along a timeline from it¿s inception to modern times. It offers excellent snapshots of historical figures, particularly from black and Creole communities, many of whom we have forgotten or never learned about. If you¿d like to know what made New Orleans such a unique city you should read this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.