.. and donation of freedom, slaves sometimes earned freedom for meritorious service in battle or saving the life of their masters. A significant amount of slaves became free because they were the children of white native born and European fathers who sometimes openly acknowledged their mixed offspring and who also usually freed the mother of their children. It would be several generations before mulatto, quadroon, and octoroon women would become the common-law wives and mistresses of white men. The reason for the high number of f.p.c.
in New Orleans was largely due to the influx of Haitian Refugees into the city in 1809. Approximately 10,000 people arrived in New Orleans with roughly a third being f.p.c., another third slaves, and the remaining were white. By the eve of the Civil War in 1860, the reported total population for f.p.c. in Louisiana was 18,647 people with the majority being in New Orleans with a census tally of 10,689 people. Free People of Color were highly skilled craftsmen, business people, educators, writers, planters, and musicians. Many free women of color were highly skilled seamstresses, hairdressers, and cooks while some owned property and kept boarding houses.
Some f.p.c. were planters before and after the Civil War and owned slaves. Although shocking and incomprehensible to many people today, the fact that some f.p.c. owned slaves must come to light. CROLEAN SOCIETY: In eighteenth century Louisiana, the term Creole referred to locally born persons, regardless of status or race, and was used to distinguish American-born slaves from African-born slaves when they testified in court and on inventory lists of slaves.
They were identified simply as Creoles if they were locally born, or Creoles of another region or colony if they had been born elsewhere in the Americas of non-American ancestry, whether African or European. However, due to the racial and cultural complexity of colonial Louisiana, native Americans who were born into slavery were sometimes described as “Creoles” or “born in country.” After the United States took over Louisiana, the Creole cultural identity became a means of distinguishing who was truly native to Louisiana from those that were Anglo. Creole has to come mean the language and folk culture which native to the southern part of Louisiana where African, French, and Spanish influence were most deeply rooted historically and culturally. The language too, represents these traits, whereas the vocabulary of Louisiana Creole is overwhelmingly French in origin, its grammatical structure is largely African. The early creation of the Louisiana Creole language and its widespread use among whites as well as blacks up until World War II is strong evidence for the strength of the African ingredient in Louisiana Creole culture.
The widespread survival of Louisiana Creole until very recent times and its use by whites of various social positions as well as by blacks and mixed-bloods had, no doubt, a great impact upon Africanizing Louisiana culture. The Louisiana Creole language became an important part of the identity, not only of African-Creoles, but of many whites of all classes who, seduced by its rhythm, intoxicating accent, humor and imagination, adopted it as their preferred means of communication. There is still a significant number of whites who only speak Louisiana Creole. MARDI GRAS: Many locals begin with a party on January 6 that includes a King Cake, a cake baked in the shape of a large doughnut, covered with icing and colored sugar of green, gold, and purple, the traditional Mardi Gras colors. Purple represents justice, green representing faith, and gold representing power. Inside the cake is a tiny plastic baby, meant to represent the Baby Jesus.
Whoever gets the piece with the baby is crowned King or Queen .. and is expected to throw a party on the following weekend. Parties with King Cake continue each weekend until Mardi Gras itself finally arrives. The name Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday in French. The day is known as Fat Tuesday, since it is the last day before Lent. Lent is the season of prayer and fasting observed by the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian denominations during the forty days and seven Sundays before Easter Sunday. Easter can be on any Sunday from March 23 to April 25, since the exact day is set to coincide with the first Sunday after the full moon following the Spring Equinox. Mardi Gras occurs on any Tuesday from February 3 through March 9.
The Gregorian calendar, setup by the Catholic Church, determines the exact day for Mardi Gras. The celebration started in New Orleans around the seventeenth century, when Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, Sieur de Bienville, and Pierre LeMoyne, Sieur de Iberville founded the city. In 1699, the group set up camp 60 miles south of the present location of New Orleans on the river’s West Bank. They named the site Point du Mardi Gras in recognition of the major French holiday happening on that day, March 3. The late 1700’s, saw pre-Lenten balls and fetes in the infant New Orleans.
The masked balls continued until the Spanish government took over and banned the events. The ban even continued after New Orleans became an American city in 1803. Eventually, the predominant Creole population revitalized the balls by 1823. Within the next four years, street masking was legalized. But it must be remembered that although costumes are worn for both, Mardi Gras is not Halloween. Gore and mayhem may work for All Hallow’s Eve, but for Mardi Gras, glamour is de rigour.
Feathers, beads, glitter, spangles — all work well on Mardi Gras. Tuxedoes, ball gowns, and boas work. Fake blood and Freddie Krueger gloves do not. The early Mardi Gras consisted of citizens wearing masks on foot, in carriages, and on horseback. The first documented parade in 1837 was made of a costumed revelers. The Carnival season eventually became so wild that the authorities banned street masking by the late 1830’s.
This was an attempt to control the civil disorder arising from this annual celebration. This ban didn’t stop the hard core celebrators. By the 1840’s, a strong desire to ban all public celebrations was growing. Luckly, six young men from Mobile saved Mardi Gras. These men had been members of the Cowbellians, a group that performed New Years Eve parades in Mobile since 1831.
The six men established the Mystick Krewe of Comus, which put together the first New Orleans Carnival parade on the evening of Mardi Gras in 1857. The parade consisted of two mule-driven floats. This promoted others to join in on this new addition to Mardi Gras. Unfortunately, the Civil War caused the celebration to loose some of its magic and public observance. The magic returned along with several other new krewes after the war.
Rituals and traditions have also evolved with non-krewe members as well. Those in the heart of Carnival often begin their celebrating on January 6, and don’t let up until Ash Wednesday , remember, Mardi Gras is the peak of the Carnival Season, but it ‘s only one day. Therefore, New Orleans has officially established Lundi Gras on the Monday before Fat Tuesday because no one can get any work done as of the Friday before anyway. NEAT FACT: Senegambia, where I noted earlier that a lot of the original blacks had come from, had long been a crossroads of the world where peoples and cultures were assimilated in warfare and the rise and fall of great empires. An essential feature of the cultural materials brought from Senegambia as well as from other parts of Africa was a willingness to add and incorporate useful aspects of new cultures encountered. This attitude was highly functional in a dangerous and chaotic world.
New Orleans became another crossroads where the river, the bayous and the sea were open roads; where various nations ruled but the folk continued to reign. They turned inhospitable swamplands into a refuge for the independent, the defiant, and the creative “unimportant” people who tore down all the barriers of language and culture among peoples throughout the world and continue to sing to them of joy and the triumph of the human spirit.Put your paper here.