Monday, November 20, 2006

A Tribute to My Louisiana Granny's

Just thought I'd share a bit of my Louisiana history. Because if you have not figured it out by now, I'm very proud of my native and culturally rich state of Louisiana.

This is a pic of my Maternal Grandmother as a teenager and she is still alive and well standing 5'8" at 86 years old living down in the Bayou of Louisiana. Talk about a fire cracker, with quick come backs and lots of wisdom!

Her father was a Creole from Natchitoches, Louisiana (where Steel Magnolia's was filmed) and her mother was half African American and half Blackfoot Indian from South Louisiana. My great-great grandmother was full blooded Blackfoot and lived to be 106 years old. (I've met both my great & great-great grandmothers)

Grandma went against all rules and married my grandfather a tall, humorous, proud African American man, "cool" and straight out of Hazelhurst, Mississippi. Of this union 10 children were born. Thus, my mother's blood line.

If you ever want a good read on French Louisiana heritage and culture "Cane River" would be one to start with.


Pictured here is my Paternal Granny, whom I'll never forget. I was 22 when she died and she too was a firecracker. Yep, I come from a family of firecrackers, pistols, shotguns. What ever you want to call them. They did not play!

Granny could never pronounce my name correctly, she would always say "Luchinda, com here sha ba-ba!"

A capitalist of her time, she owned a local grocery store and Juke Joint/Pool Hall and could barely speak proper English. (French Creole was her first language.) Every now and then she'd give us a cookie or two but for the most part, all of us grandchildren had to earn whatever we received.

Granny's great grandfather was from Haiti and he was known to be one of the first black families to own a phone (when others did not have one) in our small town area. He came over from Haiti via the banks of New Orleans and settled in a rural town called Soileau. Granny's mother was married to a Frenchman and my Granny married a Creole Frenchman hence my fathers Creole bloodline.

Frenchmen are non black and Creole Frenchmen are of mixed race, some also refer to Creoles as Mulatto, which I loathe because the word is derived from the word from "mulo", translated mule. Must our mixed race have such a negative connotation? Why do we have to be mules? That's a whole different subject, I digress, I'll blog about that one when my energy is up to par!

If it were not for the strength and struggles that I observed in these great women of my family I could have never become the woman I am today. These two are my Coretta Scott Kings!

"Amended"


Here are a few of my lineage Louisiana names:

Fontenot
Cezar
Guillory
Slate
Victorian

My South Louisiana Townships:
Lake Charles
Lafayette
Oberlin
Baton Rouge
New Orleans
Basile
Opelousas
Mamou
Soileau
Ville Platte
Plaisance
Eunice

My Favorite Louisiana Stuff

Festivals
Mardi Gras
Zydeco
Gumbo
Boudin
Crawfish
Any occasion (lol)

Surname of friends & relatives I grew up with:
Toussant
Thibadeaux
Boudreaux
Simeon
Fontenot
Boudreaux
Broussard
Carriere
Herbert (pronounced A-bear)
Guillory
Ledet
Leblanc

Favorite Plantation Homes
Cane River

Favorite Movies:
A Feast of All Saints-Creole History
Steel Magnolia's
Skeleton Key

Favorite Seasonings
Slap Ya Mamma
Fil'e

My new blog name has been change to "Creyole" in dedication to my dear grandmothers. A special thanks to them for passing down my strange hair type that bunches so easily and also, to my Granny for the mustache, I have to get a nice waxing every six weeks or so. LOL!!

Now, some of you can relate a why I gave my family the blog names below, here you go:

My Hubby - Beignet "French delicious doughnut sold at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans"
Son - Roux "the base for making a gumbo"
Daughter - Praline "famous Louisiana candy"
Me - Creyole "pronounced cre-ole"

Laissez le bon temps rouler! Translated "Let the Good Times Roll"

Read here for more on French Creoles!
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32 comments:

Veta said...

It's a great thing to be proud of one's background. I commend you on that. I am of Haitian decent and know some of my folks way back in the days left Haiti to occupy Louissiana. I have always been curious to learn more about the history, thanks for the recommendation to the book and the website. Those should be a great start.

brunsli said...

You look just like your maternal grandmother! The secret of why you're so beautiful is out!

I really enjoyed reading this post and learning more about your heritage. :)

Anonymous said...

Your grandmothers are both beautiful! I agree you favor your maternal grandmother. I've always been interested in knowing my heritage. I think coming from the south, we are all mixed in some way. I am making it my resolution to collect all old photos of my family.

Wanda said...

I always find it interesting to learn about other's history. I'm also from LA, although my family is not Creole. My stepfather is from Lafayette, though and it was really interesting to meet his family and hang out with that bunch of Creole. Such beautiful people and history. Thanks for sharing.

Chosen Vessel said...

This was one of my favorite post on your blog. You have a rich history. Thank you for sharing something so near and dear to your heart with us.

I have been always wanting to research my background, my maternal grandmother is also Creole but no one in my family seems to have much information past my grandmother and unfortunately she is no longer alive. You have encouraged me to re-visit my history. A website that I plan to start with is www.myheritage.com do you have any other suggestions?

Thanks,
Abena

Anonymous said...

Hello my Creole Sister! I'm so glad you posted so much info on our people for folks to learn about. My dad's family being from New Orleans, I think we all tend to get a little internalized and forget we have to explain some things, except when there are others outside the family.;-) It's nice to know someone else got saddled with the mixture of hair textures on one head (isn't locking interesting with that?) and the moutache:-( -Mme. Dugars

Sister-in-Locks said...

Nice post about your family history. I enjoyed reading about it and knowing more about you adn where that beauty comes from.

KDL said...

This is such a wonderful post about your family's heritage. I really enjoyed it, reminds me a bit of my own family's lineage. Lousiana is like a second home for me and my Creole folks. Now you got me thinking about something... I never drew a parallel between the multiple textures and what my DH calls, "the stash". It was something I inherited from my grandmother too. Also, I must agree that Cane River is a must read. It is one of my personal favorites.

Thanks for sharing my Sisterlocked, Creole, SDA Sista!

locizm said...

WOW, how interesting. This past weekend while my consultant was doing my hair, she shared a movie that introduced me to the Creoles of LA. The movie began in Haiti with a revolt that took place around 1908. It depicted the mindset of the Creole women who moved to LA. Thank you for sharing your rich LA history! As brunsli mentioned, you look just like your maternal grandmother....beautiful :-).

still waters said...

Hey Creyole(I like that)

This was a really nice post! I enjoyed reading it and just goes to show we need to know our history in order to know where we are going. Thanks for sharing!!!

one love still

still waters said...

ps I agree you look like your maternal Gandmother a lot.

one love still

BlaqKofi said...

What a wonderful post and homage to your grandmothers. It is important to remember those in our lives who have made us who we are. It's a blessing that you can so proudly trace your lineage and pass it on to your children. Thanks for sharing an intimate part of you with us.

Anonymous said...

Like many have said, you do look a lot like you maternal grandmother. I love when people can dig into their history and applying it to their lives as in your case. I love the comment "to my Granny for the mustache, I have to get a nice waxing every six weeks or so." Gotta love the gene pool, the good, the bad & the ugly. LOL

Did anyone in you family practice Voodoo with reference to your Haitian side? I find the practice really interesting.

Peace,
Bygbaby

Creyole's Sisterlock Exodus said...

Thanks everyone for you comments on my granny, I really enjoyed writing this post.

Bygbaby,
Oh my...I was trying not to go there but hey, I think I'm going to blog
about that one. To answer your question, yes we had lots of
indirect/ignorance of VooDoo things happening in our family. I just may
elaborate this weekend.

Chocolata said...

Creyole,

What an awesome and fascinating post. You're very fortunate to be able to know your family's history and lineage so far back. Both of your grandmothers are beautiful but I have to agree, both you and your daughter most favor your maternal grandmother.

Thank you for sharing.

lynda-in-ny said...

Hey, LaChanda. My husband's family is from Alabama and he has relatives who are a mixture of African stock and Blackfoot Indian. I have Cherokee ancestors and it has also influenced my hair texture as well as its difficulty locking.

Maryee said...

Beautiful post on your heritage Creyole!! Thanks for sharing.

Ritagirl said...

I think its great that you were able to find out so much of your family history. I can't get any info past my own grnadparents... it's like the older generation just doesn't want to release that info or something!

*Nea said...

I am just as proud of my southern roots as well, I have a tatoo of a peach on my ankle, I'm from Georgia. I'm glad I finally found you, I'll be updating my blog soon but have been so busy with the holiday, I love your blog and almost screamed when I couldn't find it! Your family history is so intriguing, due to slavery so much of our identities have been lost in the wind, it is great to see that your history has not been lost or forgotten, you come from a long line of beautiful women.

Jeri said...

Great post, Creyole. I just returned from New Orleans a few weeks ago. We visited Cafe du Monde and ate beignets and one of the praline shops, too (the one with the "slave" on the logo). In any case, both were delicious.

My grandmother is from Columbia, LA (near Monroe) so I'm grateful that I get a true taste of creole cooking when she's in the mood.

It's wonderful that you've been able to research your roots!

golden_08 said...

Just like everyone else said...you look just like your MGM. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

CloudNine said...

I really love this post it! I love the fact that you can trace so much of your hertiage. I loved Cane River both that and Eve's Bayou always remind me of my mother and my own hertiage. Thanks for such a wonderful post!

Detra said...

I admire the fact that you know and embrace your hertiage so well. That certainly explains why you are so well grounded! You resemble your maternal grandmother very much! You got lip hair too? Never knew that! So, hook me up with where you get your wax from! I've never had a wax , but the time has come!

Creyole's Sisterlock Exodus said...

Thanks again everyone!!!

Detra, you are too funny, girl I frequent Nordstrom' every six weeks to have my waxing done...lip and chin. It's getting scary!!!

jaiDalon said...

excellent post! Do you speak fluent French?

Creyole's Sisterlock Exodus said...

Jaidalon,
Nope, my family only spoke it when they did not want us to know what they were saying. And us teens were so ashamed of our family talking differently from other folks that we didn't really care to learn it. So, I only know the bad words.

I look back and now I'm ashamed of how ignorant were.

Anonymous said...

Creyole,
This is great history. I am also from Louisiana. My father was Creole. He was about 6'4" 250+ lbs, wavy hair and green eyes. (I miss him so much.) I was and still "Daddy's Girl". I am very familiar with the food and the names. I went to GSU, and spent more time in New Orleans than was "legal" for me dring those days. I love your blog and all of your entries. I think I was in that same shop with the chicken feet, sanke skins etc. I had the same reaction -- I ran like hell to get out and the tiny hairs on my body were also standing. Very Eerie. I'm also familar with the Natchitouches Christmas lights. Gurl, we got a lot in common. Who knows, we share a blood line.
Take Care my Sista and Thanks for sharing.

Creyole's Sisterlock Exodus said...

Anon,
Yes, we do have things in common, so we must keep in touch to share more heritage.

Kimani said...

Hello Creyole,

I love your hair one day I will take that SL journey. My sister's married name is Fontenot, where in LA are you all from. My mother also was born and raised in Caddo Parrish in Shreveport... Small world, big plantations...

Peace and Blessings

Kimani2

Anonymous said...

I LIKE YOUR BLOG I AM OF CREOLE HERITAGE AND MY SURNAME IS BROUSSARD. IVE NEVER BEEN TO LA BUT WISH TO GO SOMEDAY MY FAMLIY IS FROM NEW IBERIA ETC...I AM NOT FAMILAR WITH MY FAMILY IN LA OR TX AND WISH TO KNOW THEM . BUT DUE TO THE COLOR OF MY SKIN ( DARK SKIN )MY PARTERNAL GRANDMOTHER WILL NOT MEET ME . BUT THAT IS HER ISSUE NOT MINE. LOL!!!
LIKE YOUR SL MY MOTHER HAS DREADS THINKIING OF GETTING SL BUT MY HAIR HAS A WAVE AND CURL TO IT NOT SURE IT WILL WORK WELL.
JUST CROSSED YOUR PATH AND LEARNED ALOT FROM YOUR BLOG ABOUT THE CREOLE HISTORY IVE NEVER KNEW.
REMEMBER Philippians 4:13


CALIRAREBREED@YAHOO.COM

Marcell Lewis said...

Bonjou...My name is Jeremy Lewis...my family is french creole This blogg was very refreshing and gave me the energy to continue with my family tree...(ton grandmere cest tres belle!!!!)
We descended from the Guillory family that married the Baham family of madisonville, La
We are the
Lewis (Louis)
Baham
Guillory
Heisser
Goree
Maxent
Mazet
Sylvas
I'm from California but grew up with my creole grandparents. So i had alot of exposure to louisiana ways of life like Beans and rice for instance..lol
Gumbo...jambalaya this was dinner for me most nights...had no idea this was a tradition or meant anything to them ...i was just hungry! Plus both sides of my family mostly hail from some part of Louisiana so eeeverybody cooked beans N rice, gumbo , dirty rice, proud creole noir, passe blancs,geechie folk,cat fish frys all right here in cali...this blogg brought back good memories
Plus bon temps!

"Je suis un creole gen de colour !!!

Marcell Lewis said...

Bonjou...My name is Jeremy Lewis...my family is french creole This blogg was very refreshing and gave me the energy to continue with my family tree...(ton grandmere cest tres belle!!!!)
We descended from the Guillory family that married the Baham family of madisonville, La
We are the
Lewis (Louis)
Baham
Guillory
Heisser
Goree
Maxent
Mazet
Sylvas
I'm from California but grew up with my creole grandparents. So i had alot of exposure to louisiana ways of life like Beans and rice for instance..lol
Gumbo...jambalaya this was dinner for me most nights...had no idea this was a tradition or meant anything to them ...i was just hungry! Plus both sides of my family mostly hail from some part of Louisiana so eeeverybody cooked beans N rice, gumbo , dirty rice, proud creole noir, passe blancs,geechie folk,cat fish frys all right here in cali...this blogg brought back good memories
Plus bon temps!

"Je suis un creole gen de colour !!!