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i submit that "Race relations" would be better in southern Louisiana today if The United States had not bought it

Added: Tuesday, August 13th 2019 at 11:51pm by scenefromtheleft
Related Tags: new orleans, culture, books, racism

First of all, "race relations" is in quotations because race as it is often used is a word without a real meaning.  The fact is that humanity is one race....not several.  Because of the fact that globe is large and different climates provided in different sections of that globe, protective chemicals in the skin differ from one place to another.

Those in norhern Europe don't need as much protection from the sun, so people that come from that area are lighter in skin tone.  The people in more southern climes need more protection for the burning rays of Sol so of course product melanin and therefore are darker.  However regardless of skin tone, every person on the planet is the same species as every other human being.  That should be obvious by the fact that two people, regardless of skin tone, can product children with no difficulty.

Southern Louisana, especially New Orleans is a cosmopoliton city and always has been.  Unlike the areas to the east and north, the population here was from France and Spain and with inter-mingling already taking place with the Africans on the slave plantatino.  This started in The West Indies, and continued in Louisana.

The Spanish were Catholics and had different rules about life, including that of slaves.  For one thing, the Church decreed that slaves be given Sunday off, in order to worship.  That gave a day of freedom which they used partially to go to church, but to also get together in Congo Square here in New Orleans.  

What they did on Sunday afternoons in Congo Square was meet up, and conduct trade amongst themselves.  Often they would actually be able to earn money and use it to create little businesses.  This, and the fact that slave owners often would "farm out" slaves to different individuals and would let some of the slaves get money to buy their freedom.

Meanwhile, it was very common practice for the white plantation owners to have children by their slave women.  A famale wit of the day observed that every plantation woman knew why all her neightbors had slaves that looked like family members, except of course those in her own house.  Those were just mysteries that she had no explanation for.

Often these offspring would be freed.  Then, in the case of female offspring, they would then be involved in the practice of placage.  That was the practice many white men of the day had of having a wife and group of children to who the plantation or large estate would pass to.  However, he also a partially Black woman on the side, and often have children by her.  Some examples might look like this: A man owns a plantation and has a wife and several children.  However, at times, he leaves and goes to New Orleans, where he "sponsors" a good looking partially Black female, gives her a small cottage in town, and has a second family.

Placage is basically a system of comcubinery.  A situation sort of like Hagar and Abraham in the old testament.  Remember, the mother at this point is a "free woman of color".  There were even special parties where young women of mixed race were met and "taken on" by the white businessman/plantation owner.  It was called a quadroon ball.

There was, as a result, no real clear cut dividing line between two racial groups: white and black.  What New Orleans had instead was a tiered appoarch.  There were people that were obviously African, at least at first.  However, most people were a shade between.  Some others could hold claim to being entirely European but that group got harder and harder to be sure of because there was so much mingling, but also because many of these people that were "european" were hardly as pale as most Anglos, or as they were called in New Orleans Americains...by the french and Spanish.

To clarify, instead of Black and white, there were Black, Mulatto, and 2 or 3 other designations as the intermingling continued each generation.  Marie Laveau, the legendary Voodoo queen was a real person.  In some representations, she looks like she just stepped out of the African jungle.  That is NOT right.  She was a "free woman of color", was maybe 1/8, and possibly only 1/16 black and actually owned slaves herself.

Which brings up the very point.  In New Orleans, people of color, also called Creoles of color, were often among the richest in the city. There were equal to anybody else and often of superior station.  Something that was very rare in most of the other southern states.

Yes, there were obviously slaves and poor Black folks, but there were poor folks that for ll anybody knew were totally of european stock as well.  It was a class thing, NOT a race thing by any means.

In fact, it was the Anglos that brough the idea that somehow people with African blood should be inferior.  And that is why I picked the title.  Race was very much less of an issue under Spanish and French rule than under Anglo rule.

Which gives a whole new definition to the Southern Lousiana tradition of calling what are called medians most other places "neutral grounds."  Canal street is a mayor street here.  At one time down stream from Canal was the French Quarter and the Marigny.  Both areas were primary French and Spanish.  Above Canal was where the people coming in from the United States ended up.  The street was the dividing line.

For much of that time, Canal St really was the neutral ground because each side socialized only with each other.  They met on Canal to conduct business that involved the older population with those from the United States.  There was a certain degree of feeling that the Anglos were new comers and not quite New Orleanians.

Even today, New Orleans is often observed to 1. not really be a Southern city (at least not like Memphis or Atlanta...or certainly any smaller city or town in the south) and 2. not REALLY an American city, but having a more European or really Cosmopolitan vibe.  The city has people from all over the world...including somethng like 40,000 Palestinians.

User Comments

Things would have been different, much better in fact at least for 'race relations" if the United States had not bought louisiana.

Lots of Spanish people too, many of my relatives on my Dad's side are second and third generation immigrants and live somewhere around New Orleans.  My Dad made it in the 80's to visit them but I have yet to get there myself.  I would love to see New Orleans, I hope I get there one day.

I hope you do also.  It is a bit dirty in spots and we do have problems with potholes, but the atmosphere is very old-world....and civilized.  So much of the United States is sort of strait laced.....less so now, but that is one of the ways the city has always stood out.

There was a kind of exaggeration perhaps, but someone described it like this.  In the northeast, they were Puritans and spend sunday going to church and reading their bibles.  meanwhile in New Orleans, they were Catholic and spend sunday afternoon going to plays and concerts and enjoying life.

Oh and...The Spanish were somewhat darker than the "shine in the dark pale" that so many Anglos like myself are.  

I like old-world and civilized...I think I will like New Orleans...{#basic-laugh.gif}

The reason I didnt get to visit when I did my bucket list of the US is because I had limited time, limited and very overblown budget and if I got there and visited with my relatives on my dad's side, I would have been in trouble with my other relatives from my mom's side living on the west coast from Seattle in Washington State to San Diego in California.  I couldnt choose which of my relatives to visit so I chose not to visit any.  It was a "places" bucket list trip, not a "people" bucket list trip. {#basic-laugh.gif}

yep, my dad was not exactly a white "white" but he did have green eyes...{#basic-laugh.gif}


yeah, I understand about the last trip.  After the civil war, those concerned about "color" managed to include "even Spanards mixed with Arab" as being White.  Leaving the people with even one drop of African blood as being the only ones that were NOT white.

The craziest extent that they could come up with to manage to get one group made into second class citizens.  The whole thing was and is shameful.

I expect it's something the British dropped into the area, sadly we have always had xenophobia bubbling away under the surface.

The Brits and the influence they had on the United States, waaay back in the day.

I also think we are to blame for that nasty second amendment of yours, more apologies!

Now that one I am not so sure about. )

The one about guns?

I don't know if Britan is to blame for the 2nd amendment's twisted intrepretation that so many in this country hang on so vehemently to.

The war was with us, I believe that mad king George wouldn't allow you fire-sticks, which is why you have a 2nd amendment.

hmmm, maybe.  i remember it was about "taaxtopm without representation" and seems to have had something to do with tea.  Likely there was more to it.

I prefer coffee or wine :)

Anymore, I only drink water.  poor me...LOL

Indeed, I will drink for you dear.


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