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Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana on August 29, In the aftermath of the hurricane, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries LDWF staff organized trips to the coastal parishes to try to better understand what had happened and to generate a plan for recovery assistance.
In St. Bernard Parish, they were hoping to assist seafood communities. LDWF staff interviewed fishermen at Violet Canal, a safer inland location where fishermen stored their boats during storms. The fishermen were checking over their boats and making repairs to motors. This essay is a comment on what the lower St. At the time of the American Revolution, when Spain held dominion over Rich woman Palmetto Louisiana, she developed a major plan to Rich woman Palmetto Louisiana the new province.
Spain provided Canary Islanders, among others, safe passage across the Atlantic. In Louisiana, they received land, farm tools, a house, and a monthly stipend. From -approximately 2, Spanish Canary Islanders arrived in New Orleans: men, women, children, and infants. Louisiana Governor Bernardo de Galvez arranged for their settlement. He positioned the newcomers at four strategic sites surrounding the port of New Orleans to defend Spain's Gulf trade routes from the English.
Moving counter-clockwise around the city, the villages were Amite, Donaldsonville, Barataria, and St. Bernard Village. The governor planned for the islanders to sustain themselves as small farmers. Cultivating the rich soil of the Delta, the Canary Islanders produced vegetable and fruit crops. Life was good, however, families also faced challenges posed by annual flooding of the Mississippi River, storm surges from the Gulf of Mexico, pestilence and disease.
Three of the four villages blended with other Rich woman Palmetto Louisiana groups that settled in the area. This left St. Bernard Village as the single Spanish Canary Island settlement in Louisiana that retained the Spanish language and in which the Spanish Canary Island culture dominated.
As the plantation economy came into its own in Louisiana, sugar planters began to purchase the riverfront property from the Spanish Canary Islanders. During this era, family farms and sugar plantations thrived in St. Bernard Parish. As the sugar trade developed, some Canary Island families moved eastward from St. Bernard Village to an even more remote location. And they called Delacroix, the heart of their culture, The Island.
Their folk arts included lace making, furniture building, wood carving of song birds and ducks, and palmetto weaving, among others. They also learned the crafts necessary to manage the hunting and fishing trades, including boat building, paddle carving, and inventing and reinventing all kinds of gear. There was no doubt in their minds that living in isolation meant that each of them was needed to solve day-to-day challenges, such as building homes and feeding everyone. It was these values that kept them sailing when harsh elements threatened to sink the boat.
The ocean tides, cycles of the moon, winds, and water salinity contributed to production of abundant, high-quality seafood and game. However, from year to year, these forces changed. And so, as generous as the delta could be, it could also be niggardly. Living on the coast was always a gamble. In the early days, there was a sailboat in front of every palmetto-thatched home. The wetlanders worked only at nearby forests and bays and simply caught enough to feed their families; it was a subsistence economy.
By the s, folks began catching a surplus, more than what was needed to sustain their families. They evolved into Mom and Pop Traders. That is, they started to run small family businesses. They became better organized and had regular routes to fishing and hunting grounds, as well as nearby markets, the largest being New Orleans. They grew more secure in their identity not just as hunters and fishermen, but as providers for themselves and the city of New Orleans. But as always, they were exposed to seasonal Gulf of Mexico storms. Hurricanes bore down on the Louisiana coast frequently, even yearly, especially during the months of August, September and October.
Inone of the deadliest hurricanes to ever make landfall in Louisiana struck Jefferson Parish, an area west of St. Bernard on the other side of New Orleans. Strong family ties, community reciprocity, and their cultural traditions brought them back from the brink, so to speak. Their folk arts, crafts of their trades, and adaptations for hunting and fishing staid their mettle. In Delacroix, they sang together after a day's work, to celebrate weddings, or to entertain themselves after a big meal at a friend's home. None of these songs were written down and the singers did not necessarily read music.
Indications are that the popularity of this singing and composing tradition was heightened in the s. Boy Molero was a conceited young shrimper. He was competitive - always claiming to out-do everyone else, whether it was with the best crew, the best catch, or the best boat. A few lines follow.
It was four in the morning.
All Boy's crew standing by. At six the next day, they still weren't all on board. When Boy went out fishing for that school of shrimp, it took him a month and seven days to bring together his nets. When Boy turns on the lights out in the middle of the sea, everything lights up, as bright as Canal Street.
Boy had a boat built and it was pretty long: when the bow is here in Delacroix, the stern'll be in Chepitula! In Spanish, of course, the lyrics rhyme. When the trend to wear fur escalated among Americans, Mom and Pop Traders profited tremendously. They caught record s of mink, beaver, and especially muskrat. With extra income, they raised their standard of living and, thus, may be aptly called Modern Mom and Pop Traders. They replaced sail power with gasoline powered motors, drove trucks instead of mule carts, and built more homes of wood rather than thatched palmettos. Most important to their cultural lives, they built dance halls Rich woman Palmetto Louisiana each village.
Dance halls also strengthened their survival skills: strong family ties and community reciprocity. Every Saturday night, parents, children, teenagers, grandparents, infants - everyone - went to the dance. Dance contests were open to all ages and proud winners showed off their prizes. New Orleans bands played at the dance halls until midnight, then the community sat down for a meal.
Home cooked Spanish dishes like caldos vegetable stewspaella seafood and ricestuffed merliton, and rice pudding were popular, as were Louisiana dishes like seafood gumbo, roasted duck, and red fish courtbouillon. After dinner the singing began.
However, on Saturday nights at the dance halls, everyone spoke Spanish, sang in Spanish, and told jokes in Spanish. Their language was a source of pride. Outside of Rich woman Palmetto Louisiana dance halls, life repeated a familiar pattern: hardship at the hand of natural forces and the struggle to recover. The damage to these communities was intensified by the diversion of flood waters into lower St. Bernard Parish, a tactical move to preserve the city of New Orleans.
Some families moved to northern St. Bernard Parish and took day jobs. Beginning in the s, some ed on for more reliable employment in the new oil and gas sector. About the same time, ro and public education introduced many new people to lower St. Those who returned after the flood began hunting, trapping, fishing and shrimping again.
They also rebuilt the dance halls, where cultural traditions thrived through the s. Steel hulled boats, monofilament nets, and hydraulic power replaced hand-crafted gear and muscle power. Modernization disrupted family ties. Men and boys could now work on the water for weeks at a time.
They returned home for short breaks and headed out again. A life based on coastal natural forces was undermined by interests and oil and gas operations that required digging extensive channels through the marsh. This disturbed the ecology and displaced some of the wildlife and fisheries there.
The storm devastation was immense. After Betsy, it was, once again, a difficult road back in lower St. Eventually, the large shrimp and oyster trade families returned. Some people still spoke Spanish, but only at home. Home cooks were still famous for Spanish Louisiana hot dishes, but there were fewer and fewer family Sunday dinners.
The Dance Hall Era had faded in the late s and Betsy blew down the last hall. After Betsy, the daily experience in lower St. In the s, Frank Fernandez, the St. While traditional daily life could not be resurrected, the food, language and songs could be given renewed visibility.
Folk art, as well as crafts of the trades, Rich woman Palmetto Louisiana be displayed and better appreciated. It was a revitalization movement. It featured local foods, folk arts and crafts of their trades. A host of resourceful community members were supported financially by parish political leaders and the Canary Island government itself. As their relationship with the Canary Islanders solidified, choruses and dance troupes from the homeland began performing in St.
In the s, two major clubs evolved out of the original group meeting in Delacroix. Bernard Village as an office and staging area. Among other activities, members had 18 th century folk attire custom-made, learned traditional folk dances and performed around the state.Rich woman Palmetto Louisiana
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