Creole and Proud
Louisiana Creole people traditionally are descended from Haitian, French and Spanish colonial settlers in Louisiana. Before the Civil War, the term was used generally for those people exclusively of French and Spanish descent whose families were settled in Louisiana before the Louisiana Purchase. Most Creoles lived in the greater New Orleans area, both city and suburbs. The term was first used during colonial times by the settlers to refer to those who were born in the colony, as opposed to those born in the Old World. Many locals insist that in Louisiana, the word Créole then applied only to people of European descent. However references to "Creoles of Color" and even "Creole Slaves" can be found in Colonial era publications. In New Orleans' French Quarter, the word Creole is everywhere and refers to the culture of Creoles. Later the term became commonly also applied to those individuals of mixed heritage born in Louisiana. Both groups have common European heritage and in most cases are related to each other and share cultural ties.
Today, various types of Creoles exist in Louisiana. The former French Creoles are descendants of Europeans of French / Spanish descent in the New Orleans area; the term "Creoles of color", in use in the Colonial era but widely popularized in the 19th-century, came to refer to mixed-race people of African and European ancestry (primarily French and Spanish, although later of additional ethnicities) who were native before the Louisiana Purchase. Some Creoles of color may also have Native American heritage. Both groups of Creoles (European ancestry and Creoles of color) may have additional heritages, such as German, Irish or Italian, related to later immigrants. Most modern Creoles have family ties to Louisiana, particularly New Orleans; they are mostly Catholic in religion and through the nineteenth century, most spoke French and have had a major impact on the state's culture. (Taken from Wikipedia; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_Creole_people)
Which is what Louisiana school children learn in their Louisiana history class. However, I learned yesterday that the word has evolved in our day and time to any native born Louisianian is a Creole. So now I can proudly say I am a Cajun Creole.