Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"The American Experience"

While watching this film I was introduced to so much information that was interesting to me. I have to decided to focus on more than one chapter of the film in my response. The first part that really jumped out at me was the introduction to the Creole's and their background. I learned that Creole's are mostly urban living Roman Catholics  that speak French and share a "cultured enjoyment of life." I also noted the comparison to the Cajun people who are French Canadian immigrants that happened to settle in the Louisiana countryside. 
I was fascinated to learn about the graveyards and that the reason they are above ground is to keep the caskets from floating away. It also intrigued me that it was common to picnic in the cemetaries. One speaker said, "Cemetary has nothing to do with the dead and everything to do with the living," an interesting observation. 
  I was most interested and horrified by the segregation laws. I hadn't previously known about the "free people of color," or about the Reconstruction Constitution of 1868. It is devistating to learn how terrible it was for black people in New Orleans. My heart broke when I imagined the persecution that little Ruby Bridges went through when she attended William J. France Elementary.
It was interesting to learn about how things changed for the better with the invention of the wood pump. I'm glad that things have progressed in NO and and I won't have to fear Malaria due to a mosquito bite when i visit in June.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Brainstorming Essay Ideas:

My family, Uncle/Aunt/cousins/home/neighbors
---their lives post Katrina, Bay Saint Louis,
---the gulf, the beach, fishing/boating piers
Cajun Heritage, Creole Heritage, Compare/Contrast,
Cajun vs. Creole; heritage, background, culture, cuisine, language, communication, land,
Bayous; Baratarra, Noir, etc.
-hanging moss
-whats poisenous?
-voodoo practices/healing
-local people:
---specific bayou towns/villages
----fur trappers
Sugarcane plantations
-not working
Oak Ally Plantation
Plantation Houses
Quarter mile alley

Where I'm Headed

I am heading to New Orleans this June where I will be participating in a photo essay class with some of my peers. While in New Orleans I will be constructing a photographic essay of my time there. During my trip I hope to document many aspects of the bayou culture. Among my exploits I plan to gain a more in depth knowledge of Cajun and Creole cultural differences.
I plan to photograph bayous surrounding, but not limited to, New Orleans. I also plan to venture to Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi to visit some close family relatives. My aunt and uncle both have a cajun heritage that I plan to explore more thoroughly. My family also has Creole heritage, although not as dominant as the Cajun background.
I do not have a concrete plan for my trip, but I hope to take part in many cultural activities during the duration of my stay, such as Cajun festivals and bayou river tours.