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Photo of Cajun musicians, 1938
Farm Security Administration photographer Russell Lee documented Creole and Cajun culture in 1938

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Louisiana Folklife Festival
A Local Legacy

Louisiana has a heritage of many cultures, nationalities and ethnic groups, including Cajuns and Creoles. Do you know where Cajuns came from? The Cajuns in Louisiana are descendants of the French-speaking Acadians of Canada. Acadia is an early name for the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. The Acadians were expelled after the French lost the colony in 1755. A Creole is a person of mixed French or Spanish and African descent.

In Monroe, Louisiana, each September, visitors can see all kinds of traditional Louisiana crafts, hear music and storytelling, watch dancing and try local foods at the Louisiana Folklife Festival. There's even a Kids Stage, where young people perform.

Because of Louisiana's location by the Gulf of Mexico, seafood is easily available. Seafood is used in many of the dishes that can be sampled at the Festival, whether cooked in a Native American, Creole, Cajun, or African American style. In addition to location, history has played a big role in the foods of Louisiana. The state that is now Louisiana has been a territory of France, Spain, and Great Britain, and was even briefly an independent country! Have you ever eaten such spicy, delicious seafood creations as gumbo, jambalaya or crawfish boil? If you have the opportunity, try some!

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