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Jambalaya Magazine

The Creole/Cajun Publication

Sledge Grits Band

French Revitalization | Authentic Creole Cuisine | Tracing Ancestry Tips Louisiana’s Traiteurs

Spring 2013


contents Our Stories: Creole West Productions......................... 5-6 Recipe...................................................... 9 The Sledge Grits Band!............................ 10-13 Laying of Hands....................................... 14-15 Fashion for Now....................................... 17-19 Faith......................................................... 20-22 How to Uncover Your Family History..... 24-25 Louisiana French is Alive and Well!.........26-29 My Life in Northern Louisiana................ 30-31


Shemica, Anthony, & Elroy Johnson

Bonjour (as many say in Louisiana),

I hope this issue of the Jambalaya Magazine finds you in good health as we move into the spring months. I am excited to get this issue into your heads and local stores in Louisiana. We have undergone a name change but remain apart of the iamcreole brand. We are still focused on bringing you the best Louisiana has to offer, whether you live in Central Louisiana or Kansas City, we got you covered. In this issue, we take a look at different aspects of Louisiana. We have stories about life in North Louisiana and Creole based education programs in Southeast Louisiana. We also take the time to know an all girl Creole band, The Sledge Grits Band (as seen on BET’s 106 & Park) these California girls will capture your hearts with their talent. We also have a tasty recipe, fashion tips for the Spring season and so much more. We continue to focus on bringing the best in FAITH. HERITAGE. CULTURE. to our readers nationally. We are excited for this issue and the direction of the magazine in 2013. We are already in the planning stages for the summer issue, if you have not subscribed to this magazine do so via our new website: We hope you continue to spread the word  about this magazine engulfed in the Creole/Cajun/Louisiana culture. 4

In saying this, I want to give a shout out to Nykeshia Bryer a south Louisiana native from St. Helena Parish. She is currently a first year teacher, working to educate the children in her home community. She is also one of the most critical parts of us choosing “The Jambalaya Magazine” as our new name change. We couldn’t be prouder than to have a South Louisiana native help lead this magazine in a new exciting direction, keep it up Nykeishia!


God Bless, Elroy Johnson – Editor & Founder Thanks to our staff: Graphic Designer: Charlesha Anderson Writers: Gabrielle Smallwood, Jamie Mayes, Valerie Broussard Boston, Whitney Dabney, Julia Dumas, Dana Rodrigue, Sue Heldenbrand Photographer: Courtney Laddimore Dedication: This issue is dedicated to my siblings Anthony & Shemica (the far two left, they are always encouraging and there when needed)


Creole West Productions Bringing Louisiana History Alive! The study of Louisiana history crosses many cultural, economic, and political arenas emerged from a vast geographic base in the heart of middle North America. The prehistoric era gives us a foundation of geological development and original people. The recorded history weaves in and out of colonial France and Spain, threading into the fabric of two hundred years as a democracy with the United States. The intrigue lies within the steadfastness of its unique cultures, reflecting a facet of the diverse heritage in America today. Louisiana’s history transcends from native peoples to empires of France and Spain to the transition to democracy as proud citizens of the United States of America. Guided by a passion to understand the fabric of America’s diverse cultures–notably Creoles of Louisiana–our historical journey offers a glimpse of life steeped in centuries of traditions, human dramas and challenges. Louisiana’s unique cultures are more than a mixture of peoples but a creation of new cultures. One of her relatively misunderstood cultures, the Louisiana Creoles, plays a vital role in the story of Louisiana as its indigenous colonial blend of peoples and traditions. Creole West Productions was founded over a decade ago to bring this remarkable history alive. Our projects are based on Louisiana’s history and place in the larger spectrum of history as edutainment for all audiences. Our edutainment products feature a tailored style with a meticulously scholarly touch retracing the footprints of Louisiana’s past.

Our edutainment products are: ■ web–based ■ publications or ■ multi–media. All product content is based from thoroughly documented research. This research relies heavily on official and original records, from international, national, state and local archives–both public and private. Records are translated from French, Spanish, and Louisiana Creole to English. Secondary published and unpublished sources supplement the findings. The intimate experience is enhanced by compilation and documentation of oral histories. From this varied examination, the historical experience is naturally unveiled. Not only have we been focused with the historical aspect of our edutainment products, but we have developed innovative programming to liberate the history online. Our brilliant web development team designed a customized user–friendly Wiki based content management system PumaCMS. This CMS is the foundation of our websites. Our current focus is bringing Pointe Coupée Parish history alive and illuminating its overall place in Louisiana history and beyond. Pointe Coupée Parish (Pwent Koo–pay) was founded in the early 18th century, as part of the vast French colony of la Louisiane. Her heritage is embedded in French Louisiana Creole traditions influenced by native peoples, Europeans and Americans.  Pointe Coupée’s history is rich in purpose,

Louisiana Creoles are people born in the colony—free or slave. Those who identify as Louisiana Creoles today are descendants of ancestors born in the colonial period of Louisiana. 5

people, and culture–enveloped in a breathtaking natural environment. The Creole language of the ancestors is still spoken socially today among other speakers…A casual greeting exchange: Kamon Sa Va (how are you?) Sa va bien (I’m good).

Our Pointe Coupée edutainment includes: ■ Publications ■ Hosting annual Foundations of Community forum series ■ Preservation efforts for original records ■ Sponsor and host events and preservation efforts for the ■ Pointe Coupée Creole language ■ Donations of books, research, records and photographs to the Pointe Coupée Parish Library Historic Materials Collection

Julie E. Lee Founder Historian & Director 6

■ Presentations at various historical conferences ■ Pointe Coupée Parish History Online website ■ An online public and educational resource with subscription access to publications, translations and abstracts in the Archives ■ Louisiana Purchase: A Dramatic Change for Pointe Coupéeans 1803–1815 An ebook at ■ In development–innovative online local history content for students and teachers to incorporate into their curriculums ■ Forthcoming – documentary film From the banks of beautiful False River in Pointe Coupée Parish, LA…


Sarah’s life changes in Louisiana during a four – day reunion with her judgmental family, including her nemesis

Cousin Stacy. It was the last place she expected to meet a man, but Michael’s perfect teeth and Armani – wearing buff – ness were irresistible. The true drama begins after they meet and become involved. Deception, heartbreak and murder invade Sarah’s life and she learns that her burdensome Creole culture is the foundation for her survival. Order Today:Available at,, and iTunes.Contact Myra at: 320–728–9511 or 7

SWEET POTATO & PEANUT SOUP Author: Dana Rodrigue

3 pounds sweet potatoes 1/2 stick butter or margarine 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter 1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1 TBSP cajun seasoning of choice 1/2 tsp crab boil 1/4 tsp black pepper 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 1/4 tsp salt

Crushed peanuts for garnish if desired Peel and cube sweet potatoes. In a large saucepan, add potatoes and enough water to cover potatoes. Boil until potatoes mash easily with a fork. Once potatoes are cooked, be sure to leave water in pot. Add butter, peanut butter, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Using a hand mixer, beat all of these ingredients until you have a smooth puree. Add cajun seasoning, crab boil, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. Stir all together until soup is smooth. May garnish with cinnamon or crushed peanuts if desired. Makes approximately 8 to 10 servings of soup.



The Sledge Grits Band!



he story of the Sledge Grits did not start with a fairy tale beginning. It began with the loss of a grandmother too early and a father diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The four sisters had a difficult time trying to find light in a sometimes dark time. Parents, affectionately known as, Mistr Grits and Mama Sledge were looking for something to keep the girls minds off of the world around them. So they encouraged music lessons at their Charter School and from there the story took a different turn. The girls showed interest very quickly in the lessons. Mimi, Keiko and ‘ella all began on guitar, sprinkled with some fiddle, and at-home vocal exersizes with Mama. The baby, bo-Pah who was 3 at the time, began to keep tempo for the older girls on the bottom of a gumbo pot. It worked out great. The kids were preoccupied with something constructive and it gave Mistr Grits an outlet for his own depression from dealing with his Multiple Sclerosis. He began to help the girls get to and from classes and sat through the classes with them. The seeds were planted and the love of music began to grow very quickly into something quite astonishing. Through natural progression, the girls began to put songs together as a group. Completely off beat, but full of adrenaline and pride, they put on concerts for their family. Medleys that consisted of songs like “Do your Ears Hang Low” and “Crawdad Hole”. They were garage rockstars and having the time of their lives. By 5 1/2 years old bo-Pah was in a full size drumkit and beginning to play with a steadier rhythm. Mimi found her voice at about 8 years old while singing in a bathtub. When her Mama asked her how she learned to sing like that she responded “God told me to sing” and began her song again. A rendition on Christina Aguilara’s “Hurt” that would have made Christina herself envious. ‘ella moved on to bass after a year or so on guitar. A meeting at the dinner table and a want for a new instrument had her on bass shortly after that. Keiko dabbled a bit in songwriting but guitar was her first love. The band quickly progressed performing together and individually all over the central coast of California. After many local outings and talent shows, the girls decided to upload a video to a CBS Singing Family contest. They ended up flying to New York and playing on live tv. That submission, an original song written by ‘ella and arranged by Keiko, landed them in NYC and a bragging right of 4th place in the Nation. 12

All this before bo-Pah’s 7th birthday.

4 years later, the band has now performed hundreds of concerts and a over a thousand individual performances as well as appearances. From the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, to 106 & Park on BET in NYC, to the main stage at the NAMM Show in Anaheim California, these girls are seasoned stage performers who continue to awe audiences with their ability to not only entertain but to PLAY! 4 years ago, 4 sisters embarked on a musical journey that can only be described as insane. This article of course is only a piece of the Sledge Grits story. There were many tears, hardships and joys in the years since the bands inception and the story does not end here. The girls have already picked up a pen to write on the blank pages ahead of them. With a new year, a new team and record and publishing deals entering the picture, we will all just have to wait at the end of our seats, as the next chapter of this story unfolds for all of us to see.

Meet the Band:

Keiko is a 17 years old teenager that has many

interests besides music. She also loves acting and modeling. Usually you can find her with a guitar in her hand, writing a song. She has just signed a songwriter publishing deal with a major publishing company.


lla, 16 years old, is a dedicated bass player who is the “fashion consultant” to the band. She has a great eye for clothing and style. She is also an avid reader who is also writing her first novel.


imi is a 12 year old singer with the vocal qualities of Adele mixed with Janis Joplin, The shock can plainly be seen on peoples faces when Mimi opens her mouth and sings with a maturity far beyond her years. Besides music she loves dolls, movies and drawing.

Bo-Pah, the little girl with the big hair, is a monster

on the drums. She explodes on stage with her animated drummer faces, and crazy skill. A normal 10 year old in any other aspect of her life she loves dolls and My Little Pony. She is imaginative and has an amazing ability to build things.




Š Rafi78 | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Laying of Hands "The Louisiana Way" Unless you are from South Louisiana, the word “traiteur” would sound strange to you. Cajuns are an ethnic group from the Acadiana area of Southern Louisiana. Some would call the Cajun traiteur a faith healer. This tradition has existed since the 1700’s when the Acadians first migrated to Southern Louisiana from France. Like many traditions, traiteurs (also known as “treaters”) are not as prevalent now as they once were. The traiteur is a Cajun or Creole healer who is able to “treat” different ailments such as warts, shingles, sunstroke, toothaches, bleeding and earaches. The older generation of traiteurs mostly spoke French. This form of healing was passed down from one generation to another, usually in the form of prayers and techniques used. My great aunt tried to teach me the prayers that she used to treat sunstroke. The prayers that she learned for treating were in French and as I did not speak French, I was not able to learn these. After I took classes in energy healing years later, I wished that I had paid more attention to what she was trying to teach me. One common ailment that many traiteurs treated was warts. I remember my mother bringing me to an elderly lady that “treated” me for warts on my hand. It was

expected that the warts would go away and they did. A similar situation occurred with my son. He started having numerous warts on his hands around the cuticles and on the calf of one leg. A dermatologist told us that he could burn the warts off, but this would ruin his cuticles and the warts would probably come back anyway. At this point, I called a woman who “treated” for warts. I just gave her his name and what was wrong and she said to call back in a couple of weeks if the warts were still there. I called back a couple of times. Shortly after, the warts disappeared as easily as they had appeared. Years later, I was treated for shingles. This was done 3 times and after that, there were no signs of shingles. Most of the traiteurs were Catholic (some Baptist) and so prayer was an important element in treating. Usually prayers and sometimes Novenas were said (saying a set of prayers for usually 9 days) in silence. As faith is a very important component,traiteurs are essentially “praying” for the sick. This may be considered faith healing or laying on of hands.

In the marsh areas of rural parts of Louisiana along the bayous, doctors were not that accessible nor could most people afford to go to a physician. So, the traiteurs in the past played an important part in health care for this region. A friend recalled her grandmother’s life as a traiteur. She could remember as a small child, lines of people waiting outside the house with eggs or chickens as payment. Most traiteurs do not ask for payment in exchange for their services as they consider their healing abilities a gift from God. Author: Sue Heldenbrand




Fashion For Now featuring: Whitney Dabney I often say as an artist I find art in

everything. The beauty industry is a world of art. My inspiration comes from many different sources. Obviously, the weather is a major factor in what to wear and even sometimes how to do your makeup. Many people don’t know that just like clothing is seasonal so is makeup. For instance, in the fall and winter months you may wear darker colors on the lips, eyes, and face. However when spring and summer come around, you want to go with brighter and lighter colors! For those of us who love fashion or just like to look good, sometimes it’s a struggle trying to put together the right outfit! That’s when the internet can become your best friend. There are so many great and trendy fashion bloggers on YouTube. Whether you’re going out at night, or simply going for a nice daytime look, YouTube has an answer. There are many DIY videos on YouTube that can teach you how to make your own pieces if you’d like to be really creative! I like combing different ideas together and making it my own. It’s cool to mix and match fashion ideas from various bloggers, that way you can get inspiration but still keep your own personal style. Most of us have celebrity icons that we like to follow. This is another great source to get fashion inspiration from. Though most of us don’t have a “Hollywood budget” it is still possible to look great without spending such a large amount. When you see your favorite celeb wearing a trendy makeup look, hairstyle or outfit that costs hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars, you can always

duplicate it. Just by shopping in your favorite stores alone, try picking up similar pieces to what they were wearing, but always make it your own. The same goes for hair and makeup. Sometimes I Google different celebrity makeup/hair looks at home and then recreate them on myself for different occasions.

On the face apply your foundation lightly and finish with a soft rose tone blush on the cheeks. For the lips you want to use any light color pink lipstick & there you have a subtle daytime look! (Model: Sade’ Alston).

Nighttime Glam Look To keep things simple, you can transition the same look in the first picture to a nighttime look. Using the same method in the daytime look, you only want to make 2 changes. Apply a small amount of black eye shadow onto the crease where you put the deep brown eye shadow. This will give you a simple smokey eye, making your makeup a bit more dramatic and evening appropriate. Then apply a bright red lipstick on the lips for a timeless, classy finish.

Spring Daytime Makeup Look The first look is a very simple fresh face. Start off by filling in the brows with your favorite brow filler. Apply a golden tone eye shadow on the lids to brighten the eyes. Then sweep across the crease a deep brown to give the look some depth. Next, apply your brow bone highlight using a matte beige eye shadow. Finish the eyes with a thin line of gel or liquid black eyeliner & mascara.


Spring Daytime Outfit When it’s warm outside and the flowers are blooming it’s a great time to pull out your floral print! Pair a colorful high waisted skirt with a neutral colored top. If it’s cool outside, but not cool enough for a jacket add a loose fitting denim shirt for a little more style and a skinny belt to accentuate the waist. Thigh high socks are such a cute accessory when wearing skirts in the spring! For the shoes the model is wearing a pair of neutral colored oxfords. Don’t forget to add your jewelry; little details make a big difference.

Spring Nighttime Outfit You can never go wrong with a little black dress. They are timeless, simple, and elegant. For a spring time evening out, put on a fitted black dress with a light weight material that flows in the wind. Since your dress is simple it’s okay to wear bold accessories that will stand out. You want to pull your hair back for this look so that the focus is more on your face. The model here is wearing a pin curl bun to the side for a simple up – do.


About The Author Whitney D. is a professional makeup artist, hair stylist, and photographer located in Houston, TX. She is also a YouTube beauty & fashion blogger. You can follow her in more ways than one! Follow her on Twitter @CreoleBeauty904 and on YouTube and Facebook by searching CreoleBeauty904. For further information please visit 19


Short Sighted Plans for Long Term Goals



hen God told me that summer 2012 would be my season of liberation I had no idea what He meant. His command had come so clearly and suddenly that I was not sure that He was really talking to me. I have always tried to lend a sensitive ear to the voice of God, but I thought I would hear soft beatific chimes and angels would immaculately descend from heaven proclaiming that I was to go out to the world! I would weep heavily and joyful emotions would overtake my body. I believed that I would have insurmountable money in my pocket and first class flights would be the only way I traveled. But it didn’t happen that way. As a matter of a fact, I cannot recall the exact moment that my journey was declared; I mostly remember that I second guessed such a move. Then I guessed again. As the month of May came to an end, I packed up my overstuffed apartment, shoved my things into a storage room, packed a cooler of snacks, made a schedule of events, and hopped in my burgundy car! I had lost my mind, they declared. Questions buzzed about where I would stay and what I would be doing while on this so called journey. While they had weighed themselves down with questions, I was temporarily more relieved than ever to do something I had wanted to do for so long. I had wasted my college experience by obligating myself to work, and I had spent the first five years of my teaching career working summers or going to school. I had a strong desire to take a vacation, but I had convinced myself that any free time was to be used productively. Productivity did not come from leisure activities and having fun; it came from using all time wisely. Besides, vacations cost money, money that a young single teacher did not have. With all of the things I had convinced myself to believe, I failed to realize that I was the reason that I was feeling trapped.

while I traveled. I calculated the number of miles I would drive and the hours it would take to get there. I estimated the amount I would spend on gas and the budget I would allow for meals, as well as the lessons I should learn by the end of my trip. I strategically packed clothes, hoping to be prepared for any possible event that could arise. It seemed I had a solid game plan and I knew what the outcome would be, if I stuck to my plan. As usual, I believed that if I stuck to my strategy, everything would work out. I had already begun to lose sight of the reason the escapade was necessary. My calculations and plans for a rigid schedule had removed the anticipation of learning, and instead, created focus on a tight schedule and money management. I had not finished packing my bags, but I was already worried that not enough time nor would money exist to accomplish my personal goals. Yet, God would provide me with a list of lessons before and during this trip that will be useful for the rest of my life:

1. God is the ultimate provider! I had followed my tradition of trying to devise a plan to ensure that all financial needs were met for my journey. I calculated and re–calculated, searching for the right combination of numbers to make my goal a success. In my eyes, sticking to my numbers was the only way to guarantee that my objective was attained. My doubts about my finances had nearly made me reconsider leaving. The numbers just did not seem to add up the way I thought they should. I began to wonder if the voyage was worth the cost. Yet, as I stared at the email about summer jobs contemplating whether I should abort my ambition, God spoke clearly to me. I am your provider, He said, All things you have are given through me. If you continue to rely on man for you source of income you will never have true wealth; I had bogged myself down with an obsession for success but if you look to me, I will increase you bountifully. and an overcomittment to becoming a great writer. As I It was the truth; I thought of all the miracles He had labored over short stories, poetry, and parts of books and performed when my finances seemed to run out. There novels, I realized that I had writer’s block. It was not the was never a day that I was without a meal or lights or a type where I couldn’t write anything, but the type where place to live. He had always provided. I realized that if writing is marginalized. I could not intimately connect to I wanted to experience a life that was well provided for several of my characters because every aspect of my life and live in peace I had to follow the ultimate provider. was connected to work and local life. My ability to clearly 2. Don’t contemplate being obedient; God has your back! explain my thoughts and perceptions was stifled. I was I will admit that leaving everything which seemed stable frustrated for I realized that lack of personal exposure meant there would be a disconnection between my work made me a bit nervous. I questioned what I would do without a physical place to live. It was revealed and my readers. My creativity was subdued and my work was suffering. Television could give no justice, and that nothing was guaranteed about life – not even the apartment where I resided. While I was paying rent and one could meet so only many people and have very few experiences in a small city. Frustrated, I tucked away my I had a contractual agreement, what would happen if my apartment succumbed to some unnatural fatality? Even notebook and devised a plan of what I would achieve 21

the guarantee of my own home was beyond my control. Lack of a physical residence was not the only thing that made me hesitant to be obedient. The reactions of others made me question whether this was what I needed to do! I became fidgety and delayed my trip for a few days. I knew I had to follow through with my plan, but my nervousness kept me on edge at the beginning of my journey. It was in Baton Rouge that I gained comfort and confidence in God’s plan and protection. I sat in my old church listening to a preacher from Dallas, Texas speak about learning to plead the blood of the Lamb over life and its circumstances. He declared that the authority and protection of God was more powerful than anything the devil could ever place in our path. The ultimate assertion was that when the blood is pled the devil must flee. He made us vocally declare the protection of God’s blood, and with this, a sense of new comfort overcame me. While this sermonic experience prepared me to leave, the declaration of his protection opened a floodgate of blessings. I began receiving unexpected blessings from every direction confirming that I was under God’s protection! 3. God wants us to live a life of enjoyment! This experience was the first time I had ever taken a real vacation – no god children, no family members, no work – just me, a car, and miles of highway. It had long been my assumption that on the journey to success there was no leisure time. Leisure time was for those who had already accomplished their goals and I was only at the beginning of my life’s excursion. I had so much work to be done! Yet, there is a classic quote which states “All work and no play makes John a dull boy.” I was the epitome of the dull boy, spending all free time writing, publicizing, or thinking of ways to become a better writer. I would go to work and then disappear into the cubby hole of my home, isolating myself from the real world. I had convinced myself that God would not bless my efforts if I did not show myself to be a dutiful worker. The truth is that while he does require man to work diligently for their desires, he also demands that we care for our temples (physically and emotionally) and those in need. While I was working to accomplishing my goal, I was ignoring everyone and everything else that was important. More importantly, I was becoming frustrated. Taking a break allowed me to become physically rested and emotionally rejuvenated. My pen flowed freely as I zoomed in and out of libraries and museums and spent brunches and lunches with friends. I was enlighten and stimulated as I toured cities and shared messages in front of microphones. I discovered that of all things God 22

wanted from me, He wanted me to enjoy living the life He desired. Finally, I understood. Obedience and trust set me free! I was confined by physical doors, begging on the inside to be released. My mistake was that I believed the key to those doors would be discovered through pen and paper which would lead to financial success and what I viewed as personal accomplishment. When I decided to let God lead and submit myself wholly to follow Him even though I didn’t know the outcome, He worked wonders! The end result has been a euphoric feeling of joy that cannot be explained. On a journey to discover more about writing and people, I discovered even more about myself and God. While I have no idea what the future holds, I have complete confidence that I am moving in the direction that God desires. We must remember that when we move in the direction that God designs things that seem impossible are possible. He grants us favor and gives peace that we cannot measure or predict. When God sets us free, we are truly free indeed. Our short sighted plans can never measure up to God’s long term goals!

◆ About the Author

Jamie Mayes is a native of DeRidder, Lousiana and a high school English teacher in Northeast Louisiana. She is a graduate of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and the University of Louisiana at Monroe. In 2012, she launched Motivational Inspirations, a company offering writing and speaking services. She is the author of several essays, short stories, and two collections of poetry.

Heritage How to Uncover Your Family History By Julia Dumas

Traditionally faith, family and food are the foundation of Creole/Cajun homes and communities. My personal favorite is our family orientation. If we have family, we have more than enough. But who is our family? Is it just those living relatives we see? I do not believe so. Our ancestors have given us life and so much more. I want us to pause and take some interest in family history. I have been researching my own family history for over fifteen years. I have learned a lot along the way about myself, my ancestors, and my culture. I hope you are as lucky.

How to get started... ✳1. Start with what you know...

This may seem obvious, but it is important. Start your research with you, your parents, and grandparents, then work your way back in time. What do you know? Be as detailed as possible when creating your personal profiles. What is the person’s name, nickname, birth date, birth place, church, school, siblings, parents, children, etc.

✳2. Ask your elders...

Ask for help to fill in the blanks. If you are blessed to have grandparents or great aunts, ask them. Usually the elder women of the family hold a storehouse of knowledge. Ask them about their memories, not just 24

facts. What was their parent or grandparent like? Ask them to describe them. What did they sounds like or look like? What did they believe was most important in life? These are the more precious pieces of information anyone could obtain.

✳3. Write it down...

Another obvious tool but it is easy to become starstruck when listening to the tales of old. Write it down! This will help you so that you will not research the same person, place or thing numerous times. It will also keep you on track. If you already have all of your grandparents’ siblings, don’t let your elder trouble themselves with the names and dates. This frees up time for other information to be obtained. ✳4. Use your resources: online, church, etc... Genealogy is easier than ever. There are numerous free resources available online. There are even subscription services which make searching easier. Look online. Take advantage of as much as you possibly can. Educate yourself on the types of recourses available. There are Census records, vital records, and military records to name a few. Check out You Tube for education videos on how to make researching easier. One if the most powerful tools are our Catholic Churches in Louisiana. States have only been issuing vital birth and death records consistently since the early 1900s. Because Catholicism was the law of the land, more information can be obtained over the long term from these institutions.

✳5. Collaborate...

peculiar things like change their race, move away from family and start new careers. I do not judge my ancestors because they did the best they could with what they had. They have taught me what it is to be strong, beautiful, determined. They have taught me what is is to be Creole/Cajun.

Genealogy is more than putting names and dates on paper. It is important to understand the context in which our people lived their lives. How was it growing up in segregation, slavery or colonialism? Here are a few tips to deepen your knowledge.

Are you ready to meet your ancestors?

Many family historians get into a rut because they forget to collaborate. Often there is someone else in your family interested or researching the same family. So, use the message boards, forums and remember to call your relative interested in all thing family.

Let me know how your journey goes at

Louisiana and Your Legacy ✳1. Learn Louisiana History: French, Span-

ish, French, American Louisiana history is so unique... Remember that we were a French colony, then a Spanish, then French colony again before becoming American. All of these nations contributed to our culture.

✳2. Legal implications...

Read up on the legalities. I’m not asking anyone to become a specialist in Louisiana law but it is quite handy when researching your family. How did race, religion and the legal system affect your ancestors. The law dictated who could legally claim white status, own land, how owners were to treat their slaves, how slaves could purchase their freedom, and even how Creole women were mandated to dress.

✳3. Do not assume anything!

My biggest mistake was making presumptions about my ancestors. Do not think that your ancestors were enslaved if they were of Color even if they lived during slavery. Louisiana had the largest population of free resins of color. Our laws made it easier for enslaved persons to purchase their freedom and miscegenation transformed the color pallet of our land. Do not assume that just because someone is listed as was race, that they will always be listed the same way through out their life. Race is very fluid, especially as the laws and times change. Over the years, I have met wonderful people who died long ago. People who did extraordinary things like fight in the Civil War, serve in the Louisiana state legislature, and make a living with skilled hands. Other did more


Louisiana French is Alive and Well! Y’all! Il y a des affaires qui se brasse en Louisiane en relation avec le français louisianais! C’est bien et bel le temps qu’on commence à parler dans un ton positif de toutes les bonnes choses qui se développe dans la communauté franco–créolophone (et qu’on commence à écrire dans notre français)! D’abord, pour clarifier, je parle de la communauté franco–créolophone, non pas d’une seule «culture». Oui, il y a un lien entre la langue et la culture, mais il y a aussi des liens interculturels grâce à la langue-il faut surtout PAS oublié cécité; même si les cultures dont on parle partage BEAUCOUP de similarités. Souvent, on crée des frontières ayoù ils devraient pas exister. On a besoin d’ouvrir notre perspective restreinte pour participer dans la franco– créolophonie GLOBALE. Pour faire ça, il faut qu’on améliore et informe nos communautés locales sur ce point. ◆ Les activités communautaires qui prend place dans Acadiana pour affirmer notre français sont effectué pour la plupart par un groupe de jeunes professionnels âgés entre 18 à 35 (plus ou moins) ans dont je suis un membre fondateur. Ce groupe s’appelle FrancoJeunes. Comme mission « nous, les FrancoJeunes,voulons engager des Francophones, surtout des jeunes professionnels, dans la communauté franco–louisianaise. Nous appuyons et promouvons les initiatives francophones et les entreprises franco–responsables et encourageons l’affichage bilingue et les services en français dans le secteur public ainsi que dans le secteur privé. Nous appuyons aussi une augmentation de la visibilité de la langue française dans tous les secteurs de la communauté, et nous voulons que le français soit considéré comme un élément clef de l’économie 26

culturelle de la Louisiane.” (tiré de leur page Facebook). Le nom de FrancoJeunes, depuis le mois d’août 2012, se trouve souvent dans les médias, les gazettes surtout. Quand notre gouveneur a décidé de couper le budget du CODOFIL de $100,000 (40% du budget) FrancoJeunes s’est mobilisé pour récolter des fonds pour remplir ce besoin. À travers d’une campaign «indiegogo» (un site de «crowd–funding») ainsi que les deux événements de «Lâche Pas» (une collaboration avec de plusieurs compagnies/restaurants qui ont tous qui donnait leur service notamment Cochon qui servait comme locale) notre communauté a pu redonné $90,000 au CODOFIL pour satisfaire la manque effectué par le gouverneur. Dans les prochains paragraphes, je vas parler d’autres activités de FrancoJeunes Voilà une idée excitante: Piastres En Masse (PEM). L’idée est simple. On donne un stimulus économique aux entreprises locales qui sont «franco–responsable» (qui sont conscientes d’usage du français dans leurs business et qui offre des service en français). On choisit un business chaque mois et se présente chez ce buisness pour dépenser au moins $10 (10 piastres) chacun et on fait de la promotion pour encourager la communauté à participer aussi. Mais on vous encourage aussi à parler français (même si c’est simplement un bonjour et un merci!)- les business parlent français et on doit faire la même chose. On va aider notre communauté et nos voisins et on va valoriser le FRANÇAIS de TOUTE variété!  Devenir un de leurs amis dessus Facebook pour découvrir le prochain business!

◆ Un autre GRAND projet de FrancoJeunes est la création de la Fédération des jeunes francophones de la Louisiane (FJFL). Cecitte est un fédération de l’état du jeune monde entre 13 et 18 ans qui parle/apprend le français. L’idée de cette fédération est de valoriser le français et donner une place à ces étudiants de parler le français à l’ÉXTERIEUR de la salle de classe. On a un deuxième stagiaire à travers un partenariat avec la Société Nationale de l’Acadie au Nouveau Brunswick. Ça fait déjà proche 3 ans qu’on travaille dessus ce projet. Comme ça sera une fédération pour tout l’état on veut bien structurer l’affaire. On a beaucoup étudié les associations de jeunesse au Canada and on base la FJFL dessus les modèles qui existe déjà (pourquoi réinventé la roue?). Dans le processus de développement de ce projet, FrancoJeunes était aussi responsable pour le Camp de Jeunes lors du Grand Réveil Acadien dans 2011. TOUTES ces activités sont positives non pas juste pour la communauté franco–créolophone mais pour TOUTE la communauté! Mais c’est souvent pas aperçu comme ça. Une communauté ouverte aux langues est une communauté ouverte à beaucoup d’autres affaires qui vient avec les langues. ◆ Après avoir dit tout cécité, la situation réelle est souvent mal comprise (et des fois, pas comprise du tout). Ça commence toujours pareil....

(moi): *GROS exhalation; tête abaissée*....«well, déjà, si on arrête de parler comme s’il n’y avait pus du français en Louisiane, ça sera beaucoup plus aisé d’épanouir du support et de l’encouragement pour la communauté qui existe réellement. En perpétuant ce mythe que “le français est mort en Louisiane”, ça devient la réalité. Ça commence toujours avec une question piège. Tout journalist(e) de radio ou de télé, documentarist(e), et tourist(e) pose une version de la même question pour ouvrir la conversation dessus la réalité du français en Louisiane. Mais la question est pas mal biaisée vers une direction négative pour l’avenir du français en Louisiane. C’est pour ses raisons que je ne voulais surtout PAS ouvrir cet article avec cette question. Mon intention était de vous informer et démontrer les efforts positifs qui propage une franco-résponsabilité dans la toute la communauté; et non pas juste la communauté franco–créolophone. ...En espérant que la conversation s’ouvrira dans une autre manière la prochaine fois….

• English to follow •

– Comment sentez-vous face au;.déclin [disparition/ mort/etc etc, sic] du français en Louisiane?


Y’all! Things are stirrin’ in Louisiana in relation to Louisiana French! It’s high time that we start to speak in a positive tone of all the great thins that are developping in the French/Créole-speaking community (and that we start to write in our French)! First, to clarify, I am speaking of the French/Creole Community, and not of a 28

single “culture”. Yes there is a huge link between language and culture, but there are also intercultural links thanks to langaue-we musn’t forget this; even if the cultures of which we’re speaking have numerous similarities. Often we create boundaries where there shouldn’t exist. We must open our restricted perspective in order to

participate in the GLOBAL French/Créole–speaking world. To do this, It’s essential that we ameliorate and inform our local communities on this point. ◆ The community activities that take place in Acadiana to affirm our French are organized for the most part by a group of young professionals between the ages of 18 and 35(ish), of which I am a founding member. This group is called FrancoJeunes. With the mission statement “We, the FrancoJeunes, would like to engage francophones, especially young professionals, in the Louisiana French Community. We support and promote French-speaking initiatives and the French–friendly businesses and we encourage bilingual signs and service in French within both the public and private sectors. We also support an increase in the visibility of the French Language in all sectors of the community, and we would like for the French Language to be considered a key element in the cultural economy of Louisiana.” (pulled from their Facebook page). The name FrancoJeunes has, since the month of August 2012, been found frequently in the media, mostly newspapers. We our governor decided to cut the CODOFIL budget by $100,00 (40% of the budget) FrancoJeunes mobilized itself to raise some funds to help replenish this need. Through an IndieGoGo campaign (a crowd-funding site) as well as the two Lâche Pas events (a collaboration with several local companies/restaurants, all of whom donated their services, but most notably, Cochon who hosted the events) our community was able to give $90,00.00 back to CODOFIL to satify the need effectuated by the governor. In the next few paragraphs I am going to talk about other FrancoJeunes activities. Here’s an exciting idea: Piastres En Masse (PEM). The idea is simple. We give an economic stimulus to local “Franco–responsable” (who are conscious of the use of French in their businesses and who offer French– language service) businesses. We chose a different business each month and we show up at the business intending to spend at least $10 (10 piastres) each and we do promotion in order to encourage the community to participate as well. But we encourage YOU to also speak French (even if it’s a simple “Bonjour!” et “Merci!”)the business speaks French and we should do the same thing. It would help our community and our neighbors and it will validate FRENCH of EVERY variety! Become one of their Facebook in order to discover the next business!

◆ Another BIG FrancoJeunes project is the creation of the “Fédération des jeunes francophones de la Louisiane” (FJFL). What this is, is a statewide federation of youth between the ages of 13 and 18 who either speak, or are learning French. The idea of this federation is to validate French and give these students a place to speak French OUTSIDE of the classroom. There is a second intern through a partnership with the “Societé National de l’Acadie” in New Brunswick. It’s already been nearly 3 years that we’ve worked on this project. Because this will be a statewide fédération it must be well–structured. We’ve greatly studied the youth associations throughout Canada and are basing the FJFL on modeles that exist already (why reinvent the wheel?). During the process of developing this project, FrancoJeunes was also responsible for the Camp de Jeunes during the Grand Réveil Acadien in 2011. ALL of these activities are positive; not only for the French/Créole-speaking community but for the ENTIRE community! But, it’s often not perceived as such. A community open to languages is also a community that is open to many other aspects that come with language. ◆ After having stated all this, the actual situation is often misunderstood (and, sometimes, not understood at all). It always starts the same way... – How do you feel faced with the decline (disappearance/ death/etc, etc, sic) of French In Louisiana? (me)” * HUGE exhalation; head lowered*... "Well, what id we stopped talking as if there was no French in Louisiana, just that would make it easier to spread the support and encouragement for the community that actually exists. In perpetuating this myth with “French is dead in Louisiana”, that becomes reality. It always starts with that trick question. Every journalist radio or television, documentarian, and tourist all pose a version of this same question to open the conversation about the reality of French in Louisiana. But the question fairly biased in a negative direction for the future of French in Louisiana. It’s exactly for these reasons that I wanted to absolutely NOT open this article with that question. My intention was to inform you and show you positive efforts that propagate a “franco-résponsabilité throughout the community and not just in the French/ Créole–speaking community. ...Here’s to hoping that the conversation will open itself in a different manner next time... • Author Valerie Broussard Boston 29

My Life In Northern Louisiana


oving is never an easy transition. There are always different preconceived notions about the new destination, the promises that the new place holds and what you think the new place is going to be like. Imagine my surprise when taking a marketing manager position in Northern Louisiana. I imagined it to be much like the Louisiana portrayed on television. It would be full of Creole people with Creole accents, a melting pot of different cultures, an array of rich Cajun cuisine like étouffée and boudin and 30

lots of festivals and celebrations. It didn’t take long for me to realize that in fact, the open diverse and very “easy going” Louisiana I saw in the media and what my friends and family thought my life would be was far from the truth. My truth, I now live in Small Town, USA, a community that is religious, family oriented and very much so set in its traditions. Although the towns are small, the heritage is rich and I have been privileged to have some of the most unique encounters ever.


Daniela Gabrielle

Having lived in a larger areas, I am very accustomed to driving thirty to forty–five minutes to get to a destination, so unlike the culture of most typical residents of a town in North Louisiana I don’t live, work, worship and play in only one particular geographic location. I tell people I live in Northern Louisiana because my daily life spans between Shreveport, Grambling, Ruston and Monroe. I enjoy the history and heritage that is Northern Louisiana. Most locals tend to take that for granted. Some how over time, locals have forgotten the uniqueness that makes them special.

I will never forget taking in my first Grambling State University homecoming celebration. For those living there, another weekend, for me history books coming alive. Growing up, the legendary Grambling State University Marching Band was a must see experience for any minority student that grew up with the Huxtables. During the festivities, I inhaled the educational air that reminded me to value my right to a higher education. I love the collegiate atmosphere that is Northern Louisiana and each day I cherish being able to work on the campuses of Grambling State University, University of Louisiana at Monroe and Louisiana Tech University.

Sometimes when you’ve been in larger locations, it’s hard to appreciate Small Town, USA. As a newcomer, it’s easy to become discouraged by the slower pace, void of family and the struggle to infiltrate the close knit bonds of local childhood friendships. Whether you find yourself in Northern Louisiana or any small town in America remember there’s always purpose in your journey. Wherever you are I challenge you to become aware of why life has brought you there and choose to be present in that moment. For me my journey brought me to a quite quaint region that has become the birthing place for my destiny. I’ve walked the halls of the Overton Brooks Veterans Hospital in Shreveport, La and come in contact with fellow veterans that have served and sacrificed for our country. I’ve had the privilege of gaining insight & experience on becoming an on air personality with Dougie Styles,

Shreveport’s Hip Hop and R&B leader. It was my honor address a group of students of Grambling State University in a presentation on leadership. Making my mark on Northern Louisiana, I’ve been graced by the presence of over ten student leaders from the area that I’ve mentored and coached on leadership & professional brand development. I even got to make an award presentation on the jumbotron at a ULM Warhawks football game. My perspective on this stop along my journey is that I’ve chosen to be in the moment & embrace my experiences. Living in Louisiana has meant a lot of things to me. Most of all, it goes down as being my personal place of healing, restoration & purpose. I’ve found myself in this place. It’s been a season of connecting to the beauty of laid back small towns that often are drowned out by the noise of Southern Louisiana. Northern

Louisiana like any other area, is what you make it and I’ve made it a place for OPTIMAL TRANSITION! About Daniela Gabrielle Author of Fly Free: Finding the Courage to Live Without Limitations, Daniela Gabrielle is branded as the Transition Entrepreneur. This motivational speaker, transition coach and change thought leader strives to provide the world tools to help them change, transition & emerge. A life without limits belongs to you, let Daniela Gabrielle show you how. Daniela resides in Ruston, Louisiana with her daughter Heaven. Stay connected...


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Spring 2013 The Jambalaya Magazine  
Spring 2013 The Jambalaya Magazine  

Formerly, the iamcreole Magazine, here is the Spring 2013 issue of The Jambalaya Magazine. In this issue we are introduced to up & coming al...