The Colonial Period and the Rise of the Creole

The French called it the ‘wet grave’ and soon gave up on making it a profitable and stable commercial center, but a proud community arose in New Orleans anyway – the Creoles. They preserved elements of their European heritage but blended them with what they learned from Africans about how to thrive in this environment. No longer strictly European (or African), this culture also understood itself as quite distinct from that of America, as it improvised its way through floods, storms, fevers, and the tragedies always inherent in slave societies to become one of the continent's major cities. In this unit, we'll ultimately seek to locate the origins of New Orleans in a complex confluence between an array of other places: France, Spain, Haiti, Cuba, the Congo, the Senegambia, Kentucky, and Virginia.