Cajun Country

Barry Jean Ancelet, Author, Lynwood Montell, Editor, Glen Pitre, With University Press of Mississippi $29.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-87805-466-4
This readable overview by Ancelet, assistant professor of French at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Edwards, associate professor of anthropology at Louisiana State University, pk and filmmaker Pitre will entertain nonspecialists who wish to study aspects of the history and culture of Louisiana Cajuns, descendants of the French-speaking Acadians driven out of Nova Scotia in the 18th century. Subjects range from traditional family structure, courtship rituals and folk medicine to the ``eccentric creativity'' of chef Paul Prudhomme (who has promoted Cajun cuisine throughout the U.S.), children's games and Cajun singers who have made the hit parade. A discussion of religion explores the Cajun blend of Catholicism and folk religion, highlighting the region's most famous festival: Mardi Gras, a lively mix of medieval and modern that even today offers a ``certain aura of outlawry.'' The scope and detail of coverage vary by topic. For example, funeral customs occupy less than a page, although architectural styles and 19th-century public dances are discussed at greater length. Particularly engaging are transcriptions of songs, traditional tales and jokes, most given in French and English versions. Illustrations not seen by PW. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
Paperback - 282 pages - 978-0-87805-467-1
Ebook - 281 pages - 978-1-60473-617-5
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