speak F’rench. “Creole” is also used torndefine the dialect of French spoken bvrnblacks as opposed to that eniploed byrnCajuns.rnSt. Ahirtinille was established as arnuiilitar- garrison named Poste des Atakajjas,rnerected as protection against a nowextinctrntribe of natixe cannibals in 1714,rnfour ears before the foiniding of NewrnOrleans b Jean Baptiste LeMcnne, sieurrnde Bien”ille. it was Bienville whornbrought tlie first black slaes (hvo oungrncoach servants) to Louisiana in die earh”rn18di centurwrnSlaxcs of absentee landlords first settledrnthe area surrounding St. Marfinille.rnSome of these individuals spent their entirernadidt lies unsuperx ised, running vastrncattle enterprises and raising families inrnireedom, with their own land as the ulfimaternreward. Later, rovalist refugees ofrnthe Lrench Revolution settled on largernsugar plantations; French expatriatesrnfleeing slac rebellions in the Greater Antillesrndid the same. In 1765, f;imed guerrillarnleader Joseph (Beausoleil) Broussardrnarried with his extended famib’ afterrnfour ears fighting the British in Canadarnfollowing die beginning of die Acadianrnexpulsions in 1755, four ears in jail, andrntwo ears tragicalh wandering the Atlanficrnin search of a new home. Twcnh^rncars later. Hie main bocK’ of Acadian ex-rn])atriates arrixed in New Orleans fromrnFrance and began drifting into die area.rnFheir descendants are now called “Cajuns.”rnF,erbod brought along black slavesrnto Louisiana except the Cajuns. It wasn’trnunfil about 1820 that those impo”crishedrnexiles finalL became affluent enough tornown odier human beings.rnriic carlv experience of slaer- in thernarea was regulated b” the French GodernNoir, which differed greatK from boncLrnage regulations in the predominantlvrnF.nglish colonies that became the IhiitedrnStates. ‘I he code was written for fire WestrnIndies in 1685 and reissued for 1 .onisianarnin 1724. It was designed first to protect arnvaluable commodih’ and then to ensure,rnas niuscum curator Danielle Fontenettcrnsaws, that existence as chattel “wasn’t supposedrnto last forever.”rnThe focus of the museum is on thernblack experience in the Attakapas Districtrnon the heel of the Louisiana boot—nowallrnor part of the parishes of Vermilion,rnSt. Marfin, West St. Mar’, and Cameron.rnNear Hie entrance of die musenin, inforinahoiirnpanels note that flie captains’ logsrnot French slaxe ships indicate thut slavesrnwere brouglit topside for fresh mealsrntwice daily. Showers were provided hvicerna week. Hair was cut cer two to threernweeks. One panel reads, “sonic shipsrneven had drums [aboard] to accompanvrnthe singing.”rnGood behavior aboard was rewardedrnb’ “watered-down spirits . . . beef and tobacco.”rnThese were not pleasure cruises,rnof course; most of die time was spent belowrndecks in tight racks of berths. Still, anotherrninformation panel insists, “Frenchrnships had a lower mortality rate thanrnBritish” vessels. Captains were given bonusesrnfor low death rates and “healthvrn.slaves coinmandcd premium prices.”rnAfter arrixal in Louisiana under thernCode Noir, ecr slac was given the rightrnto demand a price for his freedom fromrnhis owner and the abilih’ to take the ownerrnto court it he refused, sa’s P’ontenctte.rnInformation panels carefullv note that allrnslaeowners did not nnifonnh- administerrnthe code. Still, many slaves purchasedrntheir freedom or had it purchased forrnthem, Fontenette claims, and the museumrndocuments several of these freedmen.rn”So you sa’, ‘If x’ou’re a slave, then howarern’ou going to make mone’ to bu) vourrnfreedom?'” says Fontenette, anticipatingrnthe question. “Well, on Sundaxs vournwere allowed to earn iiionev . . . either atrnthe market or hiring yourself out to otherrnplantations . . . ” There arc records, shernadds, of people like one woman who, inrnher 80’s, managed to bin’ her freedom, arntremendous testament to the endurancernof rile human spirit.rnUnder tiie Code Noir, there were otherrnaxenues to freedom diat did not exist inrnriie rest of tiie .states. Anxone who couldrndemonstrate European or indigenous ancestrx-rnwas automatically emancipated,rnaccording to Fontenette.rn’fliere is documentation of sexeralrn”free people of color” lixing in tiic arearnbefore die Fmaneipation Proelamatiournof 1863. hi the Attakapas Dishict in 1850.rnthere xxere 1,127 free blacks plying a varietxrnof trades, from farming to banking.rnAlexander Lemclle, for instance, boughtrnland in tiic area in 1814 and sened as arncaptain of die local militia in the Battie ofrnNew Orleans. Betxxeen 1817 and 1825,rnhe bought more large tracts of land andrnslaxes. Freed blacks also fought for thernConfederacy in the War Betxveen thernStates. Maiiv of them xvcre .slax’eoxxnersrnas xxell. “I’liey were just protecting theirrnoxn interests,” Fontenette saxs.rnStill, “tlierc were Kiiching of blacks,”rnDr. Carl Brasseaux of the Universit}’ ofrnLouisiana at Lafavette points out, in hisrnoffice where he heads up the luiiversity’srnnexv Center for Cidtural and Eco-rnTonrism. “But there xvere also Ivnchingsrnof whites. It was just a violent period.rnThere were a number of Ix’nehings in thisrnstate, [but] in the St. Martinville arearnriicv were minusenle compared to northrnLouisiana.”rnNorriiern Louisiana was pernianentiyrnsettled after St. Martinville, predominanriybx’Anglo-rnSaxon Protestants. Catholicrnareas of Louisiana, by comparison,rnxvere historically noted for tolerance, especiallyrnthose parishes of the old AttakapasrnDistrict. Until the niid-20th century,rnpriests there were draxvn from Francernand Belgium. Even French Catholics ofrnthe diocese of Lafayette generally werernshocked at the behavior of their brethrenrnfrom the more fundamentalist Irish Catholicrnarchdiocese of New Orleans (vividlyrnportrayed by John Steinbeck in TravelsrnWith Charlie), xxhen parochial schooksrnxvere integrated during the I96(J’s.rnIn his book Acadian to Cajiin: Transformationrnof a People, 1803-1877 (Universitv’rnPress of Mississippi, 1992) Brasseauxrnwrites:rnIn the infamous vigilante campaignsrnof the 1850s, rustiers werernrooted out and administered floggingrnand death as quasi-inilitarv’rnand judicial units combed thernparishes at night for the reputedrncriminals—particularly individualsrnrecendy acquitted of xiolentrncrimes —who, when apprehended,rnxvcre either banished, flogged, orrnhanged. Sentences, determined inrnadvance by fifteen-member vigilanternjudicial councils, were initial-rnIv admiuistered indiscriminately,rnand members of each major ethnicrngroup—blacks, Anglo-Americans,rnEreiich and German immigrants,rnCreoles and Acadians (ex’en vigilantes’rnrelatixes) —tasted the vigilanternlash.rn.After emancipation, the violence continued.rnAs Brasseaux writes:rn’I’hough poor xxhites and formerrnfree persons of color remained frequentrntargets of vigilante raids,rnsonriiwestern Ljouisiana’s postbelluiiirnxigilantes increasingly beganrnto attack the recenflv freed localrnbondsmen. This redirection ofrnNOVEMBER 2001/37rnrnrn