as well as to the French settlers who came straight to New Orleans,rnbut the French story is lost in the welter of diversity. NewrnOrleans, it seems, is just like Brooklyn or Berkeley, a multiculturalrnparadise.rnAs I looked at the section devoted to the Civil War, I beganrnto wonder if anyone from Louisiana could possibly be involved.rnBeast Butler, who issued the infamous order to treat intractablernSouthern women as streetwalkers, is credited with preventingrnan outbreak of yellow fever by scrubbing down the buildings.rn(If anything, the extra water would have only bred morernmosquitoes.) “Spoons” Butler is also exonerated from therncharge that he pilfered household goods. He was cleared by arnfederal investigation after the war—which only proves thatrnJanet Reno’s refusal to investigate her boss is not without precedent.rnThe best way to defend Europe inrnAmerica is to preserve therndistinctive regional and ethnicrncultures that Europeans createdrnon this continent.rnWe ran into French tourists everywhere in New Orleans, butrnif they were looking for a city where they could feel at home,rnthey must have been disappointed. The food is still wonderfullyrnun-American, and some of the architecture in the Quarterrnpreserves a French-colonial air, but the only foreign language Irnheard spoken by a waiter was Spanish. There was no Frenchrnprogramming on the television, and the first French I heard onrnthe radio was a Cajun station I picked up 20 or 30 miles out onrnthe road to Morgan City.rnIt is the same everywhere. Traditional cultures, which cannotrnmaintain their fragile edges in the jostling of big cityrncrowds, maintain a marginal existence in Appalachian mountainrnvalleys or along the bayous of southwestern Louisiana. IfrnNew Orleans, for all its bedraggled charm, is slowly turning intornAnytown U.S.A., the traveler who makes the round of Acadianrntourist sites knows he is someplace else. Virtually everyonernspeaks a kind of English, probably as a first language, but the cadencesrnand gestures — sometimes even a look in the eyes —rnbetray a lurking Frenchness, even if the surname is Spanish orrnIrish.rnWe spent a day in St. Martinville and dutifully took photographsrnof each other under the Evangeline Oak, where thernprototype of Longfellow’s heroine is said to have landed. Thernbed-and-breakfast we stayed in had been a hotel in the earlyrn19th century, and despite the array of souvenirs in the gift shop,rnthe food was remarkably good. If people care about what theyrnput in their mouths, they hardly qualify (at least in these days)rnas American —and this is especially true of most so-calledrngourmets.rnThe real reason to visit St. Martinville is for the Church of St.rnMartin (and the adjacent Presbytere). The ivory and creamrntones of the interior are, perhaps, more charming than reverent,rnbut if the colors are French, the simplicity and decency reflectrna rural piety that should not offend the most bigoted Puritan.rnThere may be no more than a dozen churches in the UnitedrnStates that are the equal of St. Martin’s, which was constructedrnon a grander scale than a village of this size should warrant, butrnthe parishioners hoped that by building a cathedral, they wouldrnlure a bishop. Some of them were the children of royalistrnrefugees who gave St. Martinville the high tone that earned thernnickname, “Petit Paris.”rnBehind the cathedral on the Bayou is an information boothrnwith the sign, “Ici on park francais,” and a similar announcementrngreets visitors to the B&B, but I did not put the claims tornthe test of my wooden French. The young lady who served usrnbreakfast had a puzzling accent, more French than Cajun, butrnthe mystery was solved when I learned that, although a localrngirl, she had lived in France for much of her life.rnHow interested the Acadians are in “the other French,” I dornnot know. Their own language is a pungent dialect, and somernpeople have protested against teaching standard French to Cajuns,rnbut a similar complaint might be made against teachingrnShakespeare to Louisiana americains. French is an internationalrnlanguage of European civilization, the language of onernof the two greatest literatures since the fall of Rome.rnLouisiana schools. Catholic as well as public, did their bestrnto obliterate French in the years following World War II. In hisrnwonderful Cajun novels (published recently as MarshlandrnTrinity), Chris Segura tells tales of schoolchildren forbidden tornspeak French on the schoolgrounds. Segura’s second volume,rnLes Perdues, is ostensibly about lost cattle but it also tells the storyrnof lost Cajuns. As a powerful appeal to historical memory, itrnwas favorably reviewed in Chronicles some 15 years ago by a literaryrnscholar (at work on a life of Andrew Lytic) who saw it asrnpart of a Southern regional renaissance. It is that and perhapsrnmore, as the third novel of the trilogy. In a Kingdom of thernMoon, makes clear, in portraying the results of cultural homogenization:rna Cajun couple living outside their home territory refusesrnto teach the children French, but despite all their effortsrnto be fully American, they cannot help feeling different, andrnthe boys—who scarcely know any of their ancestral tongue —rnintioduce more and more French into their private conversations.rnThe period is the Korean War, when the country was in therngrips of an hysteria of “Americanism.” Anticommunists likernpoor Joe McCarthy are blamed these days for the leftist nationalismrn—or rather, national socialism—which American liberalsrnhad been drumming into us since the 1930’s, but the sterility ofrnlife in the I950’s was due not to anticommunism but to the liberalrnquest for conformity in which all particularities of regionrnand culture, race and religion had to be suppressed: Cajunsrnand Catholics, Southerners and right-wingers —even principledrnleftists—all represented threats to the ideological regimernthat a series of “liberal” Presidents — Roosevelt, Kennedy, Johnson,rnof course, but also Eisenhower and Nixon—were constructingrnon the ruins of the Old Republic.rnIn Segura’s tragic denouement, the oldest brother is takenrnprisoner by the Red Chinese and brainwashed into denouncingrnthe United States for its treatment of the Cajuns. The novelrndoes not defend the boy’s action, and Segura is not joiningrnthe horde of minority-whiners who justify robbery and murderrnas forms of political protest. His tale does, however, expose thern12/CHRONICLESrnrnrn