Tag Archives: Louisiana

Andy and the Ghost

The Story (Over Zoom):
This story is about a little boy named Andy. And Andy was not very cooperative with his mother. He lived alone with his mother, and his mother became ill. She asked Andy to go to the well and get her a cool drink of water. And it was getting night time and Andy says “Nah, I’m scared to go to the well, there’s a ghost that lives in the well”. And his mom says “No, there’s no ghost that lives in the well”. But he wouldn’t go get her a cold drink of water. So that night when they went to bed, he was juuuuust about to sleep, when he heard this sound saying: “AAAAAAANDY I’m on my first step… AAAAAAAAAANDY I’m on my second step… AAAAAAAANDY I’m on your porch… AAAAANDY I’m in your house… AAAAAANDY I’m by your bed… AAAAAANDY I GOT YOU”. *lunges forward as if to grab me*

Context (as given by the informant):
The first time I remember that being played on me was when some of my cousins were visiting and they were three or four years older than what I was, and we were sitting on the front steps of the house where I grew up, and that was one of my early encounters with a ghost story.
It was told as a way to scare younger children.

Analysis:
This story serves two purposes, both as a joke to play on someone unaware, as the ending is a jump scare usually coupled with someone grabbing the listener, but also as a warning. The story tells us that because Andy didn’t listen to his mother and refused to get her water, he was haunted by a ghost. So there’s an element there about respecting one’s elders in addition to the comedic purpose of the tale.

The Ghost of Chloe

The Story (over Zoom):
There’s a plantation called Myrtle’s that was a South Louisiana plantation outside of New Orleans that General Bradford, who was a famous general, owned. He, like many plantation owners, was sexually assaulting a slave in the house and her name was Chloe. So he had a relationship with Chloe. And Chloe got caught eavesdropping on the family. She was outside a room listening in, and to punish her they cut off her ears. Or maybe an ear. And so to get revenge she slowly poisoned the wife and children of the guy by, in the kitchen, poisoning food. And when she was caught doing that, she was killed, she was hung. And so, Myrtle’s plantation is said to still be haunted by her, if you go to the plantation in South Louisiana and go on tours, they’ll tell you about sightings of Chloe… And she had worn a scarf around her head after her ears were cut off, so y’know, you couldn’t see, and people knew the ghost was Chloe because the ghost has that green scarf on her head.

Context (as given by the informant):
When I was in middle school we did a tour of South Louisiana, a history tour where we went to different places, and that was one of the stories that we heard, that people regularly saw her ghost. If you take a tour there today they’ll tell you the story of Chloe.
The story is a way white guilt about the history of slavery gets manifest. It gets manifest in a way that is indirect, and frames Chloe as at fault.

Analysis:
The story is definitely intertwined with histories of oppression, and it both reflects and documents some of the injustices that occurred in the plantation era south. The use of the story as a tourist attraction is also interesting, as Myrtle plantation (and by association, Chloe) has been commercialized.

Holy Name of Jesus Crawfish Boil Competition

Main Piece:

SG is a mother in New Orleans. Crawfish boils are major events throughout New Orleans and Louisiana as a whole. They tend to be more of a social hour rather than a meal. Holy Name of Jesus, SG son’s school, has an annual crawfish boil as a fundraiser for their school. Around 10 different groups, parents and relatives of kids at the school, compete to see who makes the best crawfish boil. Generally each boil has potatoes, corn, crawfish, seasoning, but everyone puts their own spin on it trying to win the competition. The voters are the students and families visiting, and they each get tickets which they can give to the group that they think had the best crawfish. We have gone a couple of years in a row, and they usually have good music, atmosphere, and of course food. As a social hour, since Crawfish at typically eaten standing up, you stand around a table with others and socialize more than just eat crawfish. SG says that crawfish boils are a big aspect of Louisana culture.

Context:

SG is a resident of New Orleans who’s youngest sons attend Holy Name of Jesus School. She has attended this with the rest of her family since her youngest sons attended the school, and plans to go after.

Thoughts:

The idea of this being a social event is really appealing to me. The idea of dining as a social event has always been present be it with dates, luncheons, or business dinners, but this is different. It is similar to a barbecue or cookout, in which you invite others over to eat with you and socialize, but is unique in how people are positions. The fact that you are usually standing at a crawfish boil is interesting to me because that is more like behavior at a bar which functions mainly as a social place. The idea of it being a competition is also interesting because it shows the culture of food in New Orleans. It shows that everyday people in the city care about perfecting the craft that their city is known for and that they want people to socialize around it.

Thunder Over Louisville

Main Text:

JE: “Thunder Over Louisville is a 30 minute firework show that takes place over the Ohio river in Louisville, Kentucky. It is the biggest firework show on this side of the planet and the cool thing about is that all the money from the fireworks and that is raised for Thunder Over Lousiville is donated to Kosair Children Hospital. The main reason for the firework show is that it acts as a kick-off to all of the festivities that go on before the Kentucky Derby. It is always exactly a month before the derby at 9:30 to 10:00pm and they also theme the fireworks to music. Like this year it was Disney and then it went to some Dubstep bullshit.”

Collector: “So who goes to this firework show”

JE: ” Well the location in Louisville that this firework show takes place is called Kentuckyanna which is basically the divide between Kentucky and Louisiana marked by the Ohio River division. So the two main states that know the most about this is Kentucky and Louisianna and it is pretty big in both of these places.”

Context: 

JE lives in Mount Washington, Kentucky which is located about 20 minutes from where this firework show takes place in Lousiville. When I asked Jordan why he remembers the show and why it keeps going on every year he said that a lot of people remember this show because it is such a massive firework show and there is nothing else like it in the United States. He also said that

Analysis:

The analysis of this regional lore is going to focus on the area it takes place in and how this piece then functions in response to being preserved over time. The first thing I would like to analyze is why this firework show continues to be put on and I will do this by describing regional and economical demands for it.

Regionally this firework show continues to strive and be put on because people in Kentucky and Luisiana have such a high demand for it. This demand stems from the shared culture amongst those who attend. This shared culture not only acts as a unifying force between two different states but it also allows for people to reminisce at all of the good feelings and times that they have shared together at this place. Thunder Over Louisville also serves as a sort of identity marker for Kentuckians and Louisianians because almost everyone in those states knows about the show, even if they do not attend it. If someone were to go to Kentucky when these festivities for the derby were happening and not know what “Thunder over Lousiville” is, then those people from Kentucky and Louisiana will be able to identify them as an “outsider” or “other” ( which also aids in unification between the people of those states). The music that the fireworks get set off to also can act as a unifying source among individuals at the show who know the music and can share this experience of reminiscing on their childhood and past memories with each other. For example, almost everyone knows at least one Disney song, so putting the fireworks to the melody and beats of Disney songs allows for people in the audience to experience the show in a different way with each other. These unifying forces between this regional group of individuals and their ability to share moments that would not have otherwise been shared leads to such a high demand for the show that it keeps being put on year after year. The people have adopted it and made it their own so that they could enjoy it in only a way that Kentuckians and Louisianans could.

Because the Kentucky Derby is so expensive to go and see, the only people who can really experience the Derby themselves are wealthy, mostly white people, most of whom happen to be in the horse business. By aiming the show to a certain selected subgroup of people, this discriminates against middle and lower class people of all races which causes a huge divide between the amount of Kentuckians and Louisianians who are able to attend because of there large lower class and black population. In response to the expense of the show and that most common people of Louisiana and Kentucky can not attend then the firework show for them serves as a stand in to the Kentucky Derby. This firework show is where people know that they can congregate and celebrate their region with each other and the derby itself, even though they are not at the derby.

To summarize, the unification that Thunder Over Louisville provides for those who attend the show (more specifically to those from Louisiana and from Kentucky) coupled with the “common” people’s only opportunity to experience the excitement of the Derby without attending it in person keeps this regional show surviving and thriving year after year.

Creole Foodways: Gumbo

Main Piece: “So culturally my family is Creole and… um… both sides of my family, my mom and dad, are all from Louisiana. So a big traditional food that we eat is gumbo, which is kind of like a soup… um… and it’s filled with seafood, sausage, and it’s served over rice. Um… my family eats it every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s the main meal at Thanksgiving versus traditional turkey and stuff. We have both.. but gumbo is like our big thing.”

Background: The informant says that this tradition has been around her entire life. The meals involves her entire family, immediate and extended. For the informant and her family, gumbo is a traditional Creole dish only eaten on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The meal is important to the informant because it involves her grandparents, who speak broken French and English, as well as her parents and brothers, who only speak English. She understands this meal as a unification of different parts of Creole heritage- being black, being white, and/or being French.

Performance Context: I sat across the informant at a table outside.

My Thoughts: It is interesting that the informant describes her family as “culturally Creole”. The informant’s identification with Creole heritage seems to be indicated by her parent’s Louisiana lineage. The informant and her family only eat gumbo on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The context, however, is not religious or patriotic, but rather a special occassion where the entire family eats together. The choice of making and eating this dish on Thanksgiving and Christmas is an interesting time to celebrate a traditional Creole dish. Both holidays seem to be a way to gather the entire family in one setting while incorporating individual tradition and ethnic foodways. The unification of different domains of being Creole (black, white, French) are understandably significant to the informant, whose family has different backgrounds contributing to their identity.