Residence: Los Angeles, California
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/20/16
Primary Language: English
According to the informant, the Rougaroo is a folkloric creature who wanders Louisiana looking to attack children who have not fulfilled their Catholic duties.
What’s the Rougaroo
BW: I will tell you what’s known in the deep bayous of Lousianna is the Rougaroo. The Rougaroo is a creole mythological creature based off a bunch of different characters. Characters from African folklore, catholic folklore and Native American follore. The Rougaroo is essentially a werewolf that wanders around the dark quiet swamps of Southern Louisiana.
How did you hear of the Rougaroo?
BW: My mother used to tell me this story–about how when she was a little kid, her grandmother would talk about the Rougaroo coming to the little kids that didn’t fulfill their Lenten promises… It’s an indescribably terrifying creature. It’s faceless, uncanny. A very dark way of making kids eat fish on Fridays and stuff.
Your mother is from Lousiana?
BW: Yes, she is from LaFourche, Lousiana. L-A-F-O-U-R-C-H-E.
Interestingly, the legend of the Rougaroo is not native to Lousiana, but is a creature of European folklore. Specifically, French. However, it has traveled with high French population that lives in French Louisiana. Most likely a factor of historical colonization, what is now “French Lousiana” was originally colonized by France as “New France”. Since then, although the land is in the continental United States, there still exists some French demographics and culture. Therefore, the “Rougaroo” is a French invention (to scare the earlier generations into subscribing to Catholic practices) that spread to Louisiana through colonization of the 17th and 18th centuries.