Black Creoles of Louisiana - Sociopolitical Organization

Louisiana is distinguished from the rest of the Anglo-Protestant South and the United States by its French/Spanish Catholic heritage. Thus, parishes rather than counties exist, with police juries as consular boards. Parish sheriffs and large landowners wield much political power. Creoles generally are not at the top of regional power structures, though they do serve on police juries and school boards and as mayors and in the Louisiana state house. In New Orleans, two Creole mayors have served in the last decade. Creole landowners, independent grocers, dance hall operators, priests, and educators are power figures in rural Creole Communities. Such respected men are usually public articulators of social control, upward mobility, Creole cultural equity, and relations to government entities. In addition, social advancement and community support and expressive recreation is organized through associations such as Mardi Gras crews, Knights of Peter Klaver (Black Catholic men's society), burial societies, and, particularly in New Orleans, social aide and pleasure clubs. Recently, official ethnic organizations and events have emerged, such as Creole Inc. and the Louisiana Zydeco Festival.

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