Cindy, I will be responding to Gisele later today. We are getting hit by wintry weather, and as one can imagine, our agencies tend to shut down if we get flurries, much less ice. We definitely differ from our Canadian cousins in this regard! (It's a massive joke with other Canadians I know. They "laugh in Canadian" every time I talk about a 1-mm ice glaze snarling traffic and effectively shutting down the whole state.)
Although our Louisiana Cajun culture is rich, it experienced significant prejudices and outright discrimination up until the 1980s, and we still see some evidence of it today. The early-years Louisiana Acadians often formed communities and societal hierarchies of people of like descent, and that were exclusive of Anglo involvement; those communities actually exist in some form even today. In the 1920s, a decision was made by the Louisiana education system to make school compulsory, even for Cajun children, who were predominantly homeschooled or schooled in establishments where French was exclusively spoken. These children experienced corporal punishment if they spoke French on the school grounds. Since Cajun children exclusively spoke French at home from birth...You can surmise what happened. What is not so obvious is that several generations of Anglo children watched Cajun children being whipped regularly at school, which reinforced the prejudice that Cajuns were uneducated, second-class citizens.
My own father had stories of suffering such during his primary school days, as well as descriptions of the type of discrimination he faced as a Cajun male. One of the hallmarks of Cajun lineage, even today, is the heavy, guttural, French-accented English. My father consciously changed his accent so that no trace of French remained. As a kid, I often wondered why his parents' and brothers' English did not have the same accent as Daddy's. I learned later that it was because he had been refused several jobs as a young man because his accent gave him away. Coincidentally, we recently hired a coworker who has the accent. I knew he did not speak French, but that "Ville Platte" Francophone accent was there. I asked him one day who he had grown up around who had spoken the Cajun patois. He was actually startled by the question, and responded rather hesitantly that his grandparents, who raised him, were Cajun. Even today, in a "modern" and more tolerant world, our Acadian roots are not openly or easily discussed in mixed company. I had to explain that I was Cajun, too, for the man to relax.
I work with jewelry as a hobby, and often buy estate lots. In one lot, I found a 1960's-era tie pin and men's bracelet which had a cartoon of a coon's rear (a "coonass", a derivative from the French word "connasse"), and surrounded by the words, "Union - Justice - Confidence -Rice and Gravy". The cartoon is a reference to Cajuns. The first three words are slogans for the state of Louisiana. The last words are are a jab at Cajuns, who eat quite a bit of it. I keep that set on my desk, to remind myself that my dad's culture is not always something I should reveal. It is a sad but necessary memento of an entire people's endurance under adverse social circumstances.