La Francophonie, beyond the Hexagon

byPatrizia Mauti

Introduction et Raisonnement

With brown eyes, an olive complexion and an Italian background, I had grown accustomed to being considered "exotic" by North American standards. Yet as a teacher new to a high school with barely any ethnic diversity - the student body being predominantly African American – I was surprised when my students began to develop soubriquets for me that underscored my whiteness. Hence, "French Vanilla" was born, pointedly making reference to both the subject I teach, and the fact that I'm white; side-splittingly funny, one must admit. Yet in sharp contrast to those who emphasized the fact that I was Caucasian, there were other students who opened up conversations which put my race into question for the first time in my life, and these comments were equally baffling to me. Some said, "You're Italian, so that means you're not white, right?" Was being of Mediterranean origin something they did not equate with being white, or was it the moderate amount of melanin in my skin that led them to conclude that I was something other than white? These students nicknamed me "Shawty Red," informing me that "red" is a term used for light-skinned, African Americans. The debate over whether I was biracial or white resurfaced throughout the school year, and I noticed the room fall uncharacteristically silent each time issues of race were broached. Since my move to Atlanta in 1998 I have been very aware of the fact that the concept of racial identity and all of its implications remains a highly charged subject in the southeastern United States.

A significant part of the cultural mystique and intangible heritage of New Orleans as described by Joseph R. Roach in our National Initiative seminar, "The Big Easy," stems from its diverse colonial past and the racial tensions which emerged during the process of transformation from a bilingual, multiracial city to an Anglo-American city after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Given my students' acute interest in our discussions pertaining to race, I feel certain that AP French students would be more than intrigued by the plight of the nineteenth century francophone Creoles of African descent, in the name of Americanization. This community was marginalized to the point of having some of their most educated, gifted poets resort to expressing their opposition to the social injustices of the time under the guise of romantic, French poetry. They were wise to do so, since by 1830 it was an offense punishable by death to provoke rebellion or racial tensions among African Americans. 1

Examined through an interdisciplinary study touching upon geography, history, literature, and language, a selection of authentic works from the nineteenth century New Orleanian poets known as Les Cenelles, will serve as a springboard for students of AP French to improve their reading comprehension skills, and to broaden their understanding of the francophone world with boundaries stretching far past the borders of France, all while exploring the familiar and still divisive topic of mixed-race people. "To dwell within the color line rather than squarely on either side of it is, in the U.S. context, to experience a kind of racial and national exile." 2


Once students are versed in the geography of la Francophonie, the international and linguistic community that shares French, we will begin our journey through deep time to New Orleans, Louisiana. No other city in the world could serve as a better testament to Jill Lane's concept of deep time than New Orleans. By deep time, Lane means to convey that we are still living the consequences of history today. As far behind as we may like to think we've left the past, it is likely more accurate to be cognizant of the fact that our contemporary existence is perpetually lived out among the vestiges of yesteryear. Thinking through deep time allows us to take measure of the conflicting and overlapping temporalities of social, political and geological time. 3 Here, New Orleans will serve as a portal through which my students will embark on a journey of their own, through such contradictory and overlapping temporalities of time, to the mysterious world of its colonial beginnings. I suspect that what they discover about the naissance of this francophone part of the world geographically closer to home than any other, will compel them to take a "different measure," as suggested by Jill Lane, of everything that shaped such a fascinating place and made it what it is today.

Focusing on the French influence in Louisiana, we will endeavor to integrate the three modes of communication: interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational, while developing cultural perspectives and connections. This unit lends itself well to performance-based student assessments; de rigueur in Foreign Language pedagogical circles. The interpretive phase of communication is the study of a text written by native speakers, intended for native speakers. Students will interpret, analyze, memorize and recite some poems from this anthology while gaining insight into the social predicament of the French-speaking, American poets who penned it. This group of nineteenth century personnes de couleur libres produced the first anthology of African-American verse ever published in the United States, carefully navigating the paradoxes thrust upon them because of their caste – not completely black or white – and in defiance of the racial ostracism they battled in antebellum Nouvelle Orléans.

Although some misguided educators believe that memorization is detrimental to enjoyment and creativity in learning, students benefit tremendously from the linguistic foundation that memorization provides. Having students memorize and then recite one of the poems studied, will serve as an excellent exercise in language learning, vocabulary development, and for the pronunciation practice useful to all students.

Because poets need to conform to their chosen rhythm and rhyme, they often need to use sophisticated words and grammatical patterns above our normal exposure or conversational usage. This is linguistic gold. By hearing—and better still by memorizing-a variety of poems, we have access to a richness of vocabulary and syntax we might never master in any other way.4

The objective is to begin with the interpretive phase of communication by studying an authentic document – in our case, a selection of poetry from the anthology, Les Cenelles. Students are naturally inclined to read an authentic text and underline all the words they don't know first. This is known as bottom-up processing in reading theory circles, as they seek to decipher a text rather than to read for overall comprehension. The problem with bottom-up processing is that once they look up the words they've underlined in the dictionary, they will be apt to record the wrong definition of those words, since they are generally unclear as to the context of the document. A much better strategy is to teach students to focus on what they already know, and to employ top-down strategies which include reading for the gist, skimming and scanning. "Research shows that many learners, when faced with authentic L2 texts, will not automatically apply the same top-down processing strategies that they use in their native language. 5

One of the biggest challenges for AP World Language teachers is to get students who are accustomed to fast-paced stimuli excited about the activity of reading as a vehicle to language acquisition. The task becomes more daunting than usual as we are presenting students with reading material in a foreign language. Whether they are bored or intimidated by the effort and active participation necessary to read and comprehend texts written in the target language, we cannot as educators, ignore the most important skill – albeit the most difficult to teach and learn – in facilitating both communication and cultural awareness in the language classroom.

In order to improve their reading proficiency which is vital to nurturing the development of speaking and writing skills, AP French Language students should be exposed to a variety of documents including newspaper articles, literary excerpts, poems, historical documents, and even science articles written by native speakers, for native speakers. If students are to be prepared for the rigorous, third year college level exam they will take at the end of the course, they should not feel intimidated when confronted with an authentic text. Any of these types of documents can be found on the exam and multiple samples of each should be practiced throughout the school year. As previously mentioned, this particular unit will focus on the analysis of a sampling of nineteenth century, New Orleanian, Afro-French poetry. By enticing students using works written within the rich historical backdrop and the hypocrisy of racial dynamics in antebellum New Orleans, they will be encouraged to discover hidden messages of social resistance behind what appear to be merely aching love ballads; an experience guaranteed to enhance the enjoyment of reading in a foreign language! "…these poems transcend classification as mere imitations of French Romantic poetry and can be read as indirect, discreet attacks on an insidious threat to the manhood and cultural integrity of free blacks." 6 I am certain that the subject matter will be of interest to my students who have displayed an acute interest in all matters of race. Many of them are still grappling with the formulation of their own opinions and the social implications thereof.


Serviced by the DeKalb County School System, Avondale High School is a small school (644 enrolled in 2010) nestled in the city of Avondale Estates, Georgia, in the southeastern United States. The demographics of the school are in sharp contrast to those of the city in which it is located. While the school has a large number of African American students in attendance, according to the 2010 US Census only 14.3% of the residents of Avondale Estates are black or African American. 7 Hence, the majority of students who attend are bussed in from surrounding areas, resulting in an egregious lack of parental support and presence in the school. The opportunities to meet with students before or after school are very limited due to this same phenomenon. On the days designated for tutorial, very few students are able to stay after hours to obtain the extra help they may need. Lastly, the use of detentions which has served as an excellent deterrent for inappropriate classroom behavior in previous schools where I've taught is rendered virtually obsolete at Avondale High School.

The Georgia Department of Education reports that the 2009-2010 student body of Avondale High School was comprised of 92% black, 4% Asian, 2% Hispanic, 1% White, and 1% Multiracial. With a high percentage of students from low-income families, Avondale is a Title I School in accordance with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. During the 2009-2010 school year, 97% of the student body was eligible for free or reduced meals – another statistic which diverges momentously from the residents of the city's surrounding Tudor style homes and buildings, where the average household income was $62,766 in 2010. 8 Other unfortunate realities among this population of socioeconomically disadvantaged students include but are not limited to alarming pregnancy and truancy rates, and students coming to school under the influence of drugs or alcohol. One practice that is very telling of the behavioral vortex that is Avondale's culture: When a student is absent his classmates are prone to suspect that he's been arrested, and they peruse the DeKalb County Mugshots website ( to see if their friend's face appears among those who have most recently been admitted to the DeKalb County Detention Center. Sadly, I lost at least one student due to his arrest for theft, and a second spent some time in jail for a lesser crime. This past year our entire student body was banned from the nearby Wall Mart due to the number of students skipping class and causing various disturbances in the store. Most of my students come from broken homes, and an overwhelming number of them are being raised by grand-parents in lieu of their parents, if they are lucky enough not to live in a group home. Still others have recounted stories about engaging in various illegal activities with their parents; usually only one is present in their lives, if at all. In short, this is an extremely challenging group of youngsters to work with by any educator's definition. Yet these are the students I am determined to inspire, and in whom I wish to foster not only an interest in studying French as a second language, but a life-long curiosity and thirst for knowledge about the world we live in.

Being that we are on a 4x4 block schedule at Avondale High School, AP French students will likely be in Modern Languages level IV, although some may have started their French studies in middle school and would consequently be in level V as described by the Georgia Department of Education. For the purposes of this unit, level IV standards will be addressed since the majority of my students would be in their fourth semester of French. See Appendix 1: for a list of the Georgia standards that pertain to this curriculum unit. Level V standards may be accessed at GeorgiaStandards.Org.

La Francophonie et la Géographie

When contemplating the French culture and language, the average high school student is quick to visualize the stereotypical Frenchman: Long, protruding nose pretentiously sitting atop a black, handlebar-shaped, brilliantine-laden moustache. This bonhomme appears to say "Hon, hon, hon, hon," in response to any given stimulus. He perpetually sports a blue and white (or red and white), nautical, Breton striped shirt, a black beret tilting precariously on his head as he rides a bicycle down a winding road lined with symmetrically-trimmed trees, all the while carrying a crispy, long baguette underarm, without any regard for safe food handling practices - that is, sans bag of any kind. The Eiffel Tower is unvaryingly visible in the distance of this imagined vignette of all things "Français." Many students are completely unaware that French is spoken anywhere outside of France, not to mention the fact that both the French language and culture stretch far past the borders of the hexagon, across the world's continents, influencing the language and customs of a people as racially diverse as they are geographically separated. Imparting this information to students during their first year of French studies is the best way to draw them into the subject. Once they are aware of how far-reaching the French influence actually is, they realize that it does not only have a presence somewhere in a land far, far away, and they are much more likely to become engaged learners. My students have always been quite delighted to discover that most of the French speaking world resides in Africa – a far cry from their romanticized conception of le Parisien, "Hon, hon, hon, hon!"

    …the so-called Francophone world is a far-flung composite of many
    cultures/nations whose common attachment to the use of the French
    language belies amazingly different histories and cultural trajectories.
    Many but not all are former colonies, with or without French settler
    communities. Some Francophone locations-such as Martinique, Tahiti,
    or Réunion- are still technically part of France,… as overseas departments.
    For some, French is the official language of the nation; for others, French
    is one of several languages used; and in still other cases, French remains
    important in a more localized sphere such as commerce, civil administration,
    or education. 9

In order to help them expand the restricted borders of what they initially believe to be the Francophone world, beyond what Joseph Roach would call the infamous nodal point that is Paris; I encourage students to refocus their cultural lens to a setting that will allow them to take in the view of a more realistic, global perspective. See Appendix 2 at for a Map of the French speaking world – a visual to be used as a good starting to point for this unit. As we engage in the area study of continents, oceans, regions, states and cities in French, students are afforded the opportunity to make interdisciplinary connections between French and geography. This is a good example of what I believe to be the ultimate accomplishment for secondary school teachers and students of French; to be able to teach and learn another subject using the target language. In fact, geography and map skills are among the suggested topics for level IV Modern Languages. Although it may be difficult for some to fathom, an inordinate number of adolescents struggle with more than just the French pronunciation of geographical lexicon. Many are unable to identify places on a map as close to the United States as Canada – even in English. An exploration of la Francophonie has the dual benefit of improving students' map labeling skills as well as introducing them to geographical vocabulary in French, all while using technology in the target language.

What is la Francophonie? La Francophonie is a global movement that can be understood as a group of countries or areas united under the linguistic, historical, and/or didactic umbrella of a pluralistic community of Francophiles. These individuals inhabit regions in which French is either one of the official languages, a language widely used, where a significant proportion of people are French speakers, or where there is a notable past or present affiliation with the French language or culture. Only upon mastering the physical location of these important beacons of French influence on a two-dimensional world map can students even begin the more in depth journey of discovering the three-dimensional desire maps of these places. In centering upon la Louisiane, the Francophone area closest to home in the United States, I hope to become the vehicle through which Joseph Roach will impart to my students not only his knowledge about the history of this city, but more importantly his contagious passion, as I share with them what I've learned in our seminar about the intangible heritage, and the mystique that surround la Nouvelle Orléans.


Should secondary school students be made aware that the fleur-de-lys, emblematic of the football team so beloved by New Orleanians, and so feverishly paraded by fans, was once the mark with which slaves were branded when being punished under Louisiana's Code Noir of 1724, issued to govern the interaction of les blancs et les noirs (whites and blacks)? Certainly, what better way to give our impressionable youngsters the necessary insight to comprehend the concept of deep time and to appreciate all of the inequities and complexities that it entails for a city like New Orleans, both past and present?

The run-away alone who has been gone one month from the day his master, has reported him to the court will have his ears cut off and branded on one shoulder with the fleur-de-lys; if he is guilty of a second offense another month from the time of his denouncement, he shall be hamstrung and also branded with the fleur-de-lys on the other shoulder, and a third time, he will be put to death. 10

Slaves were imported to New Orleans by the thousands under French colonial rule. Aggravated by a scarcity of white women in New Orleans from the earliest colonial period, the practice of white, well-to-do men (sons of noblemen, plantation owners, and military men) acquiring a "concubine" of African descent was widespread. "Whenever a dominant and a subservient race have lived together, the women of the weaker have always become the concubines of the men of the stronger." 11 In 1718 when French Canadian, Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, Sieur de Bienville brought his group of approximately 300 men to build the city of New Orleans, named in honor of le Duc d'Orléans, there were very few married men among them, and the prospects for the remaining bachelors were limited. The early colonists, including the French-Canadian voyageurs, had taken to hiring an attractive sauvagesse from a nearby Indian tribe, "…who, for a piastre or two a month and a handful of glass beads, consented to minister to their needs and keep house for an agreed period of time,…" 1 2 Later, les filles du roi were sent from French orphanages and convents, along with their small wooden chests called cassettes, containing the dowry given to them by the king – hence they became known as the "casket girls" - to help build up the colonies by becoming the future brides of the colonial men. Still, this was not enough to meet the demand for women, notwithstanding the earlier wave of prostitutes and female prisoners sent from France, another gift from le Roi Louis XIV, in his efforts to help populate the colony. 13

With African women being purchased and readily "available," not to mention considered physically more robust than white women in what was then swampy, mosquito-infested New Orleans, where yellow fever outbreaks claimed many lives, masters readily chose the best looking among the imported Negresses for their mistresses. This custom put in motion an inadvertent practice of selective breeding for lascivious beauty. "This, occurring in generation after generation, inevitably resulted in the production of a type of most exotic yellow women." 14 Although Le Code Noir, the decree passed by King Louis XIV, was in place in New Orleans as early as 1724 to define the conditions of slavery, to restrict the activities of free blacks, and to prohibit interracial marriages, miscegenation was so wide-spread that by the time of the Spanish regime in Louisiana, the descendants of women of color who had been freed by their grateful masters had produced a large class of desirable octoroon women notorious for their beauty. The possession of such a creature was a two-fold ego booster for the white master; it was indicative of his elevated social status, while having power over such a prized woman by means of owning her, was a testament to his manliness.

As luxury items, fancy girls provided an expensive canvas onto which slaveholders projected their sexual desires and social ambitions. […] The fancy girl brought together whiteness and sexual availability in unsettling and titillating ways […] more sexual than the ideal white woman and more refined than the promiscuous black woman. 15

The significant mixed-race population of antebellum New Orleans thus had its roots in the colonial period and was made up in part, by freed slaves and their offspring – descendants of their mulatto, slave mothers, highly sought-after by white men who gladly paid the higher price for them on the auction blocks, took them in as concubines, and habitually manumitted them and the children they fathered with them. Many mixed-race mistresses, usually quarteroons or octaroons, inherited the riches of their white lovers, as did their biracial children; giving rise to this privileged in-between class of citizens, some of them owned plantations and slaves of their own.

Adding to the number of biracial individuals who populated the territory of Louisiana were refugees fleeing the Haitian Revolution after having gone to Cuba in the 1790s, and subsequently having to abscond from Cuba in 1809, when the war between France and Spain broke out. The arrival of these refugees from what was then Saint-Domingue (modern day Haïti), incited trepidation in the hearts of white Creoles, who feared they could initiate a similar, widespread slave rebellion in New Orleans. "Black rebellion spelled the ruin of the slaveholding regime [in Haiti]." 16 Most of these immigrants were personnes de couleur libres, free persons of color. Haitian Creoles were well-educated musicians, teachers, doctors, writers, artists, artisans and merchants. They were francophone Catholics of either French or Spanish, and African descent, and very proud of their heritage. They were set apart as socially above the slaves due to their cultured backgrounds. Colonial New Orleans also provided a Latin European religious culture and a tripartite racial order (whites, free blacks, and slaves) which allowed these free people of color, sometimes referred to as the cordon bleu, to flourish. 17 This helped to prolong the implementation of the Anglo-American two-tiered racial hierarchy, which relegated all persons of color to an inferior caste. However the racial binary that was upheld once Napoleon handed Louisiana over to the Americans, eventually caused them to lose their unique status and privileged existence, until finally they would be referred to as "the tragic mulattos." 1 8 Borne of the Americanization of Louisiana, a newfound need to categorize individuals as either black or white pushed the mulattoes who had heretofore been among the wealthy, powerful and influential New Orleanians, to the brink of society.

Dana Kress, professor of French at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana, explains that however odious it was, under Spanish and French colonial rule, slavery was not as much a mark of racial inferiority as it was a condition that one could often get himself out of. For instance, many Frenchmen who developed intimate relationships with enslaved women would eventually free the woman and educate his liberated children, a process that helps explain the large number of well-educated free people of color who lived in antebellum New Orleans. Closer to the time of the Civil War however, as the English-speaking population became more dominant, the French and their customs were increasingly marginalized. Americanization and the new dual racial order had an adverse effect on the intermediate status of les personnes de couleur libres, a phenomenon which inevitably trickled down to make the conditions for slaves even worse than they had been. What Kress describes as an "uglier world view" took hold of New Orleans, causing slavery to become inextricably linked to issues of class and color. Kress points out that if before the Civil War the literacy rate was higher among the population of color than it was among white New Orleanians, there were obviously quite different things going on. In other words, a marked deterioration of the social condition of the Creoles of color and slaves from colonial New Orleans to pre-Civil War New Orleans is evident. 19

The word Créole originally designated anyone who was born in the colonies of the New World (descendants of the French and Spanish colonial settlers) as opposed to those who had settled in the New World after having emigrated from Europe. It was not until later that white Creoles would try to claim the title as their own, to distinguish themselves as being of "pure blood," which ironically, was often not the case. Black Creoles felt just as defined by the word "Creole" as their white counterparts. According to them however, the word Creole designated those who were native to Louisiana, in whose blood ran mixed strains of everything un-American, with the African strain being apparent. 20 The Créoles noirs consisted of the French-speaking, free people of color. Free people of color or Creoles of color, came to mean mixed-raced people of African and European descent.

Despite the origins of New Orleans as a racially and linguistically diverse city, it was not immune to the effects of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, when "whiteness" came to have the largest bearing on one's economic prosperity and social prestige in this Americanizing city. Many New Orleanian Creoles tried to "pass" as white, casting off the limitations imposed upon them by those who deemed them everything from impure half-breeds to adulterous bastards. 21 The importance placed on racial purity is made evident by the number of terms in existence to describe every gradation of mixed-raced individuals in such a meticulous way as to account for even the smallest drop of African blood:

Quarteroon, Quinteroon, Octoroon: Negro and white half-breeds, with fresh infusion of white blood each successive generation. Thus: Quarteroon has one-fourth, Quinteroon one-eighth, Octoroon one-sixteenth black blood only, the last being scarcely distinguishable from a white. 22

While some Creoles went to great lengths to cover up or deny any African lineage in the hopes of benefitting from the opportunities available only to those with white skin, others who might have been able to pass as white, refused to do so. The latter group disagreed with the notion of trying to pass into white society, not because they didn't recognize the benefits of doing so, but likely because they were rightfully proud of who they really were, and unwilling to forsake their true identities. Having pride in one's heritage would be cause enough to willingly relinquish the opportunities bestowed upon them if they chose to live their lives as whites. For an account of Henriette Delille, one such woman who chose not to "pass," even though her siblings did the opposite, visit:

How confounding a time it must have been, to have people within the same family engage in conflicting responses of resistance, and resignation in the face of fading Creole dominance. The fact that New Orleans had been diverse from its inception makes it all the more tragic that its citizens would be faced with race ostracism. Having to choose between two very different lives caused a schism within the Creole community. To help my students imagine what it may have felt like to have one's identity constantly scrutinized, I will ask them to reflect upon the indignation they feel when someone merely mispronounces their names. When someone mishandles or even unwittingly misrepresents those artifacts that we most closely associate with our identity, it strikes a very sensitive chord within us, the response is visceral. This obviously pales in comparison to what some Afro-Creoles in nineteenth century New Orleans faced - the decision to "pass" as white or forever sign f.m.c. or f.w.c. (free man of color or free woman of color) on legal documents. 23

There were other malevolent forces at work which aided in the marginalization of free people of color in antebellum New Orleans:

By the mid-nineteenth century, the scientific community had largely abandoned an environmentalist understanding of race in favor of theories ascribing racial distinctions to inherent biological differences. In this schema, the particular physical "defects" of blacks, Native Americans, and other nonwhites rendered them inferior – in body and mind – to "Caucasians." 24

After having filed a slander suit for being called a "woman of color" in public, Anastasie Desarzant lost the 1859 case when the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled against her on appeal: "It can be no more doubted that the plaintiff's real status is that of a person of color and that she has been endeavoring to usurp that of a white person." Desarzant was married to a white man. The case determining her race would have meant that she lost the social standing she had enjoyed all of her life until then. It also meant that she would go from being a married woman to a placée, thereby losing her legal rights. The refrain of a popular song intended to taunt Desarzant for wanting to deny her African ancestry seems particularly cruel: "Ah, Toucoutou, we know you! You are a little Mooress. Who does not know you? No soap will make you white." 25

It is both because of and in spite of such contradictions, that people have come to view New Orleans as an exotic place, so much so that one could argue that this eroticized city is hardly evocative of an American location at all. It was a multilingual, multicultural city before any other North American city. Nonetheless, in the nineteenth century, it was also a place where it was not uncommon for racially mixed residents to file law suits against those who dared to refer to them in public as "people of color," fearing the loss of privileges they were entitled to if they could "pass" as white and safeguard their light-skinned, "European" identities. 26 Upon hearing testimony from various witnesses, it was then left in the hands of the Louisiana Supreme Court to rule that the defendant in question was either veritably white, or merely trying to assume the identity of a white person. What lends an extra layer of absurdity to this paradoxical time period is that under prior Spanish and French colonial rule, before the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, white people, African Americans, and those who were frankly mystified by the matter of their own multi-ethnic heritage, enjoyed rather malleable, interracial interactions.

It was in this social milieu that a group of resident poets who referred to themselves as Les Cenelles, or the holly berries - the red color of the berries evoking the color of their skin tone 27 – composed poems emulating the literary French Romantic Movement, adapting the European style to express their uniquely American content, their hidden messages of social critique neatly packaged in a box of aching love ballads. To fully appreciate the works of these French-speaking, American poets is to understand the circumstances under which their anthology was born.

Les Cenelles

Even at the apex of their existence, this caste of residents, neither black nor white, but somewhere on shaky, middle ground, occupied a place of privilege while simultaneously being forced to exist within the bizarre dichotomy of the freedom that their lighter skin color afforded them, and the restrictions they faced because they were not white enough. The well-educated and affluent Afro-Creole elite of New Orleans, influenced by French intellectual, literary, and political movements, voiced their social criticism of the time in their literary works. They did this to protest against the contempt in which their race was held and to prove that even in an era of slavery, there were men of color capable of cultural development and refinement. 28 Most people are astonished to learn that African Americans were publishing French poetry before the Civil War. "Negros publish poetry! Such a thing was ridiculous, impossible, even impertinent." 29 I am certain that my students will be enthralled as I share with them the often untold story of the eloquent struggle for equality on behalf of the free men of color who produced New Orleanian literature during this time. Here, they will discover the historical and literary importance of Armand Lanusse and all of the French-speaking poets who contributed to Les Cenelles, the first African American poetry anthology. It should come as no surprise that the francophone free black Creoles of New Orleans were ultimately the driving force behind racial equality under Louisiana's constitution of 1868. 30

Although the social critique in these eighty-five poems was more subdued in tone than in other literary works of the time, the seventeen authors made reference to many highly politicized French Romantic writers like Victor Hugo, Alphonse de Lamartine and Alexandre Dumas. 31 The authors of Les Cenelles were living within the social incongruity of antebellum New Orleans, and they had something to say about it. The editor, Armand Lanusse, was born in New Orleans in 1812, and he was among the privileged to receive a formidable education in Paris, France. The richest among the Creoles of color were able to send their children to the most reputable universities in Paris, but they likely did so because no money was allotted for the education of black or biracial children, and few wanted to face the stigma of educating them in New Orleans.

It was a serious criminal offense to instruct slaves and although to teach free people of color was not an infraction of the law, public opinion was strongly opposed to it on the ground that the education of any Negroes only served to increase the possibility of insurrection. 32

Men such as Lanusse experienced the contrast of two different worlds. "After riding in a fiacre to the theatres in Paris and sitting in the best seats, he found it hard to travel in the black-starred mule car reserved for Negroes and sit in the highest gallery of the New Orleans playhouses." 33 Among his motives for undertaking the publishing of this anthology, in his introduction, Lanusse states: «On commence à comprendre que, dans quelque position que le sort nous ait placés, une bonne éducation est une égide contre laquelle viennent s'émousser les traits lancés contre nous par le dédain ou par la calomnie.» 34 Lanusse felt that no matter what position fate had placed them in, a good education would provide a shield against which the arrows being launched at them by disdain or by slander would be dulled.

One of the most poisonous of these arrows, according to Lanusse, was plaçage; though most of society regarded the placées as having attained a certain prestige in these arrangements. It was commonplace for mulatto women to become the concubines of white colonists through the social practice known as plaçage, yet they were not allowed to marry them, so they had no legal rights as wives. As such, they often found themselves abandoned, and without any legal recourse. "As portrayed in Creole literary works of the 1840s, plaçage agreements reduced young women of color to the status of prostitutes; these Creole writers saw the practice as a threat to the social fabric of their community." 35 A placée would be taken care of financially, as would her family – for as long as it befitted the whimsy of her suitor, for it was not unheard of for these men to take on more than one mistress, and to abandon whomever he wanted to at will. Caucasian men often had both a white wife, whom they were legally married to, and their white family, as well as a black concubine, and a black family. "White fathers referred to their white children by marriage as legitimate and their duly acknowledged children of color as their natural children." 36 This occurred in complete defiance of Louisiana's growing number of laws meant to prohibit interracial commitments. We will examine the criticisms of Lanusse and other poets regarding plaçage, as well as some of the other paradoxes of their time in a subsequent section titled Les Cenelles: Littérature, Langue, et la Critique Sociale.


It is not my intention to incite in my students a bitterness or resentment vis-à -vis the draconian events of the past, over which neither I nor they had any involvement. Even if we wanted to, we do not have the ability to erase the past and rewrite history, or to take it back. Rather, I choose to remain stubbornly Pollyannaish in my belief that enlightening students can help us work together to forge a better tomorrow. My vision does not include the cliché of a future in which society no longer sees black or white, but one in which we seek them out and marvel at the beauty of what black, white, and every gradation in between have to offer. To comprehend and appreciate the current state of affairs in the Big Easy is to view New Orleans as a microcosm of society that transcends time, and to be aware that all over the globe, we are still living out the vestiges of the distant past, and in a very real sense, we will be forevermore. While on the one hand intangible heritage and history are never really behind us, on the other, they run the risk of slipping away, or evaporating, much like the subjunctive has from English – and to a lesser extent even from the French language I teach. However I do often remind my students, much to their chagrin, that le subjonctif still lives! Perhaps as educators we can devise a way to teach our students to act as human sifts, keeping all that is worthwhile and good about times past, gleaning important lessons from the negative things, while at the same time allowing all that was bad to be filtered out and discarded, as effectively and as automatically as our kidneys can rid our bodies of harmful toxins - a process that I suspect few people could describe as compellingly and as articulately as Mark Saltzman. Until then, it would be a grave injustice to New Orleans, not to mention that it would make for a far less interesting study, if I did not share with my students the plain and simple truth that NOLA was and still is a "mess." 3 7

Stratégies et Activités pour la Classe

La Géographie et La Francophonie

Where in the world do people speak French? Where do the majority of French speakers reside? What is the citizenship of those born in La Martinique? After the discussion that ensues, introduce the concept of la Francophonie and DOM-TOMs. Project a world map as in Appendix 2 (, for students to see. Show and model aloud the pronunciation of all continents and oceans in French, having students repeat until they are able to pronounce these terms correctly. Using computer speakers and a SMART Board or a projector that can duplicate your computer screen, access: Go through the Francophonies and Continents flashcards with students, asking and answering the questions as a class. Enable the audio, and go through the flashcards a second time. Have students answer aloud. Students will need access to headphones, computers, and the Internet for at least a week's time, so if they do not have laptops of their own in class, provisions should be made to sign up for a computer lab, or to book a mobile computer lab in advance. Direct students to access Once on the Ah Bon Home page, click on Chapitre 2, Segment 1: Francophonies. Students will eventually complete all of the online activities pertaining to la Francophonie. Once they have gone through the flashcards twice, ask them to listen to and repeat "All 31 Terms" on their own. Have students click the "Back arrow," scroll down and read the notes on World Francophone Areas. Students should copy the notes, then study and memorize the Francophone areas that belong in each continent as well as how to spell them, for homework. They should study the individual maps on the site, and try to situate each place on a world map as well.

Have students go back to the Francophonies and Continents flashcards and unselect "show both sides." They should answer as many as they can on their own before they refer to their notes. On that same set of flashcards, Learn, Test, Scatter, and Space Race should be completed by students individually. These can be challenging. Have students redo them until they can master them. Create a six cell table on the board; one of the six continents where Francophonies are located should be the heading inside each square. One continent at a time, ask volunteers to name the Francophone places on that continent. Each student who answers correctly can write their Francophone place on the board, under the correct heading. You may wish to use a different color marker or chalk for each continent/square.

The next Francophonie lesson should begin with the students listening to, and repeating the audios for Amérique du nord, Amérique du sud, Océanie, Asie, Europe, and Afrique as they view them on a large screen. They should each repeat this activity on their own computers once we've done it as a class. Check for proper pronunciation by pointing to places on projected maps and asking for volunteers to name them. Once students feel more confident, choose "victims" to give the answers. Distribute legal size, blank paper to students and have them create a Foldable study guide by folding the paper into six equal squares. Label each of the six squares at the top with one of the headings: Amérique du nord, Amérique du sud, Océanie, Asie, Europe, and Afrique. Students should use the Ah Bon website if needed, to fill in the Francophone areas that belong in each square, making sure to list them under the appropriate headings. Because there are so many in Africa, they will have to write some of them on the back of that square as well. Hole punch one side of the Foldable so students can secure it in their binders.

Have students reconfigure the Quizlet as you prefer, and have them take the online Quiz. You may wish to record the scores of this online assessment, and do the same with the Test portion of the Francophonies and Continents flashcards, which you can have them reconfigure differently than how they took it the first time – preferably to a more challenging version. Students should explore the website: Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie – La voix de la diversité (The International Francophonie Organization – The voice of diversity) at: Additionally, you may want to prepare a set of questions for them to research on this site.

As a mini project, students will design a Francophonie packet. Access my wiki site: to find directions as well as PDFs of the maps that can be printed, photocopied, and collated into packets. Students will complete these by labeling continents, oceans, and Francophone countries/departments/ areas in French. Provide students with highlighters, markers, and pencil crayons so they may brightly color their maps, to have the francophone areas stand out on each page.

To further assess their knowledge of geography and geographical vocabulary in French, place a blank world map template inside a dry erase plastic pocket and distribute one, along with a fine tip dry erase marker, to each student. Without any aids, their task is to locate on the map from memory, at least 3 Francophonie areas on each continent and label them correctly in French, along with the continents and the oceans. Have students present to you individually, as they point out one continent at a time, and show you where the three Francophonies of their choice are on each continent. They should be graded both for geographical accuracy and for their French pronunciation of the geographical lexicon. For example: «En Amérique du nord il y a Le Québec, Saint- Pierre-et Miquelon, et la Louisiane.En Amérique du sud il y a…»


Students are given key words to look up which will help paint the picture of the historical backdrop of antebellum New Orleans. Assigned words will include: quarteron(ne) (quadroon: one white, one mulatto parent), octavon(ne) (octoroon), esclave (slave), maître (master), Quadroon Balls, Vente de la Louisiane (The Louisiana Purchase), Créole, métissage (racial mixing), mulâtre (mulatto), plaçage

(, représentant (Google Books: Bell, Caryn Cossé. Revolution, Romanticism, and the Afro-Creole Protest Tradition in Louisiana. p.112.), un mariage de conscience (a conscientious marriage), Le Code Noir (The Black Code), affranchissement (manumission), filles du roi or filles à la cassette (casket girls), Les Cenelles. You can give the web site clues to the students with the words plaçage, and représentant, as these may be a little trickier. The others should find plenty of information when they research their words; all students will be made aware that they should look up their words within the context of nineteenth century New Orleans.

Go to: where you can open and print a Vocabulaire de la Nouvelle Orléans au 19ième Siècle handout. Students will define the word or words they have received, depending on how large your class is. Each word requires a new handout. I write the French word only on slips of paper, and allow students to choose their words from a hat or an envelope. They will define the word in French and in English. Once again, they will need computer access to conduct Internet research. They should also have access to a good, French only dictionary, since they are not simply providing an English translation for their vocabulary words, but a French definition of the word as well. I recommend Le Petit Robert. They will then use the word in a sentence, and draw an illustration that conveys the meaning of the word. When all students have completed this vocabulary exercise and I've checked that the definitions are correct, they will engage in a game of "Vocabulary Speed Dating" whereby two rows of students face one another in the middle of the classroom and using their vocabulary sheets, take turns teaching the person standing in front of them the vocabulary word they were responsible for, within the time constraint I give them. Row "A" will go first, followed by row "B." Each line of students will initially get one minute to talk about their word until the person in front of them understands the word and is able to explain it as well. It's a good idea to use a timer or a stop watch of some sort for this. There are many online stop watches you can access. Project one on your screen and turn your computer speakers up so the alarm sounds loudly when time is up! You may adjust the maximum allotted time you give students to explain their words as needed. Then Row A can move one person to the right, in order to face off with a different partner for a second round, and so on, and so forth, until the whole class has been exposed to the entire list of words. The Speed Dating activity should be followed up with a class discussion and notes. Students should work in groups to create a timeline of events from the colonial period to 1845 when Les Cenelles was published. You may have them go beyond, and trace the important events leading up to the Civil War, if time permits.

Interpretive Mode of Communication

As a practice in reading and pronunciation, a selected poem of the teacher's choice, depending upon student needs, will be read aloud. Students will follow along in the packets provided and do nothing but read along and listen to the pronunciation of the words and phrases. Each line of the poem will be read aloud twice while students read along and listen. Next, I will return to the beginning of the poem to read and have the students respond in unison, reading the same line. We will repeat each line in this manner twice. Once students have had the chance to practice repeating after me one line at a time, we engage in choral reading of the entire poem as a class. At this time students will feel considerably more comfortable with the text, and I will have them read aloud individually, one line each, as we go in order, up and down the rows of student desks.

Students must learn to understand and interpret written and spoken language or they will be limited in experiencing the esthetic pleasure that literature can provide. This ties in very well with culture as well, since we are studying authentic materials. 38 To assist with reading and comprehension, encourage students to use more top-down strategies. They should initially focus on what they already know and can understand in the text, and then work to fill in the gaps by looking up the words they are not familiar with. We will start by discussing the literal meaning of the selected poem so that students have a clear picture of what is being described. To see the packet I devised for reading, interpreting and analyzing the poems, visit: Click on Analyser ces poèmes. The PDF file can be printed, photocopied, and given to students as a packet. You may also want to create comprehension questions to help guide students in their study of the poems. This handout provides space to work with five poems in particular, but additional poems could be studied in a similar fashion. I've created one blank page that can be used with the poems of your choice, for this purpose. The packet will serve as an exercise in showing student knowledge before and after their study of the poems. The text box on the left side of the poem, titled «Avant l'analyse» is the place for students to fill in everything they understand upon an initial reading of the poem. This may include identifying the infinitives of verbs, tenses, vocabulary, and any stylistic remarks. Once they read the poem and analyze it more closely with the aid of resources, they can fill in any gaps with what they learned using the space in the text box on the right to do so.

Once students understand the literal meaning of a poem, we can explore what hidden messages of social criticism might be detected in it. With the authentic texts before them, students will interpret the poem; determine the main ideas, and all significant details. Students will ultimately be able to translate the poems with reasonable accuracy in this way.

Les Cenelles: Littérature, Langue, et la Critique Sociale

We have already seen how well this unit lends itself to interdisciplinary learning through the study of the geography of the francophone world, and the history of New Orleans. As stated in the national standards for Foreign Languages, ACTFUL (American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Standard 3.1 requires that students reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language. 39 This unit also allows for the development of Language Arts skills. The connections that can be made to Language Arts will occur in identifying and discussing literary devices such as metaphor, simile, rhythm, rhyme scheme, meter, and voice. Students should also seek to identify any cultural nuances including humor, irony, or sarcasm. For the French terminology needed to study poetry, see: and click on «Étudiez un poème».

Students will read and analyze at least five poems from this anthology. As readers who will be cognizant of the precarious circumstances of les gens de couleur libres in antebellum New Orleans, they will appreciate the deep sense of melancholy behind the poems of Les Cenelles. Once one is aware of the fact that its authors were among the most disregarded citizens of New Orleans, prohibited by law from publishing any social criticism, and snubbed by women of their own race who would sooner attain social status and wealth by becoming the mistresses of white men, then the verses begin to whisper with a profound sadness about the social injustices of the time, hope for a better future, and at times, resignation and despair. Suddenly we see more than just mere imitations of French romantic poetry. 40 While the poems do not explicitly speak of their precarious existence, Les Cenelles managed to express their displeasure with the plight of their people.

Épigramme by Lanusse is written in the classic 12 syllable Alexandrain, the longest and most majestic verse of regular poetry. Students will count the syllables in each line to discover this. As we read the poem aloud, they will also observe the ABABCDCD rhyme scheme. This perfectly constructed huitain is dripping with irony; Lanusse condemns the greed of Créole mothers who wish to "place" their daughters, thereby ensuring their own financial well-being. This author, who was also a teacher at the Institution Catholique des Orphelins, a school for black orphans, describes a mother who goes to confession in this poem. Her earthly agenda quickly reveals itself as being more pressing to her than her salvation, as we can almost hear her murmur to the priest: «Pour m'"ter tout motif de pécher désormais, / Que ne puis-je, pasteur – Quoi donc? placer ma fille…» 41 (To remove all motive for me to sin from now on, / May I – what? place my daughter?)

Although nothing is known about M.F. Loitau, the author of Mon vieux chapeau reveals himself to be a man who feels the dread of having become inferior or undesirable in the eyes of the women of his caste since they were mostly interested in plaçage arrangements with wealthy, white men. He worries about whether or not he will ever have the opportunity to propagate his race. The tone seems witty and lighthearted at the onset; the quick rhythm of six syllable lines appears to support the same, as the author defends his outdated hat and describes how he wears it with pride despite everyone telling him that he needs «un nouveau. » Yet in the last stanza, when he understates his desire to have a son by saying how flattered he would be to see «Un garçon de ma taille» (a boy my size) / «Mettre mon vieux chapeau.» 4 2 (Put on my old hat) the tone suddenly becomes very serious in this three stanza huitain, written in an ABBACDCD rhyme scheme. The imagery of his outdated hat is likely an allegory for the troubles of his people, who seem to have fallen from grace. The poet would think it a kindness from God to have a son carry on his legacy, or on a larger scale, to keep the legacy of his beloved gens de couleur libres from going the way of the dodo.

P. Dalcour elaborates on this feeling of dread felt by Les Cenelles in his Heure de désenchantement. This author spent most of his time in Paris because he could not bear the restrictions placed upon his race in Louisiana. 43 Here, he describes himself as a jaded individual who can no longer believe in happiness on earth, despite the fact that he is barely twenty-five years old. He proclaims this in a refrain at the beginning, and at the end of the poem. To further illustrate his stance, he uses a metaphor when referring to happiness as a "deceiving ghost." 44 The AABB rhyme is regular and the poet uses a series of 10 quatrains consisting of two couplets each, to express his anger and disenchantment with the world. Dalcour expresses his disdain for plaçage by calling to mind the disloyal hearts of the men who "possessed" these women. His despair over the condition of his people is evident in the eighth stanza: «Le monde est un cloaque où règnent les vices, / Où chacun bassement se livre à ses caprices, / Où le fort sous ses pieds tient le faible abattu, Où l'homme impudemment parle encor de vertu!» 45 (The world is a cesspool where vices reign, / Where everyone basely gives in to his whims, Where the strong keep the weak and dejected underfoot, / Where man impudently still speaks of virtue!) This is the powerful poem with which Lanusse chose to conclude the anthology. All of the poets who contributed to Les Cenelles undoubtedly shared in Dalcour's anger.

The hopeless romantic in me longed to share at least one love ballad with my students as well; hence Tu m'as dit je t'aime by M. St. Pierre, the swordsman and fencing master of the group, has found its way into my selection of poems for this unit. The up-beat, five-syllable lines which make up these three huitains would prove conducive to memorization, as would the ABABCDCD end rhymes. I suspect this will be the poem of choice for the majority of my students when it comes time to select one to recite in class. The love-struck poet proclaims his unbridled joy about Marguerite having told him that she loves him. «? bonheur extríme! / Qu'ils sont beaux mes jours! / Tu m'as dit: je t'aime! / Redis-le toujours!» 46 (Oh extreme happiness! / How beautiful are my days! / You told me: I love you! / Repeat it always!)

Un An d'Absence is the second poem by P. Dalcour which I chose to have my students analyze because it states concisely what they will have learned at this point regarding the difficulties suffered by les gens de couleur libres in nineteenth century New Orleans. Dalcour speaks of a place «Loin d'un monde imposteur, / Loin des regards profanes,» 47 (Far from an imposturous world, / Far from profane stares,) denoting his position of disdain for the inferior social situation in which he finds himself. He also makes reference to the "evils" that he has suffered. He speaks of having been "exiled" from New Orleans by cruel fortune, and expresses his happiness to be returning from France after having been away for a year. His poem is addressed to a blonde, blue-eyed Créole woman, the object of his affection, or does she represent the city of New Orleans? His refrain could just as easily be meant for his beloved New Orleans, "Yes, I still love you!" He closes the poem stating that he always will. Perhaps this is an allusion to the fact that despite the hardships of his existence in New Orleans, it is nonetheless home to him, and he will always feel a connection to it. These four huitain stanzas of ABABCDCD rhyme beautifully convey how entrenched the intangible heritage of New Orleans remained in Dalcour's identity, despite the injustice he had to face there. Upon his return from a year's absence, the unwavering love he has for his birthplace, despite its increasingly oppressive laws, allows him to return «fidèle. » (loyal) even though NOLA may not have always remained loyal to him.

Interpersonal Mode of Communication

Students will prepare, memorize, and perform a dialogue or role play in pairs, or groups, engaging in conversation, providing and obtaining information, expressing feelings and emotions, and exchanging opinions. 4 8 Ask students to role play the conversation taking place between a white suitor and a représentant (the young woman's mother or a close relative) as they negotiate the terms of their plaçage agreement. Alternatively, the conversation can be between a free woman of color and her white gentleman suitor, taking place during one of the Octoroon Balls where they meet, or between a Creole man of color who loves a Creole woman, but is turned down by her due to her ambitions of becoming a white Frenchman's concubine, a placée, instead. They can choose to recreate Anastasie Desarzant's case as she tried to "pass" as white but was found to be an imposter by the Supreme Court of Louisiana after several witnesses provided evidence of her black lineage. The conversation between Henriette Delille – the woman who chose not to "pass," and her siblings who did, would make for an interesting discussion as well. The authors of Les Cenelles, discussing their rationale for the first Afro-American poetry anthology written in French would also be intriguing. There are several possible scenarios for students to role play; they may also propose one of their own for approval before they get started. Encourage students to be humorous when possible, but to use the vocabulary and the information they've garnered from class discussions, notes, and their own research. Provide students with a list of elements you would like to see in their dialogues, regardless of the scenarios they choose to act out. For example, I would request that in each dialogue there be a minimum of 6 examples each of the subjunctive, the future tense including: le future proche, le future simple, le future antérieur, the conditional, and whatever other grammar points I wanted them to practice.

Presentational Mode of Communication

Given a small number of poems to choose from, students will select their favorite to memorize and recite/present to the class. Before they begin to prepare for their presentations, discuss ways to enhance their performance. Props: some students like to create sock-puppet characters, masks, or other paraphernalia to use during their presentation. Lighting: an overhead projector makes a great spotlight with classroom lights turned off. Colored transparencies on the projector can aid in setting a mood; blue for sad, yellow for bright and sunny, green for a "wicked" performance, or that of an extra-terrestrial. Costumes: dressing up for a recital can include assuming the identity of the poet, or of one or more of the characters mentioned in the poem. Other performance-enhancers worth mentioning: music, sound effects, voice pitch and quality. This is a creative project; students will be graded on their originality and their recital of the poem, pronunciation and enthusiasm included. Before students get to this point, they should have memorized and presented some poems collectively already, like Le Corbeau et Le Renard, a fable from La Fontaine, for example. When the class has worked together on memorizing and reciting, they are familiar with the process and they feel more confident and comfortable with the idea. If they've never had the pleasure before, take heart, you will be the teacher to introduce them to this phenomenon and they will never forget you for it!

This is meant to be fun for the students preparing as well as for the classmates observing! If students feel intimidated, direct them to this video of a three year old boy who recites a 30 line poem and squeals with joy at the end for having been able to do it! This is how excited I'd like my students to be about presenting one of the poems from Les Cenelles:


  1. )
  2. best of
  5. Mardi Gras Indians, Smith, p-17, par3)
  7. Cities of the Dead-Joseph Roach p.192 par 2).
  8. David WInkler-Schmit January 22, 2008),( Bruce "Sunpie' Barnes, a member of the Skull and Bones Gang.)
  9. David WInkler-Schmit January 22, 2008),
  10. Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association 1975, Louisiana Historical Association, p.289 of 289-298, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show In New Orleans)
  12. David WInkler-Schmit January 22, 2008)
  13. Cities of the Dead- p.196, par 3)
  14. Bannock, personal interview by Joseph Roach- Cities of the Dead p.206, par2).
  15. He's the prettiest p.15- par 4)
  16. He's the Prettiest p 11 par 3)
  17. Injuns Here Dey Come::OffBeat::New Orleans and Louisiana Music, Food and Art News http://offbeat.copm/2006/03/01/injuns-here-dey-come/ 6/28/11)
  19. Why New Orleans Matters, Tom Piazza, p.55- par1)
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Bell, Caryn Cossé. Revolution, Romanticism, and the Afro-Creole Protest Tradition in Louisiana. Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press, 1997.

Blaz, Deborah. Bringing the standards for foreign language learning to life. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education, 2002.

Bruce, Clint, and Jennifer Gipson. Je n'étais qu'un objet de mépris: degrés de résistance dans la littétrature des Créoles de couleur en Louisiane au XIXe siecle. Francophonies d'Amerique 17

5-15. (Ottawa: Les Presses de l'Université d'Ottawa, 2004),

(accessed May 11, 2011).

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Cheung, Floyd D. "Les Cenelles and Quadroon balls: "Hidden Transcripts" of

Resistance and Domination in New Orleans, 1803-1845," Southern Literary Journal Spring97, Vol. 29 Issue 2. (University of North Carolina Press, 1997),, 5-16.

Desdunes, Rodolphe Lucien. Our people and our history: fifty Creole portraits. Louisiana pbk. ed. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2001.

Études Littéraires. Comment étudier un poème. (accessed July 15, 2011.)

digg TM. (accessed July 5, 2011). A three year old boy recites Litany by Billy Collins.

Falconer, Graham. "Les Cenelles and Quadroon Balls: "Hidden Transcripts" of Resistance and domination in New Orleans, 1803-1845." Nineteenth-Century French Studies 35.3&4 (2007): 5-14. Project Muse. Web. 11 (accessed May 2011).

Franklin, Laura L. Ph.D. "Spotlight on Technology to Improve L2 Reading Skills." Alexandria: The College Board, 2007.

Lane, Jill. "Hemispheric America in Deep Time." Theatre Research International 35, no. 2 (2010): 111-125.

Lanusse, Armand. Les Cenelles. Shreveport: Les Cahiers du Tintamarre, Centenary College of Louisiana, 2003.

Miller, Christopher L. The French Atlantic Triangle. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2008.

Pasquier, Michael T.. 2011. "Code Noir of Louisiana." KnowLA Encyclopedia of Lo uisiana. (accessed July 17, 2011).

Pudewa, Andrew. "Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization: A Mastery Learning Approach." Atascadero: Institute for Excellence in Writing, 2005.

Reed, Ishmael. Mumbo jumbo . [1st ed. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1972.

Roach, Joseph R. Yale National Initiative Seminars May-July, 2011.

Schafer, Judith Kelleher. Brothels, depravity, and abandoned women: illegal sex in antebellum New Orleans. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2009.

Tinker, Edward Larocque. Les cenelles: Afro-French poetry in Louisiana. New York: Colophon, 1930.

Thompson, Shirley Elizabeth. Exiles at home: the struggle to become American in Creole New Orleans. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009.

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