|The definition of the word Creole, as it pertains to a group of
people, varies greatly depending upon a particular geography,
such as, Louisiana, Brazil, Peru.
The term "Creole" is better understood as defining a new world
culture. In Louisiana, a culture that was both French speaking
In New Orleans, for more than a century, the Creoles were the
economic, social, and cultural leaders. Upper-class and urbane
city dwellers, they spoke French, educated their children in
France, clung to French traditions, and considered themselves
far superior to any other residents of New Orleans.
As a result of racial mixing , there developed a class of people in
New Orleans know as Creoles of Color. They were of mixed
bloodlines, including French, Spanish, African and Native
American. Many received their education in Paris. They were
free to conduct commerce and trade, buy and sell property -
including slaves - as well as serve in the militia and attend
cathedral, opera, theater, and Free Masons meetings. Political
office and the vote, however, were denied, and they could not
intermarry with whites. They were a separated caste from
white Creoles and Creole slaves. The usage of the term "Creole"
in contemporary New Orleans pertains to those who trace their
heritage to the early Louisiana Creoles of Color.
Creole cooking is the ethnic food of New Orleans, and it
dominates the local culinary scene the way French food
does in France. It grew from a grafting, two centuries
ago, of French dishes onto African cooking practices, with
Spanish, German and American influences.
Creole food is always full-flavored, with generous
components of butter, pepper, salt and herbs. The
combination of onions, bell peppers and celery, cooked in
a roux of oil and flour, is the starting point for many Creole
Also key to Creole cooking is the richness of the local food
supply - particularly with regard to seafood. Oysters,
shrimp, crabs and crawfish are abundant and of a quality
to rival those of any other place in the world. Dozens of
edible fin-fish species abound in the waters that surround
New Orleans. All of these are featured prominently on the
menus of New Orleans restaurants.