L’Union Créole at the Old US Mint
The New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, the Consulate General of France in New Orleans, and the Louisiana State Museum are pleased to present a Creole Music Residency at the Old U.S. Mint, April 26th through April 30th. The residency features prominent musicians from the Caribbean or with roots in the Caribbean and pairs them with several Louisiana musicians, who perform and write music in the Creole French language. The artists involved include Pascal Danae, Dédé Saint Prix, Cedric Watson, Leyla McCalla, and Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots. Collectively, the musical residency is being called L’Union Creole.
Louisiana Creole is a linguistic amalgamation based in 17th and 18th century French, sprinkled with African proverbs and incorporating some Spanish and Native American words. For enslaved Africans, Creole was a language built out of necessity; allowing people who spoke many different languages to be able to communicate. For Louisiana’s gens de couleur, or free people of color population, Creole was a language identified with both the descendants of French Colonists and enslaved Africans. Today, Louisiana Creole can be called an endangered language, as it is being abandoned by younger generations. The primary impetus for the National Park Service to host a Creole residency is to pair Louisiana musicians, who speak and write music in fluent Creole, with musicians from Guadeloupe and Martinique, where Creole is a primary language.
L’ Union was the first African American owned newspaper in the South dedicated to ending slavery and the oppression of black people. When harassment against L’Union intensified with threats to burn the building and kill its editor, Paul Trevigne, it ceased publication on July 19, 1864. Recognizing the need to continue the struggle for civil rights, Dr. Roudanez bought out the other investors in L’Union and started La Tribune de la Nouvelle Orleans (the New Orleans Tribune) which became the first African American owned daily publication in the United States. From April 26th -28th, The Louisiana State Museum will present, from its archives, an original 1850’s copy of the newspaper, displayed on the 3rd floor of the Old U.S. Mint.
On April 26th, 27th, and 28th, the participants will present educational programs to New Orleans French Immersion schools which the NPS will assist in providing a Creole language curriculum. At 2:00 p.m., each day, L’Union Creole will perform an educational concert focusing on traditional songs and original compositions sung entirely in the Creole language. All educational performances will be free and open to the public. Technical assistance to make this residency possible is provided by the National Council for Traditional Arts.
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park is managed by the National Park Service and tells the story of the people and places that helped shape the birth and development of jazz music in New Orleans. Call 504-589-4841 or visit www.nps.gov/jazz for more information.