Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Though much of the early development of Louisiana Creole culture can be found in New Orleans, the culture spread and continued to grow throughout the rest of South Louisiana in both similar and different ways. Expanding beyond Joseph Roach’s treatment of Creole cultural performances in New Orleans in Cities of the Dead (1996) and journeying across land and water, this project identifies more Creole cultural performance as they emerge across place and time. I present Louisiana and the Gulf South as a kind of inland archipelago, with the currents of culture-creation moving in and around distinct community enclaves. The flow of the protest traditions of the Afro-Creoles of New Orleans and a self-identified Creole madame in Storyville travel along the banks of the Mississippi River to the capital crossroads of Baton Rouge, where two universities are linked by a history of segregation, protest, and inescapable connection. These intertwined histories faced off in a hometown football game in which the Southern University Human Jukebox and the LSU Golden Band from Tigerland explored creolized possibilities in a first-ever combined cultural performance in Tiger Stadium. Across the River, Creoles in South Louisiana are doing the work of expanding the state’s narratives of the Cajun-dominated Acadiana through both traditional and nontraditional cultural performance. Together, in Festivals Acadiens et Créoles, Cajuns and Creoles resist the overarching views of the region by sharing time, music, dancing, food, and crafts. And finally, these elements of dramaturgical inquiry into a broader understanding of Creole cultural performance and conditions turn to Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1963, as the characters of Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s Caroline, or Change encounter the rapidly shifting tides of social and political upheaval from a Black, Louisiana Creole position. A creolized view of Louisiana cultural performance opens up new understandings of cultural creation and the complexity of race and community in the state.



Committee Chair

John Fletcher