Acadian-Cajun Early homes_0001.wmv
Louisiana Acadian (Cajuns) Homes
The Acadians (French: Acadiens, IPA: [akadj??]) are the descendants of the seventeenth-century French colonists who settled in Acadia (located in the Canadian Maritime provinces — Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and in the US state of Maine). The settlers whose descendants became Acadians did not all come from the same region in France.
In the Great Expulsion of 1755-1763, mostly during the Seven Years’ War, British colonial officers and New England legislators and militia deported more than 14,000 Acadians from the maritime region in what could be called an ethnic cleansing . Approximately one third perished. Gradually, some managed to make their way to Louisiana, creating the Cajun population and culture after mixing with others
When the Acadians first arrrived in Louisiana, some put up quick, temporary shelters made of wood and palmetto leaves. The Native Americans had been building such dwellings for years. Built upon a pole frame, palmettos would be uses on the roof (as was straw in France and Acadia). Many also used palmetto for walls until wood could be cut.
When they had the time to build a more substantial structure, they often built homes by putting wood vertically into the ground for walls. These 2nd generation Acadian homes (1766-1827) were either poteaux en terre (post in ground) or planche debout (upright planks). The easiest of the two, poteaux en terre, was to cut logs, strip off the bark, and place it in a hole in the ground. The gaps between the logs would be filled with a mud and straw/moss mixture (bousillage). If they had the time and manpower, they might cut planks from the logs and place the planks vertically in the ground (planche debout) to make the walls (again, filling the gaps with bousillage). Roofs were covered with shingles or wood. These homes were built directly on the ground.
The Acadians soon learned that to build a wooden home on the ground was not the way to go. The occasional flooding and insect damage was terrible to these kinds of homes. Upon arriving in Louisiana, they noted that Creole homes were often built off the ground. This kept the home from water & insects and helped provide better ventilation. The 3rd generation Acadian home (1790-1850) was built on pillars of wood or brick. It was small, averaging about fifteen by twenty-five feet in size. Many had galleries in front. The chimney – made of bousillage at first, later of brick – was on one end of a one-room home. Two-room homes often had the chimney in-between the rooms.
The 4th generation Acadian home (1790-1920) was often larger that previous versions. By the mid-1800s, it was the common type of Acadian house. It has a gallery (porche on the front (and sometimes the back). This served two purposes. It gave them a place to sit to cool off and to socialize. It also allowed for a taller roof to provide room for storage and sleeping quarters. There were stairs to the atttic, usually located on the inside of homes in east Acadiana and outside the homes in west Acadiana. The upstairs sleeping area for the boys was called the garçonniere. The roof was covered with wood shingles at the beginning of this time period, but these were often replaced by corrugated tin roofing later in the 1800s. As the family grew, a separate but connected building was often built to the rear for kitchenspace or a bedroom. The windows had no glass, but were covered by wooden shutters. Some had two rooms side-by-side, with a front door opening up to each. One room was the common family room and kitchen, while the other room was a bedroom for the parents and daughters. As some Acadian families grew in size and wealth, larger homes with multiple rooms would be built.
As the 20th century progressed, most Cajuns began occupying contemporary housing styles, though some still have similar features to the old Acadian homes. Though there are a few 18th century Acadian homes scattered around south Louisiana, they are disappearing. This video of still pics represents only a portion of the snapshots I have collected of old Cajun homes. If you have any old pics your are willing to share with me, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Duration : 0:5:9