Louisiana has long been hit by hurricanes like our fellow gulf coast states. A look at the past might give some insight into how many we have dealt with, and why we still live and survive, when even the federal government wishes for us to just go away. As a long time survivor of many of these storms, I know what it is to rebuild and refuse to just give up. You just can’t make us go away. WE LIVE!
Cajun resolve can never be taken for granted. In a state that is full of descendants of a people that was left behind by their own nation, and left to the horror of England and Le Grand Dérangement, you can expect the same will to live.
Le Grand Dérangement (“The Great Disturbance”) is the name given to the Acadians’ 1755 mass expulsion from their homeland by the British military. An illegal action undertaken during peacetime without approval of the British government in London, the expulsion was devised by Major Charles Lawrence, a professional British soldier who in 1754 took command of the colony as its lieutenant governor. Later appointed full governor, Lawrence feared that the Acadians, despite their claims of neutrality, would become fifth columnists in the event of another war with France. The Acadians’ numerical advantage over their British overseers magnified his fear. In addition, Lawrence desired the Acadians’ fertile farmlands for loyal Anglo-Protestant settlers. Failing to acquire from the Acadians an ironclad oath of allegiance to the British crown, Lawrence summoned Acadian males to fortified posts under false pretenses and arrested them while soldiers burned homes and boats and rounded up women and children. Herded into ports, Lawrence divided the Acadians into groups according to age and sex, loaded them onto overcrowded vessels, and scattered them across thousands of miles in a deliberate attempt to wipe out the Acadian identity. (Numbering some 12,000 to 18,000 total, only 6,000 to 7,000 Acadians were actually expelled on British ships, the remainder fleeing to neighboring regions.) According to some estimates, about half the pre-expulsion Acadian population died from disease, exposure, and starvation brought about directly by the British operation (which by modern standards arguably constituted an incident of genocide or “ethnic cleansing”).
Our ancestors did not give up, and we will not either! For a little background, you can check out Louisiana Hurricane History:Late 20th Century. On the second page, you have a list of years from 1527 to 1997. That should keep you busy in history for a bit.
At Hurricanes: online meteorology guide, you can interact with hurricanes in the forms of Flying through a 3-D hurricane, and Interacting with Atlantic hurricanes from 1950-2003. The latter lets you choose a year and storm, or choose a big hurricane, to see it from the origin to the end. On that one, you can click on the colored dots to see info on the storm at that time. Among the storms of note that we have been hit with here, is Andrew. Katrina and Rita are not on there as it only goes to 2003. Our area has been hit by some of the most destructive storms known to mankind. Andrew, Katrina, and then Rita. Yet we live! Many have hit us, and we rebuild and continue to survive. We survived those and Betsy and Camille. So add them up, just the tip of the ice burg.
Got to do better than that to make us leave. We come from horror, and we run not from it, but face it and challenge it. We are descended from people that knew not how to give up. We are alive, and we are Cajun!
Cross Posted from Reaper Speak