Ethnic Division in New Orleans
Ethnic Division in New Orleans

Transcript

NARRATOR: It's been said that Kate Chopin loved anything French. New Orleans was really a French city that had been occupied by the United States with the Louisiana purchase. Chopin witnessed many of the French ways of life disappear as the city became more Americanized. Canal Street served as the divide between the Creoles and "the American invaders." The Creoles settled downtown or below Canal Street in the colorful French quarter or Vieux Carrie. The Americans moved uptown above Canal Street. But, they all lived in close proximity to each other. And, Chopin got to observe both.

SOUNDBITE: Arnold Hirsch/University of New Orleans
There was a cultural mix across ethnic lines, across racial lines. However, right her social circle might be, there was a physical intimacy that was there. The social worlds did overlap.

NARRATOR: The worlds overlapped largely because a lot was done outside, especially during the summer months.

SOUNDBITE: Arnold Hirsch/University of New Orleans
They would have visited the open air markets which would have been scattered through the city. It was there that they would have found the mixture of peoples, heard the different languages, enjoyed he sights and sounds of what was still a very diverse city, perhaps the most unusual city in the United States.

NARRATOR: While Chopin had her French pride, scholars say the Americans were the ones who were growing in prosperity in New Orleans.

SOUNDBITE: Emily Toth/Louisiana State University
The French were losing their money, they may have had social status, but, they were, ah, as far as money goes, they were really on the way down, the Americans were on the way up.

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