Her desk drawers, lined in green felt, spilled over with card decks, cocktail napkins, and golf tees.
The earliest recorded German immigrants to Louisiana arrived inand Germans continue to arrive every year, especially in the New Orleans area. The fact that residents of German descent actually comprise Louisiana's largest cultural group is often overlooked, and it has only been in the last decade that scholarly forays have been made into this history.
Courtesy of Stewart Eastman. According to Reverend Heinz Neumann, who maintains the Deutsche Seemannsmission German Seamen's Mission in New Orleans, "The two world wars contributed to the muting of this culture in Louisiana and America, so that many people are not aware of the German traditions here and the contributions Germans continue to make in Louisiana.
These ties are not often recognized or understood by Louisiana's non-German residents. Recalls Brigitta Malm of Covington: There has been a lot of help by the German government and other institutions after the hurricane.
However, it has been very difficult to get coverage of this support. There was a team of 90 people here from the Deutsches Hilfswerk [German aid Essay memories my grandfather they came with pumps and stayed on a ship in Chalmette and apparently did a great job in pumping out the water from New Orleans.
There was also financial help from the German government, and a donation collected by a North German newspaper in Schleswig Holstein was divided and given to City Park, a food mission on the West Bank, and several other organizations.
The most recent pre-Katrina population statistics available from the state of Louisiana report the number of people who are now Louisiana residents but were born in Germany as 4, Excluding the in Vernon Parish, largely due to the army base there, the statistics break down in the following order, from the largest German communities to the smallest that have 50 or more members.
The German community in our state goes back numerous generations, but continues to be enriched by new immigrants that strengthen the established community's ties to the homeland. Germans were among the earliest settlers in Louisiana; in fact, they arrived earlier than many of the more dominant cultural groups.
Many came from the disputed Alsace-Lorraine region, which helps to explain the easy assimilation of French and German customs, and a small but substantial portion of the earliest German settlers were Jewish.
As a consequence of the social and economic success of these early Jewish settlers, attempts to import animosity toward Jews were largely unsuccessful in Louisiana's early days. Louisiana's sparse population and its great need for enterprising citizens allowed individuals to be judged more on merit than religious creed, and records from the St.
Louis Cathedral make clear that intermarriage between Jews and Catholics was not uncommon. The Louisiana to which our earliest Germans emigrated was a state of tremendous opportunity that was nevertheless known as the "grave of young men. Charles Parish; it's part of "Cote des Allemandes.
They were German farmers that were brought here by the French to farm, to start a new colony. I remember some things my grandfather and grandmother told me about [that time]; people worked so hard they didn't live long.
They died in their mid-fifties; they worked real hard. The elements-the mosquitoes, the wild animals, the Indians-it was a hard life. But in other ways they lived a good life, you know.
They raised fresh vegetables. My family also told me that the German Coast farmers kept New Orleans from starving during one emergency period because they provided fresh produce and the milk and cheeses and that type of thing. In addition to the advantages a port city like New Orleans offered to budding entrepreneurs of the 18th and 19th centuries, the crime, disease, and lack of sanitation made it a dangerous place that discouraged many who tried to establish themselves there.
Ochsner, Garrett Schwegmann, and Joseph Francis Rummel-rose from a variety of backgrounds to become forces for progress in their new state. Many German names were legally "Americanized"; in Louisiana this meant that the "new" name appears French, so that the German "Troxler" became "Trosclair," "Zweig" became "Labranche," and so on.
The changing of immigrants' names, and the fact that Germans have been discouraged from speaking German or openly practicing their inherited customs for several generations, has had the effect that a good number of Louisiana's younger residents of German heritage do not know about their own cultural backgrounds.
This is an issue of great concern to older German-Americans, and came up often in interviews. A tour guide at Ormond Plantation tells of a recent incident in which a group of German tourists to St. James Parish asked a teenage boy for directions to Louisiana's German Coast.
He responded that he himself was Cajun and had not heard of the German Coast. When he reported the story to his parents, he learned that his family was among the earliest Germans to arrive on the state's German Coast where their descendents all currently live, including himself!
Nineteenth-century Louisiana was a place in which immigrants might remake themselves-might alter their social status through their own efforts, change religious affiliations or escape religious or cultural persecution that, though tried in Louisiana, failed to gain popular or institutional support.
Romantic and volatile, ripe with possibilities for fortune or disaster, Louisiana was a place where hardy adventurers, with work and luck, might create new lives and leave legacies of lasting impact on future generations of family and on state history.
French colonial prefect Pierre Clement Laussat supported the growth of Louisiana's population by increasing the number of Germans in residence.
In he wrote, This class of peasants, especially of this nationality, is just the kind we need and the only one that has always done well in this area, which is called the German Coast.
It is the most industrious, the most populous, the most prosperous, the most upright, the most valuable population segment of this colony. I deem it essential that the French government adopt the policy of bringing to this area every year 1, to 1, families from the border states of Switzerland, the Rhine and Bavaria.
Early Expressions of German Culture in Louisiana Germans established benevolent societies that provided services to the community. Like the now well-known "social aid and pleasure clubs" established before the turn of the century in some New Orleans African American communities, these organizations helped members find employment, paid their burial expenses, and supplied life insurance to the families of deceased members.Essay on My Childhood Memories of Grandpa.
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