Creole Heritage Center 2020-10-26T10:49:36+00:00

Welcome to the NSU Creole Heritage Center!

Our mission is to promote, foster and engage in activities and endeavors that relate to Louisiana Creoles and their culture. It serves as an office of support to Louisiana and national Creole communities and organizations, offering advice and assistance in matters that affect Creoles.

The Center also serves as a central clearinghouse/information bank for these communities and for those seeking knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Louisiana Creoles and their culture. Our efforts toward meeting this mission has involved outreach to the national Creole public as well as academics and researchers. This has resulted in a wealth of information about the Creole culture previously unavailable. It is our goal to have this website provide as much of this information as possible. This will be an ongoing endeavor and will continue to be a living and growing Creole resource.

Current Staff:

  • Loletta Jones-Wynder, Director
  • Dr. Pete Gregory, Academic Advisor
  • Shirley Dunn-Chevalier, Genealogist
  • Markita Hamilton-Small, CHC Clerk
  • Rhonda Remedies-Gauthier, CHC Clerk

Louisiana Creole Heritage Center · NSU Box 5675 · Natchitoches, LA 71497 · 318.357.6685

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Events

Upcoming events will be placed here.

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Our Background

The establishment of the Louisiana Creole Heritage Center was part of a five-year plan initiated by the St. Augustine Historical Society, a Natchitoches Parish based group. The society was formed over 25 years ago to promote and preserve the Creole Culture. Although its initial focus was the community of Cane River, it has broadened its range to include the entire state of Louisiana, as well as Creole Colonies located nationally.

This Center is a reality through the efforts of the society’s current president, Mr. James Billeaudeau, along with the assistance of a number of its members and various NSU personnel. The approval of the university’s governing boards was sought and obtained in the fall of 1997. Grant money that was received from the Governor’s Office of Urban Affairs and Development allowed for the support of a start-up staff whose initial mission was to assist in the achievement of permanent funding for the Center.

Since its opening October, 1998, the office has grown to one (1) full time employee, two (2) part-time employees, two (2) student workers, and many around the community who volunteer for certain events year-round.

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Donations

To Our Friends & Supporters: THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!

The Creole Heritage Center (CHC) has been in operation since 1998.  We will mark our 20th year anniversary in 2018 and without your continued support, we would not have been able to reach this great milestone.  Please know that because of your pledges, annual memberships and/or donations, we have been able to survive. The Creole Center is still alive and well.

For those of you who are continuing your regular pledge donations and/or have renewed your 2018 membership, please accept our heartfelt thanks for your support.  However, if your membership is not current, we ask that you consider joining or renewing your Creole Heritage Foundation membership today.  A link of our 2018 Membership and Donation form is will be provided below.   If you should have any questions, please contact us at 318 357-6685 or by email:  creolecenter@nsula.edu  or wynderl@nsula.edu.

2018 Membership and Donation Form

Mrs. Loletta J. Wynder, Director

Dr. Pete Gregory, Academic Advisor

NSU Creole Heritage Center/Foundation

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The Creole Store

Store items will be placed here.

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Genealogy Department

The Genealogy Department of the NSU Creole Heritage Center welcomes you and your family’s history to our world. We are in the midst of creating a national database of Creole family histories that will serve as a central clearinghouse for researchers. Our efforts include gathering data from every Creole colony within the state as well as to their links nationwide.

The Center and its Resource Unit is also involved in cataloging as much of the documentation regarding Creole family histories as we can locate. Your help is needed to accomplish this! We are asking that you submit copies of family papers and photos that would add to the catalog and help preserve your family’s legacy. Our current collections contain documents such as baptismal and marriage records, funeral cards and programs, photographs, military records, letters, census records, succession papers, etc. If you are interested in donating copies of any such documents, please contact either the Center via email, telephone at 318/357-6685 or mail to CREOLE CENTER, NSU Box 5675, Natchitoches, LA 71497.

SEARCH Ancestral Creole Family Histories

The searchable database online reflects the information we presently have on individuals born BEFORE 1921. You will have the option to search on all fields shown. You will also have the option of updating any of the information returned as a part of your search. Just hit the UPDATE button for the individual and enter the information you want to either add, correct, or change. This information is then submitted to our Genealogy Department who will be responsible for updating the database.

NOTE:  All materials located in this database are the property of the Creole Heritage Center and may not be duplicated or used for any purpose without written permission of the Creole Heritage Center.

The Family History database will be uploaded on a quarterly basis and will reflect submitted updates and additions. PLEASE NOTE: Submitted data must contain at least one reference date before 1921 (birth, death or marriage) in order to be shown online.

Collection Folders Example listing

A current report from the Center’s cataloging program of associated Metoyer records gives an example of many of resource documents available.  This is a listing of some of the documentation received from various individuals that is located in our Collection Files.  We currently have over 1,200 Collection files representing over 30,000 pages of information.  This information is currently available for research at the Center only.  Plans for FREE online access are in the works as soon as funding becomes available.

Happy Searching!

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Sons of American Revolution Membership Project for Creole Families Across Louisiana

Latest news show that descendants of many Creole families are eligible to become members of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR).  We have been given a listing from the Natchitoches militia and are working on developing lists of additional family connections from across the state.  One major family is the Metoyers.  Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer (CTPM) has been recognized as a Patriot of the American Revolution and all direct descendants are eligible to apply.   A formal recognition of this designation is planned for October 2011 in Natchitoches, La and all All Metoyer descendants and associated connections will be invited to attend.

Basically a person must be able to prove lineage back to a patriot in the American Revolution. This requires completing an extensive and complete application and providing the back-up documentation for the information provided.  For a complete listing of the information and qualifications check out the SAR website http://www.sar.org/and look under the Membership tab. The Center’s Creole Family History Database and its thousands of associated documentation records already has much of this information.  We are developing actions to assist with the application process by the continued cataloging of current data and seeking funding to add previously unavailable information. These actions will enhance the Center’s databases making it the only documented clearinghouse of its kind in America.

This page will be used to link to various data re this effort. Additional lists and indexes will be added as they become available. See current listing below:

Guidelines for Source Documentation

Listing of Names of Members of the Natchitoches Militia

A current report from the Center’s cataloging program of associated Metoyer records gives an example of many of resource documents available. This is a listing of some of the documentation received from various individuals that is located in our Collection Files. We currently have over 1,200 Collection files representing over 30,000 pages of information. This information is currently available for research at the Center only. Plans for FREE online access are in the works as soon as funding becomes available.

Current list of Metoyer Records

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Creole Resource Unit Collections

The Creole Resource Unit represents the only one of its kind in America.

The Unit was founded to house the genealogical and historical information associated with Louisiana Creoles and their links nationwide. The information collected represents research performed at various facilities as well as information submitted from various national Creole families. The collections provide the foundation of the Center’s exhibition, research and education programs.

Creole Resource Unit Projects

Completed research projects forms the basis of the national Central Clearinghouse of Creole cultural information. The Center’s research staff, academic partners and community have provided data in support of many Creole related research projects. Since its founding the Creole Center has been a national leader in evolutionary historical, ancestral, and contemporary research projects. These efforts have provided worldwide access to information previously unavailable.

French Colonial Records 1732-1819 — Natchitoches Parish Louisiana

The Creole Heritage Center is testing out a new online searchable index for the Natchitoches Parish Clerk of Courts French Colonial Documents. This index can be accessed by clicking on the French Colonial Records icon above.

This Index represents a computerized version of the hand-written listing of the Natchitoches Colonial Documents for the period 1732-1819. The current searchable file contains over 15,000 entries. Plans are to update the document with additional records as they are accumulated. Document references include Marriage contracts; sale of land; exchange of land; sale of slaves; Renunciation (rejection or abandonment); Manumission (emancipation of slaves); acknowledgement of partnership; consent to marriage; successions and inventories, just to name a few.

This resource was made possible by a grant from the Cane River National Heritage Area. Representatives from the Clerk’s office worked with staff members of the Center, the NSU Head Archivist, the Louisiana Regional Folklorist and NSU graduate assistants to provide the framework for a comprehensive, searchable and detailed index.

Natchitoches Parish French Colonial Records 1732-1819

Creole Language Documentation Project

Our Language is in intensive care...

In response to concerns expressed by Creole constituents throughout the country, the Creole Heritage Center [CHC] initiated a consortium of agencies and individuals to document and address language change and loss in Louisiana Creole communities.

The population of fluent Creole French speakers in Louisiana is rapidly declining, and intergenerational transmission of the language is severely limited. Each year finds fewer Creoles under 50 years old able to converse in the vernacular French language of their forebears. Although prior language studies have been conducted, those studies were not designed with the needs of the communities in mind, nor are the results of these studies easily accessible to most members of Creole speech communities with multiple dialects.

What do you think?

I believe very strongly that Creole people are the owners of the Creole language and culture. Decisions about the language need to be made by Creole communities. But in order for that to happen, people have to have access to the information they need to make informed decisions about their lives.

I never thought I’d be among the ‘last generation of speakers’ of Louisiana Creole. But I recognize that if something major is not done and done quickly, that’s how it will be. When our generation goes to its graves, the language will essentially die with us. I also realize that speakers of our generation have been pretty active over the years in regards to the language. We’ve done some good things, and taught the language to quite a few people. And there are some lovely young people out there with the ability and talent and drive to carry on. But for me, it’s a little bit like having a business that’s losing money. We’re making some great sales to some great people, but not in volume enough to be able to feel confident about keeping the doors open.

–Quotes from a learned scholar and a Creole speaker

A recent quote* probably says it best: “Language is the DNA of a culture, and it is the vehicle for the traditions, customs, stories, history, and beliefs of a people. A lost language is a lost culture.” It is the Center’s goal to do everything it can not to lose this aspect of our culture. We are looking at a project that would be community-driven and provide long term sustainability.

Funding

Efforts are underway to identify and seek funding to support the preservation of the Creole language. This effort will address the urgent need of capturing the voice of remaining speakers.

The most important aspect of the proposed project will be to provide training in language documentation, which will result in qualified Community Researchers (nationwide) who range from fluent Creole speakers to those wanting to learn. This training program will create an infrastructure and network for this documentation to be passed on to future generations.

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Virtual Museum

Post-Reconstruction ushered in profound changes in American society. In the late nineteenth century, nearly all, rural Louisianians worked the land. Many impoverished people endured a hard life of hoeing, plowing, and picking cotton.

The Sharecropping system varied across the South, and differed from one parish to the next in Louisiana. In the Cane River region of southern Natchitoches Parish, the sharecropping system directly and indirectly shaped many of the Cane River Creole customs and traditions that remain in place today.

CANE RIVER, Louisiana.
By J. Rodney W. Meziere

Visit the Virtual Museum

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Creole Heritage Foundation Program: Terrel Delphin Creole College Tuition Initiative

It is with great pleasure that the Creole Heritage Center presents to you the Terrel Delphin Creole College Tuition Initiative. The Creole Heritage Center is expanding support of our college bound students by providing to new and existing students some tuition assistance. This initiative is supported through a portion of all Creole Heritage Foundation membership dues plus any funds received through the Creole Heritage Center.

As funds are available, a stipend will be awarded to designated recipients. The recipient can use the stipend for any school related or living expenses and will be given directly to the student. Each applicant must complete an application, essay and list all involvement in extracurricular activities and organizations.

Please contact our office with any questions or to request additional information at 318.357.6685. Good luck in your application process.

To donate to the Terrel A. Delphin Scholarship Fund, click here

To apply for the Terrel A. Delphin Scholarship, click here

Terrel Delphin’s Contributions

Portrait of Terrel A. Delphin, Jr.

Terrel A. Delphin, Jr.

NATCHITOCHES – A new Northwestern State University scholarship honors the memory of an individual who worked tirelessly to bring awareness of the Cane River Creole culture to a national and international audience. The NSU Foundation announced the creation of the Terrel A. Delphin Jr. Scholarship, initiated through contributions to the Creole Heritage Center at NSU from the Delphin family and friends. Significant support came the Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. (CRNHA, Inc.) to endow the scholarship at the $10,000 level.

“Today, we remember the life of Terrel Delphin and his accomplishments,” said Vanner Erikson, assistant director of Alumni Affairs and CRNHA, Inc. board member, in meeting with the family to announce the scholarship earlier this week.

The scholarship will be presented to a full-time Northwestern State student classified as a sophomore or above with a 2.5 grade point average. Preference will be given to a student with a 3.0 grade point average or higher.

“We thank everyone who worked so hard to get to this point,” said Lillie Delphin, Mr. Delphin’s widow. “This is a wonderful way to remember our loved one.”

“We are fortunate in life when we meet exceptional people and he was exceptional,” said Cynthia Sutton, CEO of CRNHA, Inc.

“We were presented with an opportunity to establish the Terrel A. Delphin Jr. Scholarship Fund at NSU,” said Theresa Morgan, Delphin’s sister. “Dr. Hiram ‘Pete’ Gregory of the NSU Creole Heritage Center Foundation, suggested this would be a way of honoring Terrel’s work in establishing the Creole Heritage Center.” Therefore, the Delphin family has made a commitment to continue donating annually to the scholarship fund over the coming years.

Delphin’s family has deep roots in the Cane River area. After working in law enforcement for 18 years, he joined the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, holding a number of positions, including assistant commissioner for the Office of Animal Health Services. He retired from state service in 2005 and became the coordinator for the Office of Homeland Security and the Office of Emergency Preparedness in Natchitoches.

Delphin was active in his church, historic St. Augustine Catholic Church, and in his community for many years. His desire to protect and promote the Cane River area led to his involvement with the St. Augustine Historical Society and later serving as the president for a number of years He advocated on behalf of his community with the Louisiana Board of Regents to establish the Creole Heritage Center at Northwestern State and served as chairman of its advisory council. He assisted in developing an ethnographic study of the Cane River Creole community for the National Park Service, served on the state committee for the National Register of Historic Places, co-chair of the Cane River National Heritage Area Commission, and was a board member of the Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission. He was known as the “Father of the Creole Renaissance-Resurrection” as seen in the LPB documentary, “The Spirit of a Culture – Cane River Creoles.” He also worked to establish the Civil Rights Hall of Fame in Natchitoches.

As a tribute to his abilities to cross cultural lines and encourage multicultural interaction, the City of Natchitoches declared March 29, 1997, as Terrel Delphin Day. He received the Creole Center’s Historic Preservation Award in 1999 and 2003. The Natchitoches Police Jury presented him with the “People’s Involvement Award” for his work in Creole heritage preservation and he was named “Cane River Mayor.” Delphin was named a Natchitoches Treasure in 2007 and in 2011, Northwestern State awarded him an honorary doctorate of humane letters for his work in bridging cultural and racial gaps through multicultural education, harmony and cooperation.

“Terrell was a remarkable person and this scholarship is in recognition of his leadership and commitment to preserving the culture of the Cane River Creole community, with the Creole Heritage Center and the Cane River National Heritage Area,” said Dr. Kathleen Byrd, chair of CRNHA, Inc. Board of Directors. .

For information on contributing to the scholarship, contact the NSU the NSU Creole Heritage Center at 318 357-6685 or NSU Office of Alumni and Development at (318) 357- 4414 or visit northwesternalumni.com.

Delphin Family cutline:

The Northwestern State University Foundation announced the creation of a scholarship that honors the “Father of the Creole Renassance-Resurrection” Terrel A. Delphin Jr. Joining the family for the announcement were, from left, NSU Development Officer Brittany McConathy, Walter Delphin, Curtis Bordenave, Mary Delphin Bordenave, James Durham, treasurer of the board of directors for Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc.; Dr. Kathleen Byrd, CRNHA, Inc. Board Chair; Lillie Louviere Delphin, Thomas Delphin, Shirley Metoyer Delphin, Creole Heritage Center Director Loletta Wynder, Steven Fullen, CRNHA, Inc. Dir. of Interpretation; Daphne Delphin, Dr. Pete Gregory; Marie Theresa Delphin Morgan, Vanner Erikson, NSU assistant director of Alumni Affairs & CRNHA, Inc. board member; Dennis Morgan and Cynthia Sutton, CRNHA, Inc., CEO. Not shown is Phillip Delphin of Houston.

Scholarship Recipients

Jevan Wilson

Jevan Wilson

2017 Terrel Delphin Scholarship Recipient

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The National Creole Heritage Celebrations

A proclamation issued in 1991 by Governor Buddy Roemer proclaiming January 22nd as Creole Heritage Day in Louisiana was the beginning of an annual celebration that eventually outgrew its original sponsors. The St. Augustine Historical Society partnered with the parishioners of the Cane River catholic church of the same name to host the event on grounds there. The first official celebration was held in 1993 and continued under the sponsorship of the Society until 2003.

The sponsorship was then transferred to the Creole Center at Northwestern State University who has elected to move the date of the celebration from January to the second week in October beginning 2004. The event has traditionally included a celebration of the Creole traditions such as the musicians and their music, the cooks and their foods, the artists and their works, of course the families and their connections across America and beyond.

The continued celebration of Creole Heritage under the sponsorship of the NSU Heritage Center has expanded to include an educational component. The celebration is scheduled to coincide with the annual St. August Church Fair and the Natchitoches Tour of Homes held the second week of October. A partnership has been formed with the committees of all three events to develop associated activities and joint promotion.

Louisiana Creole Communities

Initial research into the communities and founding families of the Creole culture identified almost 40 areas that met the description of a Creole Colony. Basically these are areas that are known for its Creole history. Through the promotion of this initial listing, many areas have been added from community representatives who call, or called, these areas “home”. Many of these colonies are no longer in existence or have merged with other areas, but are still deserving of recognition. To this end we have come up with a listing now termed “Registered Creole Colonies” that currently number 113.

Please feel free to report any missing communities or misspelled names via email creolecenter@nsula.edu, telephone at 318/357-6685 or mail to CREOLE CENTER, NSU Box 5675, Natchitoches, LA 71497.

Abbeville – Abita Springs – Alexandria – Algiers – Arnaudville – Ashton – Baldwin – Barnes – Basile – Batchelor – Baton Rouge – Bayou Chicot – Beaver – Breaux Bridge – Bunkie – Campti – Cane River – Carencro – Charenton – Chataignier – Chenal – Chloe – Church Point – Cloutierville – Cocoville – Coleman – Colfax – Convent – Delcambre – Derry – Destrahan – Devant – Donaldsonville – Duson – Edgard – Ervinville – Eunice – Evergreen – Four Corners – Franklin – Frilot Cove – Gibson – Grand Coteau – Grand Marais – Grand Prairie – Gray – Gum Ridge – Isle Brevelle – Jeanerette – Lacombe – Lafayette – Lake Charles – Lakeland – LaPlace – Lawtell – Lebeau – Leonville – Lobdell – Loreauville – Lottie – Lucy – Lydia – Madisonville – Mallet – Mamou – Mandeville – Mansura – Marksville – Maurice – Melrose – Melville – Montrose – Napolenville – Natchez – Natchitoches – New Iberia – New Orleans – New Roads – Olivier – Opelousas – Paincourtville – Palmetto – Plaisance – Plaquemine – Pointe A La Hache – Port Barre – Prairie Laurent – Raccourci – Ratliff – Rhoudeaux – Rideau – Roudier – Rougon – Scott – Shreveport – Simmesport – Slidell – Soileau – St. James – St. Martinville – Sunset – Swords – Thibodaux – Trevigne – Vacherie – Ventress – Verdun – Vermilionville – Ville Platte – Wallace – Washington – White Castle – Youngsville

News and articles related to Creole Culture!

HMT has new agreement with Seychelles Academy

Wynder attends Marzano Seminar

Delphin named to Creole Hall of Fame

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Photo Galleries

2017 Caddo Conference album.

2017 Caddo Conference

Natchitoches, LA

 

2016 Archaeologist of the Year album.

2016 Archaeologist of the Year

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State Professor of Anthropology Dr. Hiram F. “Pete” Gregory received a Louisiana Culture Award from Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development Tuesday, May 24 at 7 p.m. at the Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge. Gregory is being recognized as Archaeologist of the Year.

 

2015 Kids Health Fest album.

2015 Kids Health Fest

NSU Coliseum and Track Natchitoches, Louisiana

 

2008 Mardi Gras album

2008 Mardi Gras

A first look at the “jaw dropping” presentation of the Krewes from the Grand Marais Mardi Gras Association.

 

2008 Chicago Conference album

2008 Chicago Conference Overview

A special thanks goes to Linda (LaCour) Buishas for providing these photos.

 

2007 Creole Heritage Celebration album

2007 Creole Heritage Celebration

A look at the 2007 Celebration in Natchitoches, Louisiana

 

CHERS Conference album

CHERS Conference

 

2003 Conference album

2003 Conference

New Orleans, Louisiana

 

2002 Creole Convention album

2002 Creole Convention

Montebello, California

 

1999 Conference album

1999 Conference

Northwestern State University – Natchitoches, Louisiana

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Administrative Office

Kyser Hall, Room 116
(318) 357-6685

Office Hours
Monday – Thursday:
8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Closed for Lunch

Friday: 8:00 am – 11:00 am
(occasionally closed on Friday for office maintenance)

Genealogy Office

Kyser Hall, Room 110
(318) 357-4120

Please call in advance for appointment.

Office Hours
Monday, Tuesday & Thursday ONLY
7:30 – 2:30 pm
Closed for Lunch


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