Creole Voices

Continuing our celebration of Black History Month, the following pair of books are just a few of the many items related to the history of Louisiana’s people of color in Loyola’s Special Collections & Archives.

Creole voices; poems in French by free men of color (in French, Les Cenelles), was published in 1845 by Armand Lanusse, a free man of color living in New Orleans. The poetry collection was a landmark publication. Lanusse worked most of his career as a teacher at the L’Institution Catholique des Orphelins Indigents. An original edition of Les Cenelles is digitized and available online in the Louisiana Digital Library thanks to the Historic New Orleans Collection.

Nearly 100 years later, Lanusse’s work was highlighted by Charles Barthelemy Roussève, who was born to an accomplished black Creole family in 1902. After studies at Xavier Preparatory School and Straight College, Roussève  completed his master’s degree in history from Xavier University of New Orleans where his thesis, The Negro in Louisiana; aspects of his history and his literature, became the first book-length publication issued by Xavier University Press. The Negro in Louisiana drew attention to Lanusse’s little known Les Cenelles.

Roussève went on to work as an educator in New Orleans for 45 years as both a teacher and a principal and also published poetry, prose, and translations. Roussève’s papers are held at the Amistad Research Center.

Both of these books and many more like them are available for research in the Booth-Bricker Reading Room in Monroe Library’s Special Collections & Archives M-F 9-4:30.

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