Paroles d'honneur: Écrits de Créoles de Couleur
de la Nouvelle-Orléans
ISBN: 0-9723258-5-9. Paperback.
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Paroles d'honneur: Écrits
de Créoles de Couleur de la Nouvelle-Orléans,
Critical edition by Chris Michaelides
The writings anthologized in Paroles d’honneur represent
the literary musings of an elite group that was neither black nor
white, and who came to be known as Creoles of Color. This group,
which began to arrive in New Orleans during the early years of the
colony, formed a minority that was denied the civil rights enjoyed
by white citizens. Although the population of European descent tolerated
this educated and refined sub-class and even occasionally published
their literary works in their newspapers, they never really considered
the possibility of granting them equal rights. In the years before
the Civil War, as laws and public sentiment grew more fanatical,
this tolerance vanished.
The stories and spiritualist communications contained in Paroles
d’honneur span the tormented years between 1837 and 1871.
The relative liberty of the early years of the century gave way
to a period of tension and constraint, just as the Civil War was
followed by the military occupation of the South, known ironically
as the “Reconstruction.”
These writings offer a piercing glimpse into Louisiana’s
past and offer ample proof of the literary excellence of authors
such as Armand Lanusse, Joanni Questy, Victor Séjour, Michel
Séligny, Adolphe Duhart, and other, lesser-known writers.
These works, carefully studied in this edition by Chris Michaelides,
unmask the cultural reality of ante-bellum New Orleans. The erudition
that supports this anthology is meticulous and impeccable. Paroles
d’honneur offers a fascinating and profound study for
any reader who seeks to understand the complicated, mysterious and
seductive society of nineteenth-century New Orleans.