A small museum in the Louisiana city of Opelousas introduces visitors to Creole. Rebecca Henry, who founded the Creole Heritage Folklife Center, explains that finding Creole is all about connecting with the lifestyle of ancestors.
The museum is full of furnishings from the early 20th century that show a way of life for Creoles who lived and worked on farms in the Cajun prairie. Henry says her parents were tenant farmers. The museum contains paintings and quilts created by Henry that show scenes of rural life. “I draw back on my upbringing and what I can remember, the visual, and what I think about it,” Henry explains.
Louisiana creole is all about family
Henry believes that by showing how early 20th century Louisiana Creole families lived, it creates an opportunity for visitors to start discussions with their ancestors and learn more about their own family histories. “Creole is family,” Henry explains, and she adds that “it embodies everything that is cultural.”
Children are a major focus of the Creole Heritage Center. Henry provides an intense two-week summer program for Louisiana children. The children are introduced to the lifestyles of their ancestors. They learn about local music and culture. The idea is to help today’s youth discover who they are. And when I asked Henry what she wants children to get out of the program, she answered, “Pride and self-love, and spreading it to others.”
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The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 12 noon – 4pm. It’s best to call ahead to schedule tours for small groups. The museum is partially funded through donations from visitors. For more information, call the Creole Heritage Folklife Center at (337) 945-5064. The center is located at 1113 West Vine Street, Opelousas, Louisiana. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org