Monday, August 28, 2006

Postcards to Catholicgauze: Louisiana

This past summer Catholicgauze received several postcards from friends. One of them was from Louisiana.

Studying postcards has long been a sub-section of geography. Postcards usually show how a town, region, state, country wishes to be seen and what the town, region, state, country considers important.

The Louisiana postcard is a caricature drawing of the state showing various things all throughout the state.

In the middle of the postcard a "Cajun cabin" and fence are seen expanding from the Toledo Bend Reservoir to the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge. This fence goes roughly along the Anglo Baptist North and French Catholic Southern parts of the state.

Baton Rouge is shown as a city of 1930s progress with the "New Governor's Mansion" and the state capital building. These buildings are living remnants of Huey Long's reign throughout the state.

In both the northern and southern parts of the state antebellum plantation houses are seen and there is also a Scarlett O'Hara-type woman. The romanticism of the Old South is alive and well.

New Orleans is shown as a party town (the dancer) with history (Saint Louis Cathedral) but still a modern city (the Superdome). I firmly believe New Orleans had the best chamber of commerce and tourism bureau ever. No where on the postcard or in people's mind before Katrina did one associated New Orleans with runaway crime and corruption.

The only black person depicted in a state with 32.5% black population is a person practicing voodoo. Voodoo does have a rich history in Louisiana and deserves to be marked but the postcard's cartographer seems to think that is the only black contribution to the state of significance.

No where on the map are any war references. No War of 1812 and no Civil War sights are marked. When it comes to the Civil War the state's history is counteracted by the state flag with the motto of "Union Justice and Confidence."

Category: Postcards


Tarek Kahlaoui said...

Great blog... I just added some links of "cartography blogs" following your list of links

lirelou said...

Interesting point on the Blacks. Louisiana is the homeland, not necessarily exclusively, of several American idioms which have strong Afro-American roots, to include Jazz, Blues, and Zydeco. (Geaux Paul Charles Ardoin!), as well as one of the main founts of American cuisine, which Black culture likewise influenced.

Catholicgauze said...

Good point, lirelou. New Orleans is famous for African-American things like Jazz. I just forgot that for some odd reason.