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The earliest recorded German immigrants to Louisiana arrived inand Germans continue to arrive every year, especially in the New Orleans area. Courtesy of Stewart Eastman.
Recalls Brigitta Malm of Covington: There has been a lot of help by the German government and other institutions after the hurricane. However, it has been very difficult to get coverage of this support. There was a team of 90 people here from the Deutsches Hilfswerk [German aid organization]; they came with pumps and stayed on a ship in Chalmette and apparently did a great job in pumping out the water from New Orleans.
There was also financial help from the German government, and a donation collected by a North German newspaper in Schleswig Holstein was divided and given to City Park, a food mission on the West Bank, and several other organizations.
The most recent pre-Katrina population statistics available from the state of Louisiana report the number of people who are now Louisiana residents but were born in Germany as 4, Excluding the in Vernon Parish, largely due to the army base there, the statistics break down in the following order, from the largest German communities to the smallest that have 50 or more members.
Germans were among the earliest settlers in Louisiana; in fact, they arrived earlier than many of the more dominant cultural groups.
Many came from the disputed Alsace-Lorraine region, which helps to explain the easy assimilation of French and German customs, and a small but substantial portion of the earliest German settlers were Jewish. Louis Cathedral make clear that intermarriage between Jews and Catholics was not uncommon.
The Louisiana to which our earliest Germans emigrated was a state of tremendous opportunity that was nevertheless known as the "grave of young men. They were German farmers that were brought here by the French to farm, to start a new colony.
They died in their mid-fifties; they worked real hard. The elements-the mosquitoes, the wild animals, the Indians-it was a hard life. But in other ways they lived a good life, you know.
They raised fresh vegetables.
My family also told me that the German Coast farmers kept New Orleans from starving during one emergency period because they provided fresh produce and the milk and cheeses and that type of thing. In addition to the advantages a port city like New Orleans offered to budding entrepreneurs of the 18th and 19th centuries, the crime, disease, and lack of sanitation made it a dangerous place that discouraged many who tried to establish themselves there.
Ochsner, Garrett Schwegmann, and Joseph Francis Rummel-rose from a variety of backgrounds to become forces for progress in their new state.
Many German names were legally "Americanized"; in Louisiana this meant that the "new" name appears French, so that the German "Troxler" became "Trosclair," "Zweig" became "Labranche," and so on. This is an issue of great concern to older German-Americans, and came up often in interviews.
A tour guide at Ormond Plantation tells of a recent incident in which a group of German tourists to St.
He responded that he himself was Cajun and had not heard of the German Coast. Nineteenth-century Louisiana was a place in which immigrants might remake themselves-might alter their social status through their own efforts, change religious affiliations or escape religious or cultural persecution that, though tried in Louisiana, failed to gain popular or institutional support.
Romantic and volatile, ripe with possibilities for fortune or disaster, Louisiana was a place where hardy adventurers, with work and luck, might create new lives and leave legacies of lasting impact on future generations of family and on state history.
In he wrote, This class of peasants, especially of this nationality, is just the kind we need and the only one that has always done well in this area, which is called the German Coast. It is the most industrious, the most populous, the most prosperous, the most upright, the most valuable population segment of this colony.
I deem it essential that the French government adopt the policy of bringing to this area every year 1, to 1, families from the border states of Switzerland, the Rhine and Bavaria.
Early Expressions of German Culture in Louisiana Germans established benevolent societies that provided services to the community. Like the now well-known "social aid and pleasure clubs" established before the turn of the century in some New Orleans African American communities, these organizations helped members find employment, paid their burial expenses, and supplied life insurance to the families of deceased members.
These associations, which also served as social clubs, were called "groves," and by the turn of the century there were over twenty-five such societies. These included the popular United Ancient Order of the Druids.
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One notable group that Germans joined in significant numbers is the Independent Order of Odd Fellows "odd fellows" refers to assorted or "odd" trades not covered by specific professional fraternal lodgesbegun in The Odd Fellows Rest was inaugurated with an extravagant brass band parade following a horse-drawn hearse that carried the remains of 16 members who were transferred from other burial grounds to the new cemetery.
German brass band parades, however, were once common. At least one New Orleans-area music scholar and musician, Jack Stewart, is now conducting research documenting German contributions to the development of New Orleans jazz.
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Meanwhile, in Germany, conditions primarily an ill-fated demand for a unified Germany led to a mass emigration of artists and intellectuals to the ports of New York and New Orleans. This swelled the numbers of Germans in Louisiana, who quickly merged with those already settled in the region.
Today a group of this name, headquartered on Metairie Road, functions largely as a social club devoted to cultural preservation.
Meeting programs are printed in English and German, both American and German national anthems are sung, and all meetings include copious amounts of homemade German foods. The Deutsches Haus was founded as a place where numerous longstanding German organizations could meet, and today it functions as a social club, a gathering place for various German groups, and a place where people can speak the German language and maintain ties to their culture.Read reviews, watch trailers and clips, find showtimes, view celebrity photos and more on MSN Movies.
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