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code noir - royal edict about the discipline of black slaves in louisiana 1724

The History of Black Codes


Pictures taken on the Laura Plantation
The Laura farmstead is surrounded by fields of sugarcane and boasts 11 historic buildings on the National Register, including slave cabins in which the West-African folktales of Compair Lapin (later known as Br'er Rabbit) were recorded over 140 years ago.

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are most commonly associated with the laws adopted in the southern states after the American Civil War until the beginning of Reconstruction to regulate the freedoms of former slaves. Codes attempted to return freed slaves to bondage in legal fact, rather than official terminology. Contrary to popular misconception though, the Black Codes did not begin in 1865. Rather they develop over the span of half a century or more and date to the early 19th century in some northern states.

The Expansion of Black Codes: 1830-1860
Black Codes after the Civil War

The Black Codes of the 1860s are NOT the same as the Jim Crow laws, but were enacted in 1865 directly after the Civil War; whereas, the Jim Crow era began in 1890.

  • Laura Plantation
  • Location
  • Picture of the Main House

Memories of the Old Plantation Home
The Creole Family Saga, is based upon 5,000 pages of documents found in the French National Archives and upon Laura's Memories of the Old Plantation Home, dramatically detailing 250 years of true-life stories of Creole women, slaves and children.

Laura's Grandmother 1830 Elisabeth Duparc Locuoul becomes head of the plantation. She buys 30 young slave girls at the slave market at New Orleans, and has them impregnated over and again. The years later, to house her "crop" of children, Elizabeth builds 69 cabins, four of which remain now.


"The Tales of B'rer Rabbit"
Alcee Fortier a teenaged neighbor, collects stories he hears in the cabins and pulishes them in 1894 calling them Louisiana Folkstales. The following year, Joel Chandler Harris, publishes the very same stories in American English in Atlanta, calling them "The Tales of B'rer Rabbit". These stories had their original adaptation on these Creole Plantations.

QUOTE from
"In the 1870s, Alcée Fortier, a young neighbor of Laura's, visited the workers' cabins at this site and at nearby plantations. On his visits, he wrote down what he heard on his family plantation on the River Road and in New Orleans.
As a teenager, Fortier began to collect these stories from former slaves, just as they told them to their children, all lively accounts of Compair Lapin and Compair Bouki, the clever rabbit and the stupid fool. In 1894, Fortier, the president of the American Folklore Society and Dean of Foreign Languages of Tulane University, published his stories, entitling them "Louisiana Folktales."
One year later, Fortier's friend and colleague in Georgia, Joel Chandler Harris, published stories that he had heard in English, tales told by former slaves (whose ancestors were from Senegal) in Georgia and the Carolinas. To great success, Harris published "Tales of Uncle Remus", including his "The Little Tar Baby." Ever since, English-speakers would know Compair Lapin as that rascal: Br'er Rabbit.
Fortier recorded 2 main characters in his tales: Lapin & Bouki. Lapin is French for Rabbit. Bouki is a Wollof word, the language spoken in Senegal in west-Africa, and means "stupid hyena." In the 1720s, when the first slaves arrived in Louisiana, Senegal was the homeland for almost all of these captives. For the next 60 years, Senegalese slaves formed the core of the African experience in Louisiana. Then, in the 1780s, the slave trade shifted to the English colonies, again bringing slaves out of Senegal. During all these years, the Senegalese slaves, whether in Louisiana or on the East Coast, were handing down the same tales of the rabbit and hyena to their descendants.
Today, in Senegal, Wollof-speaking children learn French in school. Third-graders there are taught from one textbook, written in 1953 by a local teacher, Leopold Senghor, who took stories children already knew in their Wollof language and translated them into French. Senghor was, for years, President of Senegal, and the stories he recorded 50 years ago about Leuk, the clever rabbit, and Bouki, the stupid hyena, are the same, almost word for word, that Fortier collected in the 1870s.
For hundreds of years, in many countries, these same tales have been handed down, some calling the rabbit Lapin or Malice, Brother Rabbit or Br'er Rabbit or, for unknown ages before, Leuk. Recalled by young and old, rich and poor, enslaved and free, these stories are, today, among the most widely known folktales in the world. It is this shared cultural treasure that visitors re-discover at Laura Plantation."

Compair Bouki - In Cajun French folklore, “Compair” means “Brother.” Bouki is a hyena or wolf who is often tricked by Lapin Compair Lapin - “Lapin” is French for “Rabbit.” He is always playing tricks on his friends. LITERACY AND BRIGHT COLORS
Houses were painted very beautiful bright colors. Each Color had a special meaining. You learned which house a slave was permitted in by the color and witch kind of slave had access to only certain colored houses. This system was set up because slaves were not taught to read, there were no signs, just colors.

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