Catholics, Creoles, and the Redefinition of Race in New Orleans

James B. Bennett

in Race, Nation, and Religion in the Americas

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780195149180
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835386 | DOI:
Catholics, Creoles, and the Redefinition of Race in New Orleans

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This essay traces the role of Catholicism in the shifting racial identity of Creoles of color in New Orleans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The implementation of racially segregated Catholic parishes in New Orleans played an important role in changing the way white New Orleanians classified Creoles of color, who were once considered a distinct racial category but came to be described as simply “black.” At the same time, resistance to separate parishes demonstrated both the difficulty of instituting segregation and the creative ways that Creoles preserved a distinct identity even within a society divided along a black-white binary.

Keywords: Americanization; biracial; Catholic; Citizens Committee; Creole; Josephite; New Orleans; Plessy; segregation; triracial

Chapter.  12257 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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