Thursday, July 26, 2007


By Gary J. Gabehart

I spent two days in Redbone Country this week -- Starks, DeQuincy, Sulphur and Lake Charles. Met a lot of nice people over at the Southwest Louisiana Genealogical and Historical Library and had a great time talking with them. If you get the chance, this is the place to research.

The starks community does have a library and if you are looking for the VFW on LA 12, don't blink. If you see the handmade sign that says "Forget Amnesty, enforce laws," you've gone too far. But they do have a Dollar General and there may be somewhere to eat. It is a peaceful, quiet Community.

DeQuincy, other than Sulphur, is the place to eat and of course, Sulphur has the motels, but Lake Charles is just around the corner with lots of facilities. There does seem to be a problem finding no smoking rooms, and Don Marler and I searched a little before we found them. There is a quaint bed and breakfast over on Pujo that looked interesting, but the Blue Duck Cafe on Bilbo is only open till noon. Of course, there is La Luna and a Chinese Restaurant over on Ryan street and the Pujo Restaurant on Pujo and Ryan. All that is downtown.

In a discussion with some local Lake Charles businessmen, I discovered that folks West of the River (Calcasieu) were considered clannish and hard to deal with, while folks on the West side of the Sabine felt the same about the Cajuns on the East side of the river. What stood out at Starks was reference to Cajun music, Cajun activities and Cajun this and Cajun that. Did I dare speak the dreaded word "Redbones?"

Our businessmen in Lake Charles had heard the word but only in the last few months. They had always viewed the area West as Creoles and Cajun. Of course, could it be that Redbones had morphed from Cajuns into a sub-culture? Interesting thought. But I heard somewhere that the Bass people were really Cajun and were bent on joining the Four Winds Choctaw group? Difficult to understand, either you are or your not, but -- I think it is always possible to be a part of both and since we are talking about mixed blood people, ADD SOME MORE TO THE MIX.

Class is like allotting everyone to a single coffee can of a particular group. You don't have to look alike, and you don't have to have the same bloodlines, you just have to be of that class or group. BUT, you can always buy your way out of an unfavorable class with money and power.

Whether that Class or Group forms a Culture remains to be seen. I discussed the cultural aspect with Don Marler, but not deeply, and I should get him over here to focus more on it. But to me, if you are going to have mixed blood people in a class, you have the seeds of mixed cultures as well. Cultural foods, cultural music, names, dress and work ethnics and it does go on to many other things such as religion. I'm not totally sold on Redbone single cultures.

I'll be back in country this weekend and wander the Starks, DeQuincy and Sulphur areas, maybe Alligator park to read a good book.

Gary J. Gabehart, Mishiho (Mish-eh-ho)

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