This article refers to the Louisiana Creole people of predominantly French origin. For the article about the Creole people of predominantly Canarian-Spanish origin, see "Isleños in Louisiana".
Louisiana Creole people (French: Créoles de Louisiane), are persons descended from the inhabitants of colonial Louisiana during the period of both French and Spanish rule. The term creole was originally used by French settlers to distinguish persons born in Louisiana from those born in the mother country or elsewhere. As in many other colonial societies around the world, creole was a term used to mean those who were "native-born". It also came to be applied to African-descended slaves and Native Americans who were born in Louisiana.   Louisiana Creoles share cultural ties, such as the traditional use of the French language [note 1] and predominantly practice Catholicism.
In the early 19th century, amid the Haitian Revolution, thousands of refugees both whites and free people of color from Saint-Domingue (affranchis or gens de couleur libres) arrived in New Orleans, often bringing their African slaves with them essentially doubling the city"s population. As more refugees were allowed in Louisiana, Haitian émigrés who had first gone to Cuba also arrived. These groups had strong influences on the city and its culture.
Later immigrants to New Orleans, such as Irish, Germans and Italians, also married into the Creole groups. Louisiana Creoles are mostly Catholic in religion. Through the 19th century, most spoke French and were strongly connected to French colonial culture. Only the small Spanish Creole communities of Saint Bernard Parish and Galveztown spoke Spanish. (Since the mid-twentieth century, the number of Spanish-speaking Creoles has declined in favor of English speakers, and few people under 80 years old speak Spanish.) They have maintained cultural traditions from the Canary Islands, where their ancestors came from, to the present. The varieties of Louisiana Creoles shaped the state"s culture,