Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Embracing my Coon-Assness

--> My bevy of coon-asses (inclusive of coon-asslets)

From, A little history on the origin of the term - "People call me that "crazy Cajun" or that "CoonAss". Both the word Cajun and CoonAss are used to refer to people of Acadian descent. Both have been in a derogatory manner. Both have been used in pride.
The origin of the term is said to have come from the French word "conasse". During the Second World War, many Cajun men served in the armed forces. When in France, many of the French heard the Cajuns speaking in a French that was both very old and in a French that had some very odd words. The Frenchmen called the Cajuns "conasse" which translates to a very low-grade prostitute. I would think this comes from the fact that, although they spoke a form of French, the Cajuns weren't real Frenchmen.
Of course, the "American" servicemen heard "conasse" as "CoonAss". In a world where "RedNeck" is heard often, "CoonAss" fits right in. Just like RedNeck, it wasn't originally used as a term of endearment. But many Cajuns carry it as a description of themselves as good as any other. In Louisiana, you can find vehicles with bumper stickers reading "Registered CoonAss" or "I'm a CoonAss, Me!" Wide spread use came about during the oil boom in Louisiana during the 60's and 70's.
As I grew up, Cajun and CoonAss were synonyms for uneducated and uncouth. Now, the wonders and beauty of the Cajun culture are being experienced world wide. I carry the name as a reminder of how our culture nearly disappeared and how we as a people have taken the bad traits outsiders associated with being Cajun and have turned them into something good."

I used to be slightly embarrassed by my Cajun accent. I say 'slightly', because at the same time, I was proud of it. The accent makes me feel special in an odd sort of way. It's as if I've been invisibly tagged 'I'm from Louisiana'. But you can't uncover that fact until my mouth opens. It happens all the time, when I'm traveling or even here in Louisiana. I ask someone something and they'll just look at me with a grin and say, 'Where are you FROM?'. If it's here at home, I'll say 'New Roads' and they'll say with a knowing look, 'Yeah, I was figuring it was somewhere in that area. Or maybe Lafayette'. In another state, they usually give me a look as if to say, 'So THAT'S what a Louisianaian sounds like!'.

Not all of us though. That's the great thing about Louisiana, there are so many different accents to choose from. And most times, we can tell what vicinity someone comes from by their accent. 'You must be from up North' (Shreveport, Monroe) or 'Are you from Lafayette?!' (OMG, that one is usually pretty obvious).

An LSU student that used to work with me was from Lutcher. He had the king of all accents. I loved it so much, I would just want to kiss him square on the lips when he said 'paypuh' (paper) or 'RuhNAY' (my name). It made me long for an accent like his that just screamed 'LOUISIANA'. Mine kind of states it loudly, but doesn't quite scream it. I'm working on it though.

One of my husband's most endearing qualities is the fact, that after being a military brat, and living in various places while growing up, he has developed quite a distinctive Coon-Ass accent that says 'I live in New Roads, Louisiana'. Kinda makes me horny. ;^)

I'm stopping right short of the 'Proud to be a Coon-Ass' bumper sticker though. I'll just let my accent do the talking.


awaterpixie said...

I have never heard Coonass before.. never ever..hmmmm

Maybe I'm too far north?

Now redneck.. oh yeah.

Renee said...


Where are you, exactly? Coonass and redneck are close cousins, I think.

Renee said...


Where are you, exactly? Coonass and redneck are close cousins, I think.

Christa said...

I have routinely found that I hate most southern accents, but I love Louisiana accents. Let me put it into perspective, I stayed in Dallas for 8 weeks during flight attendant training and couldn't get out of that state fast enough, but I could sit and listen to a person from Louisiana for days. Can I just say Harry Connick Jr. and James Carville? Ok, so James Carville isn't very attractive, but I love his accent and well, Harry is just so very... Be proud of your accent, it's what makes you stand out.

Krisco said...

Hi Renee!

Thanks for checking out my blog (Crib Ceiling).

Here are YOUR questions for the opt-in meme:

1 - If you could be any character on a ‘seventies sitcom, who would you be and why?

2 -If you could pick three famous people to be marooned with you on a desert island, and only one of them might be a love interest, who would you pick?

3 - Would you rather be a rock star, a movie star, or a supermodel?

4 - What’s the one thing in your life you’d like to do over, either to repeat the experience or to do it differently?

5 - What kind of car do you want to drive when you are really, really old?

Remember to include the following at the bottom of your post:

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1. If you want to participate, leave a comment below saying, "interview me".
2. I will respond by asking you five questions - each persons will be different.
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4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

DaniGirl said...

Hi Renée,

Wow, what an education I got from reading this post! We Canadians don't have accents (wink) but I love love love the soft edges of a Cajun accent.

Thanks for dropping by my blog, and I'll be sure to check back here often too. I really like your style, and it's interesting to have found someone with whom I have so much in common - except for the country music thing. You're on your own there!

chesneygirl said...

Hi Renee! thanks for your comment on my blog yesterday!

Hmmmm....A Kenny Chesney fan named Renee?....your last name isn't Zellweger, is it?
HA! LOL :)

Thanks for stopping by...i'm gonna take a look around yours! :)