Shining a Light On and Saving Bayou Pigeon Cultural Memory and History of Our Community.
The 1940 U.S.census is important to Bayou Pigeon, because in 1940 Pigeon was a pure unadulterated Cajun Fishing community, not influenced by outsiders and modern society. The very cultural / folklife traditions that the Bayou Pigeon Heritage Association is trying to document and preserve were dominant .
Back in 1940, Federal census takers were instructed to record information about all those who lived in each household on the census day. A census taker might have visited a house on a later date, but the information he collected was supposed to be about the people who were in the house on the census day.
Another thing, the census workers worked there way down Hwy 75 from Plaquemine, so the order of the families were recorded does provide some indication of who lived next to who.
Cajun French names in the census prone to misspellings by English only speakers, ie. The way Cajun people pronounce names, eg. Solar, you would think that should be easy… but in the old days when my Mother in Law would pronounce it; it sounded like ‘So_laa” , which I suppose would sound like ‘Saurage’ to an Anglo, which was the way it was spelled in the census record.
Another example, was Mr. Felician Berthelot, the English version would be Felix. But that is not close to how the old folks at Pigeon use to say it, Felician _ ‘fay le se ain’. The way old Cajun people say names is another reason Bayou Pigeon is so unique and special.
So if you look at the actual census record I have provided, and cannot find a name look closely at all names in the listing in with the head of Household. Then you can usually figure things out.
Listed below are the actual data sheets from the LA., Iberville Parish , Police Jury Ward 8 outside Plaquemine town, Crescent Enumeration District…24-21 … 1940 US census.