Creoles of color
During Louisiana’s colonial period, Creole referred to people born in Louisiana with ancestors from elsewhere; i.e., all natives other than Native Americans. First used by French colonists to distinguish themselves from foreign-born and later Anglo-American settlers, colonial documents show the term "Creole" was used to refer to white people, black people including slaves, and mixed-race people.
The mixed-race Creoles of Color became identified as a distinct ethnic group in the 19th century, related to their social class. These freed persons of color and their descendants usually enjoyed many of the privileges of whites including property ownership and formal education. Often the Creoles of Color were referred to as Gens de couleur libres, French for "free persons of color." Because they were of a social order above many of the enslaved Africans during that time period, they went to great lengths to ensure that they and their offspring had little contact with people of African descent who did not belong to their social class. While it was not illegal, it was a social taboo for Creoles of Color to marry slaves and was rarely done. Some of the most prosperous Creoles of Color owned slaves themselves.
Beginning with the United States acquisition of the Louisiana Purchase and especially after the American Civil War, many Creoles of Color lost their status under the binary system of the former slave state, in which all people of any African descent were considered black and second class. They were classified with the ranks of the poverty-stricken ex-slaves. With their advantage of having been better educated than the new freedmen, many Creoles of Color were active in the struggle for civil rights, especially as white Democrats regained political power and began to re-impose white supremacy. They suffered a major reversal when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against them with Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, ruling that "separate but equal" accommodations were constitutional.
Contribution to the arts 
In maintaining their European heritage (primarily French for many years), some Creoles of Color trained as classical musicians in nineteenth-century Louisiana. They would often study with players associated with the French Opera House, and some traveled to Paris to complete their studies. Black composers of that time are discussed in Music and Some Highly Musical People, by James Monroe Trotter, and Nos Hommes et Notre Histoire, by Rodolphe Lucien Desdunes.
Notable classical Creole musicians 
- Basile Barès
- Edmund Dédé
- Laurent Dubuclet
- Andrus Espree
- Lucien and Sidney Lambert
- Victor Eugène Macarty
- Samuel Snaër
Jazz musicians 
With their vigorous tradition of musicianship, New Orleans-area Creoles of Color were active in defining the earliest days of jazz.
- George Baquet
- Sidney Bechet
- Louis Nelson Delisle
- Freddie Keppard
- Jelly Roll Morton
- Manuel Perez
- Jimmy Palao
- Alphonse Picou
- Armand J. Piron
- Omer Simeon
- Lorenzo Tio
- Barney Bigard
See also 
- 1981, Vol. 8, No. 1 , Pages 49-58 / P.J. Byard and F.C. Lees
- Creoles of color in the Bayou country / Carl A. Brasseaux, Keith P. Fontenot, Claude F. Oubre, and Marcel L. Fontenot
- The founding of New Acadia : the beginnings of Acadian life in Louisiana, 1765-1803 / Carl A. Brasseaux
- Acadian to Cajun : transformation of a people, 1803-1877 / Carl A. Brasseaux
- Dormon, James H. Louisiana's "Creoles of Colour": Ethnicity, Marginality, and Identity. Social Science Quarterly (University of Texas Press) 73.3 (1992): 615.
- Sullivan, Lester. Composers of Color of Nineteenth-Century New Orleans: The History behind the Music. Black Music Research Journal 8.1 (1988): 51-82. Web. <Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/779503>.