ABSTRACT

This chapter focuses on the role of New Orleans's ethnically diverse culture, its utilization in current tourism marketing efforts, and the concurrent construction of ethnic identities, specifically the Creole. It discusses the present commodification of multiculturalism in New Orleans's tourism industry, particularly after Hurricane Katrina, and the debate over the 'essence' of racial and ethnocultural identities and identity politics. Due to its ethnic multiculturalism, New Orleans has often been characterized as rather 'un-American'. Often well-trained and educated, the Free People of Color constituted a distinctive economic, social, and cultural class in the multicultural community of colonial and antebellum New Orleans. Although the Latin population was now forced to work with the Americans instead of against them, differences in language, social habits, and culture prevailed and were cultivated as 'Creole peculiarities', adding spice to the image of Louisiana and specifically New Orleans as the 'American Orient'.