College of Arts and Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in History (PhD)


Angela Tharp


cajuns, folk medicine, faith healing, louisiana, catholicism, assimilation, acadians, traitements




Traiteurs are traditional folk medicine healers who are a part of the culture of the Cajuns of Louisiana. These people are believed to possess special healing powers given to them by God. They are a significant part of the lifestyle and traditional culture of the Cajuns. The Cajuns are the descendants of the Acadians, a group of French colonists who were forcibly removed from Nova Scotia and dispersed all over North America by the British in 1755. Though the Acadians were able to partially reassemble themselves in Louisiana, they still faced great adversity within the state. This project examines the manner in which Cajuns came to be in Louisiana, the folk healing traditions that they brought with them, and the assimilation that they faced once they arrived. The existing historiography regarding Cajuns has only briefly discussed the traditions, rituals, and practices of the faith healing traiteurs. This project incorporates primary sources from the Louisiana Center for Cajun and Creole studies into the larger historical narrative. This is one of the only exhaustive descriptions and analyses of the traiteur’s tradition within Cajun culture in Louisiana. By creating an analysis of the traiteur, this project is better able to examine the practical implications of assimilation within a small cultural group.

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