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Volume 88/89 (2018/2019)

Long Distance Implantation of Vernacular Architecture Traditions: The Canadians in Early Louisiana

  • Jay D. Edwards
November 16, 2020


This study explores the architectural contributions of Canadians to Louisiana in the 18th century. One of the most revealing arenas in American architectural history concerns the origins of new vernacular traditions in locations being settled for the first time by Europeans. Between the late 15th and 18th centuries, many settlement experiments occurred along the coastlines of the Atlantic. Yet the dearth of reliable documentation from the earliest years of colonial establishment renders elusive a sound understanding of the factors which shaped these foundational architectural transformations. The result: a loss of understanding of the very essence of our American vernacular traditions. This study examines one such case for which a relative abundance of documentation survives—the Canadians in Louisiana. It traces the architectural transformations that materialized when Canadians attempted to found a new colony on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the lower Mississippi River Valley, beginning in 1699.