Now, Amos Moses was a Cajun. He lived by hisself in the swamp.
He hunted alligator for a livin; he just knocked 'em in the head with a stump!
— Jerry Reed, "Amos Moses"
One of many ways to make a character more Badass
: Make him from New Orleans
. Maybe he honed his skills wrestling alligators in the bayou, maybe he has voodoo powers
, but he's a native of The Big Easy
and he's gonna let you know it.
This character is
to have a thick accent (usually a mixture of "Southern"
and French, although this is not quite how actual Cajuns sound). A common expression is "Where y'at?" ("Where are you?"), which also lends its name to the native dialect of New Orleans, "Yat", characterized among other peculiarities by the vowel sounds "ur" and "oy" being swapped (yes, just like in the Brooklynese New York dialect).
Note that Cajun does not mean from New Orleans
. (In fact, New Orleans is specifically NOT Cajun, as the culture exists in the Acadiana region, which centers around Lafayette.) The Big Easy
's specific ethnic group is known as Creole. The word itself is a corruption of "Acadian", the term for the French-speakers of eastern Quebec and the Maritime Provinces, particularly New Brunswick
. That's right—the Cajuns are originally from Canada. They trekked down to Louisiana by several routes after the French and Indian War
resulted in the transfer of Canada to British rule. As a result, the Cajuns have a Southern U.S. culture with French-Canadian roots, and are an ethnic group mainly living in southwestern Louisiana (but many creators can't tell the difference
). See The Other Wiki for further details
. (Hint: New Orleans is more metropolitan/city, and Cajun is more pastoral/country.)
Of course, characters don't have to be Cajun - or even French - to qualify. All they have to do is be from Louisiana - or somewhere near Louisiana - and fit the stereotype. (And they can be from any part of the Gulf Coast, which stretches from southeastern Texas to Florida; actually, many parts of the South have hot, humid climates similar to Louisiana's.)
- For some, Gambit of the X-Men is nothing more than a collection of various stereotypes about thieves and Cajuns all rolled into one that has only recently been given any major Character Development. He was raised by your run-of-the-mill Cajun thieves' guild after being kidnapped at birth, and their leader was advised by a black Catholic voodoo priestess type! He has a Cajun accent so hardcore that even the writers of the X-Men books can't help parodying it now and then! Every time Gambit has a few issues in New Orleans, he will have scenes in the swamps, the French Quarter or both, and some mention of gumbo or jambalaya will be made, I gerr-on-tee it.
- The movie Southern Comfort is about a bunch of Southern city boy National Guardsmen who make the mistake of stealing some boats from some swamp-dwelling Cajuns.
- Many of the New Orleans natives in The Big Easy, particularly Remy McSwain (Dennis Quaid).
- The Not Even Bothering with the Accent page notes that Action Hero Jean-Claude Van Damme has been given a Cajun background in several of his movies, such as Universal Soldier and Hard Target. Technically an example, even though it's just a Hand Wave for his Belgian accent?
- Likely so, since if you've only heard a Cajun accent on movies and TV, you probably wouldn't know what a real one sounds like anyhow. Most writers certainly don't.
- Ray the Cajun firefly in The Princess and the Frog is usually just a big goofball, but proves to be a Pintsized Powerhouse when fighting Dr. Facilier's living shadow minions.
- Now, sure, Bobby Boucher from The Waterboy may be a soft spoken mama's boy - but let's just say that when he gets mad, it ain't pretty.
- There was a little-seen film from 1986 called Belizaire the Cajun, with Armand Assante in the title role. It's set just before the (American) Civil War, and shows Cajuns to be superstitious, crafty, and very, very dangerous if you discriminate against them too much.
- One of the Mooks in John Cena's debut movie The Marine is from the Louisiana bayous, so he's more at home in the swamps of South Carolina (where the bad guys have fled with a kidnapped hostage in tow) than the rest of the gang. John Triton still manages to kill him with little trouble, though.
- Edward S. Aarons' Assignment / Sam Durell series. Fictional CIA agent Sam Durell is the hero for all of the stories in this series. He has the nickname "The Cajun". He grew up in the swamps of Louisiana. Note that he was trained to have a "average" U.S. accent by the CIA, so he does not have the thick accent.
- René on True Blood could count as an aversion, since he wasn't really Cajun but faked the accent.
- He was Cajun but "he let his heritage go."
- Gator hunter Troy Landry and his gang on Swamp People are this by default; hunting giant, carnivorous reptiles for a living will do that. They're also something of an annoyance to Louisianians who have a hard enough time convincing the rest of the country that the whole state population isn't like that.
- Snafu Shelton from The Pacific.
- Benny Lafitte in season 8 of Supernatural.
- This is a given for officers Cobb and Boulet from Kville, as the show is set in post-Katrina New Orleans
- On Lamb Chop's Play-Along, Lamb Chop's buddy Hush Puppy had an all-purpose Southern accent that could shade into the Cajun dialect whenever he got excited.
- Adam Sandler's Cajun Man character from Saturday Night Live fits this stereotype.
- The late TV Chef and humorist Justin Wilson (or, as he pronounced it, Zhustehn Wihssohn) had the accent if not the attitude (he was authentically Cajun, but he played it up a good bit for the cameras). While he didn't fight alligators, he was known to cook them (and turtle, and crawfish), ah gahr-on-TEE.
- Paul 'Gumbo' Beausoleil from Key West. He's a bar owner and former circus clown who owns a pet alligator and refuses to allow his strippers to take off all their clothes.
- Champions adventure C.L.O.W.N.: A New Orleans based superhero team called the Bayou Brigade fought with the eponymous villain group. One of its members, the Cajun Commando, "gay-ron-teed" to bring C.L.O.W.N. to justice.
- The Savoy siblings from Lackadaisy, the Marigold's main thugs.
- Detective Martin of Below Board inverts this, since while Cajun, he's usually the quiet, reserved type.
- Gung Ho from G.I. Joe is probably the single most badass Joe of all. His real name's Etienne R. Lafitte and he loves him some gumbo.
- Darkwing Duck villain Jambalaya Jake.
- Leatherhead from the 80s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.
- A fantasy episode of The Simpsons reimagines Chief Wiggum and Principal Skinner as hard-living New Orleans police detectives. Wiggum is still from Springfield in this continuity (having fled town because of "massive corruption" on his part), but Skinner claims to have actually been born and raised in N'awlins. Their nemesis is the corpulent crime boss Big Daddy, who is voiced by Gailard Sartain - who with his French last name could possibly be a real-life Cajun, despite hailing from Oklahoma.
- James Carville, a U.S. political pundit with an accent, temperament, and badass cueball to match, and is even called "the Ragin' Cajun".
- He didn't invent the Sublime Rhyme, but he's the most prominent example of it.
- Possible Trope Namer is the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where it was a long time unofficial nickname and, since the early 70s, the official name of their sports teams.
- It's made even more amusing by the fact that its mascot is a Cayenne Pepper.
- In the last few decades, Cajun has gone from being swept under the rug to being celebrated. Even in non-Cajun areas, like Baton Rouge (actually a generic Southern city) and New Orleans (has plenty of its own culture).
- That's not to say there aren't Cajuns in those cities...
- An old joke:
Don't fight a Cajun.