Geraldine Vaucresson

Tape No. 4300

Geraldine Vaucresson

VAUCRESSON: My grandmother, like I said, my great grandmother didn't speak English. They spoke Creole. What they call Creole.

NGUYEN: Creole French?

VAUCRESSON: Yes. The only thing is . . . We grew up with that. But what they would tell us when we would go to school, "English! No. When you go to school, you got to speak English." So we had to speak English in the schools, you know. And we all went to Catholic school. We stayed in our little neighborhoods, and that was it. You grew up like that. My daddy used to say, "You see them children down there? Don't you play with them. They're too black." They didn't want you to mix. Of course it's not like that now. You know, I mean, things have changed. But at the height of segregation it was not nice. That Jazz Fest made a big difference, because when you went to Jazz Fest, white, blacks, blue, greens, yellow, everybody's out there having a good time. Nobody cared about nothing but the music and having a . . . Jazz Fest did something for New Orleans. It really did. Because people, like I said, they came from all over. And this is the only city [laughs] . . . You come out your house sometimes, and you hear music playing. They're walking out in the street, they're dancing. What are you doing? That's a part of our culture. We love it.