Tamale-making traditions among three ethnic groups in west central Louisiana

William F. Manger, Daniel D. Arreola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The state of Louisiana is widely recognized for the Creole and Cajun cuisines of south Louisiana. Yet several Indo-Spanish foodways have been preserved in northwest Louisiana since the colonial era. In this paper, we explore the tamale-making traditions of three distinct culture groups who reside in the region and how traditions are a source of ethnic identity. Tamales are primarily associated with residents of Indo-Spanish heritage in Sabine Parish, but they are also part of the foodway traditions of the French Creoles and Cane River Creoles of Natchitoches Parish. It is asserted that the tamale-making traditions in these communities resulted from a process of creolization that took place during the eighteenth century with the start of European colonization. We assess the role of tamale-making among contemporary cultural groups to demonstrate how this tradition has survived in the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-50
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Cultural Geography
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017


  • Cultural groups
  • Spanish colonial influence
  • creolization
  • foodways
  • tamales
  • west central Louisiana

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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