Two addresses will highlight how immigrants adapted to new life in Louisiana, Mississippi

Sociologist Anny Bloch-Raymond will give two addresses on aspects of Jewish life in New Orleans next month, in a series co-sponsored by the French Consulate in New Orleans, the Alliance Francaise of New Orleans, and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans.

Bloch-Raymond has a Masters degree in American civilization from the University of Paris, and a doctorate in Social Sciences from the University Marc Bloch, Strasbourg. Currently a sociologist and a member of the National Center of Scientific Research at the Center of Social Anthropology, she also teaches Jewish culture in the anthropological department of the University of Toulouse LeMirail and in the Institute of Jewish Studies.

Bloch-Raymond is preparing a new book titled "Jewish Migrants from the Banks of The Rhine to the Banks of the Mississippi." Her present field of research is migration from France and Germany to the South of the United States and the issue of transplantation during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The first event will be "Languages, ways of cooking and religions: French inspiration, Jewish rites, and Creole practices" on June 13 at 6:30 p.m.

The lecture will explore the ways in which French Jewish immigrants to New Orleans adapted their cooking practices to incorporate Creole traditions. The lecture is presented by the Consulate General of France in partnership with the Historic New Orleans Collection, at the Collection's Royal Street complex.

The immigrants who settled in New Orleans maintained their French Jewish heritage even if they had adjusted it. Cooking combined French and Southern mode, gumbos and matzo balls, gefilte fish, kugels, and pecan pies. Many families compiled their own recipe books. Some became professional cooks, such as Beulah Ledner, who created a French doberge adapted from Austrian cake, and opened a bakery in New Orleans in 1933, becoming very successful.

Crawfish, shrimp, and oysters, which are not kosher, were often tolerated. With the return to Jewish tradition and the respect of the dietary laws, a real work of invention and imagination has been done by genuine cooks to adapt the traditional Creole cuisine to the traditional Jewish one.

Admission is free, but reservations are requested to ensure adequate seating. Reservations can be made by calling 504.523.4662.

On June 14 at 6 p.m., the topic will be "From the banks of the Rhine River to the banks of the Mississippi: a long story of the presence of the French Jews in Louisiana."

In the mid-1880s Jews from Alsace-Lorraine left their homes and were attracted to the area along the Mississippi River. They mainly landed in New Orleans and the majority of them settled in small towns along the river. They gave their names to the towns of Geismar, Klotzville, and Marksville in Louisiana. They owned plantations in Bunkie, White Castle, and Reserve. There are still dry goods stores and general stores bearing their names: Abraham Levy, Wolff, Lemann, Lorman, Fraenkel. They were founding members of synagogues in New Orleans, Donaldsonville, Alexandria, and Opelousas, along with the German migrants that they married or opened businesses with.

The June 14 talk will be at the Cabildo.

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