The Life and Death of Raquette in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans

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Hans C. Rasmussen Louisiana State University

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Raquette, a two-stick version of the ubiquitous Native American stick-and-ball game from which lacrosse evolved, was played in New Orleans and elsewhere in Louisiana from the mid-eighteenth century until the early twentieth century. Invented by Native Americans in the Southeast, both enslaved and free people of color remade raquette into a uniquely Creole sport in the eighteenth century before white Creoles began play in the middle of the nineteenth century. Anglo-Americans seldom participated in the sport, so the enjoyment of raquette repeatedly rose and fell (and ultimately collapsed) with the fortunes and vitality of the larger Creole culture. Raquette displayed the improvisational character of a premodern sport throughout almost its entire history, dying out chiefly because it failed to adopt the institutional structure, formalized rules, and other characteristics that distinguish modern sports from their premodern predecessors.

Hans C. Rasmussen is Head of Special Collections Technical Services, Louisiana State University Libraries, Baton Rouge, LA.

Address author correspondence to Hans C. Rasmussen at
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