I was born, raised and live in the far southeastern corner of Texas. What's the distinction? It's the home of Cajuns that followed the oil boom and ended up as part of the petrochemical industry.
These folks came from various parts of Louisiana and they left much of their families behind. They didn't leave their heritage and they brought the fine family values most were raised to uphold.
So, what's the enigma? You can't really explain what's so special about Cajuns, until you find yourself at a family gathering, or a festival and realize you didn't know anything about them until you went. Even after that wonderful event, you still can't find the exact words to describe what you experienced.
Many television, or movie shows embellish the Cajun accent, or portray Cajuns as very simple people that have really spicy food and live on the bayou. Many do, but they're only a small segment of the settlers that came to a strange land, survived, embraced what was to be found and added their rich heritage. That's not an accurate portrayal and I sometimes find it insulting to people I love and respect.
To me, Cajuns represent the best of what a past society had to offer; much like other ethnic groups that settled the United States. Their ancestors left France with the hope of starting over, taking advantage of opportunities and becoming part of the greatest nation ever created. The entire nation is blessed with their contributions and I'm thankful for their arrival.
Even with my wife being of Cajun heritage, and me being immersed in their culture, I still find Cajuns an enigma. The fierce pride, self-sufficiency and unwavering effort to never forget their ancestors can only be glimpsed for a few moments by an outsider like me. I'll never really understand what they feel, but I'm a part of their family, and they've accepted me. That's good enough and I'm proud they did.