Legend of the Rougarou, a Louisiana werewolf

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Deep within the swamps of south Louisiana, legend has it, there lives the Rougarou —a legendary werewolf sort creature with sharp claws and glowing eyes. Generations of youngsters have heard the scary tales.

Terrebonne Parish resident Jonathan Foret was a type of kids. 

“Rising up my dad and mom would inform us if we weren’t good, the Rougarou would come pull on our toes at night time,”  Foret mentioned. “I’d sleep further tucked in each time I may. 

I used to be informed to position 13 pennies on my window to cease him from getting in. Though it sounds foolish, now as an grownup I nonetheless don’t love my toes out after I sleep simply in case.”

The tales had been additionally shared by dad and mom by means of tales of misbehaving kids. In these tales, the creature was usually used to scare or warn kids about listening to their dad and mom and behaving in class. 

What’s a Rougarou?

In contrast to different legendary monsters there might be a number of rougarous. Folklore students like Rachel Doherty, professor on the College of Louisiana, perceive the monster to be a dog-like creature.

“The tales and accounts which have been shared describe the Rougarou having the physique of a person and the face of a canine or wolf,” Doherty explains. “There are tales, particularly close to the Lafourche and Terrebonne Parish space, of individuals being chased by monsters and seeing a small canine stroll previous afterwards.” 

Rougarou Festival Chairman Jonathan Foret joins a troupe to perform the dance from Michael Jackson's Thriller video, a highlight of the annual parade.

It is mentioned that folks aren’t born as rougarous however might be reworked in two methods.  Legend says that one particular person might be cursed by one other and turn out to be a rougarou. It is believed spells or chants coming from Louisiana’s deeply rooted non secular practices can remodel an individual right into a monster till the spell is fulfilled.

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One other option to turn out to be a rougarou is by encountering one and telling others. On this model the curse is damaged when the monster receives blood from an individual. If the particular person tells anybody in regards to the assembly they’re cursed subsequent. 

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What is the story behind the legend? 

The Rougarou additionally spelled rugaroux or loup-garou is a werewolf-type creature in French, Native American and Louisiana folklore. Many credit score the French settlers in America and Canada for bringing the legend with them.

Throughout the 1400s and 1500s in France hundreds of individuals had been accused of being werewolves, in keeping with web site Historical past.com. In a course of much like the Salem Witch Trials in america, authorities officers had been mentioned to torture and kill these suspected of being werewolves to guard most people. 

A statue of the mythical rougarou stands along Bayou Terrebonne in downtown Houma on May 19, 2022.

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In this year's Rougarou Fest poster, Artist Pashur House depicts the mythical, werewolf-like Rougarou strutting through cypress forest surrounded by other swamp dwellers, including Beignet the nutria, who is praying for a pardon.

Latest encounters with the Rougarou

The Rougarou has additionally made a number of appearances in popular culture. The previous NBA staff the New Orleans Hornets as soon as filed a reputation change to be known as the Rougarous in 2012.

Within the Harry Potter guide sequence, a hair from this creature is required to make a wand. Cedar Level Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio named a journey after the Rougarou in 2014.

A distinguishing characteristic on the creature is claimed to be glowing eyes. One of many Acadiana’s most recognized work, the “Blue Canine”, is claimed to be of a loup-garou.

The Rougarou, a mythical werewolf popular in Cajun folklore, hangs on display in a painting created by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ashley Johnson for the 307th Maintenance Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.  The Rougarou serves as the mascot for the unit. A Reserve Citizen Airman, Johnson has used her talent as an artist to create similar paintings for other units in the 307th Bomb Wing.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Ted Daigle)

From the guide Blue Canine: Within the Starting, 1984-1989, artist George Rodrigue’s spouse, Wendy, as soon as informed the story of the portray as “in his mom’s model, the loup-garou was extra of a loopy wolf or ghost canine… His mom used to inform him that if he wasn’t good right now, the loup-garou would get him tonight”

Embracing the custom

A competition is held in honor of this legendary creature yearly in Houma. The occasion serves to have a good time the wealthy tradition and folklore that exists in southeast Louisiana.

“Much less tales had been being shared about this a part of our Cajun tradition,” says Foret, who’s now director of the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Heart and the Rougarou Pageant.

“We actually wished to showcase this for the youthful generations they usually actually prefer it. The Rougarou can also be like our mascot for Bayou preservation. Within the tales, he lives within the swamps we try exhausting to guard.”

The competition is ready to happen October 21-23. This yr’s occasion would be the first since 2019 because of COVID and Hurricane Ida. 

Whereas some communities nonetheless take pleasure in these usually informed oral tales as fact, tales of Rougarou sightings are fewer and farther between. 

Though there isn’t any proof that these legends are true, dozens of youngsters and adults  take pleasure in and concern the considered a Louisiana werewolf coming to get them.

And a few nonetheless heed the warnings from the tales of their childhoods, simply in case.  

Connect with WaTeasa Freeman by e-mail wfreeman@theadvertiser.com, Twitter @wateasaf TikTok @theadvertisereats

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