Cajun Chameleon

- Jimmie Martinez


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Cajun Chameleon

Reflections of a Recovering Racist

A Novel by Jimmie Martinez

"When I was a kid, you were racist without knowing it.” - - Sir Paul McCartney

Raised in 1960 segregated South, NOLA-born, Jax Badeaux believes separate is equal. But when his Indian cousin is demeaned for being a redskin and his best friend is revealed to be black passing for white, his social conscious awakens. From the canal dividing the all-white Florida Projects in New Orleans where he lives, from the all-black Desire Projects, to the French Quarter arcade that only admits whites, his childhood is marked by demarcation lines that socially and legally mustn’t be crossed. 

As he becomes an adult, the specter of prejudice continues to shape his life. He attends Louisiana State University in New Orleans, his first desegregated school, where many students manifest prejudice. Later, taking a job as a New Orleans Police Officer, he finds himself paired with a black officer who suffers the horrifying effects of discrimination. Eventually, Jax finds a way to combat prejudice in his personal and professional life. 

Like the chameleons he caught as a child, he changes colors, adapting himself and his existence to what he knows is right. 

Spiced with the flavor of simpler times when TVs were black and white and Southerners looked at people that way. Cajun Chameleon is one part memoir, another part social comment on the historical South’s seamier side, and one person’s struggle to be free of both poverty and prejudices.

Praises for Cajun Chameleon:

“Set in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, Cajun Chameleon is an important novel that reflects many of the racial tensions and unspoken prejudices we experience then and now.” 

- - Kernan “Skip” Hand, La. State District Judge, retired. 

“Some books are like time machines unleashing floods of untold memories. Cajun Chameleon is such a book. Not many authors, in my memory, have tackled the controversial subject of race and prejudices in New Orleans during the civil rights era, as well as Jimmie.”  

- - Aaron Broussard, LSUNO Graduate 1970 and UNO Alumni of the year 2009.  

Published by The Lisburn Press

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