It will take some time for me to describe the history of this language. The Wikipedia article here is a good start.
The Islenos apparently arrived in from the Canary Islands to Louisiana and eastern Texas in the 1700′s. Over time, they were augmented by other Spanish immigrants from many other parts of Spain speaking a variety of languages including Catalan, Andalusian and Galician. In addition, over time there was a lot of interaction with the French speakers of Louisiana, so many French words went into the language. Somehow some Portuguese also went in. A huge amount of English vocabulary and even grammar has gone into the language, especially with the last generation of speakers. The Islenos retained their archaic Canarian Spanish from the 18th Century, speaking it as a first language up until the 1940′s due to the isolation of its main speech community on St. Bernard Parish near New Orleans. However, roads were built to the parish and in 1915, schools arrived. Repeated hurricanes caused Islenos to flee to New Orleans. A number of them served in World War 2 and Vietnam. The present generation of Isleno first language speakers are all over 60 years old. A few Islenos under 50 speak the language, and more can understand it but not speak it.
Islenos originally started out ranching cattle, but then they moved into planting sugar cane and growing a variety of crops for the New Orleans market. In the last century, many Islenos made their living by fishing, shrimping, crabbing, etc.
A group of them moved to San Antonio, Texas, where they fought in the Alamo and took part in other battles in the Texan War of Independence. Isleno Spanish died in San Antonio around 1950, but Islenos still maintain the culture there in other ways.
They still play songs called decimas and they continue to fix traditional Canarian dishes.
There is another dialect spoken by Islenos in Valenzuela, Louisiana called Brulis. However, this is mostly an Acadian French dialect. Another group of Islenos in Galveztown speak a dialect that is basically Mexican Indian Nahuatl of all things.
It is said that this accent is quite similar to Puerto Rican and Cuban Spanish. Many Cubans and Puerto Ricans also came from the Canary Islands around the same time, and Cuban and Louisiana Canarians used to trade with each other a long time ago.
If any of my readers can understand Spanish, I would be curious if you can understand this interesting rustic Spanish lect. I can understand Spanish fairly well, but I had a hard time with a lot of this speech, though some of it did sound something like Cuban Spanish. If you speak Spanish, let us know if you can understand these guys.