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FAMILLE TRAHAN
By Mitch Conover, Editor  
email:  whiskey6@cox.net    

Vol. X                                                     Ensemble Encore                             Fall  -  2008

Gathering scheduled for November 8, 2008

The Famille Trahan will co-host the  upcoming Gathering with Famille Beausoleil and CAFA at the Woodmen of World Hall in Maurice, Louisiana on November 8, 2008.

CAFA will hold its annual meeting beginning at 9:00am in closed off section of Hall, allowing the two families the opportunity to have regular sign in time of 9:00am, and to be able to start our meetings between 9:30am and 10:00am.

We have many things to cover, including accomplishments of year, plans for upcoming Congre’ Mondial 2009 in New Brunswick, Canada, and the status of our bid to host Congre’ 2014 in Louisiana.

At the conclusion of the meeting a meal prepared by Loubert Trahan will be available for those who care to dine with us. Note that RSVP is required for those who plan to dine, and the RSVP should be made by no later than November 5, 2008.

The RSVP’s, either by e-mail or telephone, can be to any of the following: whiskey6@cox.net, lgtrahan@cox.net, crbrouss@bellsouth.net, or telephone (337)989-0319.

I would note that as in the past, we welcome any and all desserts from those who can bring them. The meal will be stuffed pork roast with side dishes and drinks, and cost will be $10 per person for all over age 10 years; children 10 years and younger eat free. I would also note, that while $10 might seem high, I know of no other place where one can eat a full meal for that price, and have seconds! I also know of no other place that feeds those 10 years or younger for Free!

Note: I would like to encourage all our members to help our schools.  I suggest a way to support the schools without donating money, and with little time involved.  I refer to BOX TOPS for Education, printed on packaging of the following products: Kleenex, Pillsbury Products, Betty Crocker Products, Cherrios, Green Giant Products, Zip Lock Bags, Scott Paper Products, Huggies, and Hefty Products.

 

Also Campbell Soup Labels support schools, and many of you already purchase many of these items.

 

If you are not sure where to send or take BOX TOPS or soup labels, bring to our meetings or send to Mitch Conover, 300 Strasbourg Drive, Lafayette, LA. 70506.

Bits and pieces

By Loubert Trahan                                                                                                                  
Francophones in the land of Uncle Sam

The vast American territory has been populated by waves of immigration. People from all over the world have gone to the United States in search of a brighter future or, in some cases, against their will.

Who has not heard of the Deportation of 1755, when thousands of Acadians from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were uprooted from their homeland? This most tragic event led to the introduction of the beauty of the French language into the United States.

A great deal is said today about the low birth rate in Canada as a whole, and more specifically in Quebec, where immigration is essential to compensate for the demographic deficit. But in the early 1800s, Quebec’s birth rate was so high that, as a result of the economic situation at the time, it was very difficult to feed so many mouths. Thousands of French-Canadian families left for New England, attracted by industries seeking laborers.

These Francophones integrated into the host country, but made sure to pass down all aspects of their cultural and linguistic heritage to their descendents. They were able to do this for awhile, but, not surprisingly, time, distance and the Anglophone majority eroded the vitality of the French lineage. What about today? Is there a Francophone presence in the land of Uncle Sam?

Some figures:
According to the 1990 census, 1.93 million Americans five years old and over spoke French at home. Ten years later, the number fell to 1.64 million. In 2006, according to the American Community Survey, there were slightly fewer than 1.4 million people speaking French at home. Therefore, in 16 years, the number of Francophones fell by 28%.

French is losing ground to other languages spoken by today’s immigrants—namely Spanish, spoken by more than 34 million Americans in 2006, and Asian languages such as Chinese, Filipino (one of the Philippines’s two official languages) Vietnamese and Korean. Before 1960, 68% of Francophone immigrants to the United States were from Canada. Between 1960 and 1969, the rate declined to 37% and went down to only 8% between 1970 and 1979.

Francophonie in all its states:
Francophones are scattered throughout the United States, from North to South and from East to West. In 2000, the 194,314 Francophones in Louisiana accounted for 4.7% of the population. They are the descendants of the Acadians who were forced to leave their homeland during the Deportation and today make up the largest Francophone community in the United States. New York state and California are next with 180,809 and 135,067 Francophones respectively, mainly from Europe. Florida follows thanks to the French, Québécois and Caribbean people who flock there.

However, when we look at the proportion of Francophones in each state, Maine has the highest concentration with 63,640 Francophones, accounting for 5.3% of the state’s population. As is the case elsewhere in New England, a large number of these Francophones have roots in Canada as a result of the proximity of Quebec and New Brunswick.

Francophone institutions:
For a long time, Catholic parishes were the nucleus of Francophone communities. In addition to holding religious celebrations in French, the church also ensured the well-being of its
congregation, organizing various social activities centered around choirs, pastoral services, women’s groups, clubs for men, boy scout and girl guide troops, sports teams and charity work.

Saint Joseph, the first Francophone parish in the United States, was established in Vermont in 1850. Other parishes soon followed. Today, the mass continues to be celebrated in French in 58 parishes, which are almost always bilingual or trilingual, as the members of these congregations also speak Spanish, Creole, Italian, Vietnamese or Portuguese, in addition to English.

The United States has about a dozen Francophone schools, mostly private, that are attended by Francophones from overseas, and 90 French immersion schools. The seven French-language dailies in existence in 1911 have gradually disappeared. The last one, L’Indépendant, published in Massachusetts, became a weekly in 1962, a few months before the presses stopped.

A culture that is still alive
One would have thought that the dispersion of such a small number of Francophones in such a vast Anglophone and multiethnic country would have resulted in the loss of this rich culture. Against all expectations, unshakable Francophones continue to carry the torch. 

For 26 years, Biddeford, a small city in Maine, has come alive in French during Kermesse, a Franco-American festival. The descendants of French-Canadians who moved there nearly 200 years ago celebrate the heritage of their ancestors—their language, their faith and their culture.

In Lewiston, Maine, the Franco-American Heritage Centre organizes activities in French for the community, including the Festival Franco-Fun. For three days, festival goers celebrate their pride in being Francophone through food, song and dance.

Speaking French to survive:
Statistics clearly show that there is cause for concern. French is becoming an increasingly minority language in the United States. Franco-Americans cannot rely on their government to protect their language and culture. For more than two centuries now, the United States has adopted language policies that promote English. Beginning in the 1850s, many states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington, California and New York, limited the right to vote to citizens who were competent in English. Today, 26 states have legislated the official and exclusive status of English. Most of the others recognize this
de facto.

As is the case elsewhere in the world, French will not survive unless it continues to be spoken, taught, sung and loved. Fortunately, being a minority does not necessarily mean Francophones will disappear. In fact, there are many Francophones in the United States who have their heart set on preserving their rich culture. Despite their demographic weight, Franco-Americans can be proud of their ancestors who transmitted that which was most precious to them. It is now up to them to safeguard this treasure: their language.

Francophone Louisiana:

·                     Did you know that the word “Cajun,” often used to refer to the Francophone community of Louisiana, comes from the word “Acadian?” The Francophone descendents of the Acadians expelled from Canada by the British in 1755 are called “Cadiens” in French, which was pronounced “Cajun” in English. But the Cajuns are not the only people who speak French in Louisiana. Creoles, descendents of the earliest French and Spanish colonists, also speak the language of MoliPre.

·                     According to the Web site of Professor Jacques Leclerc (in French only), French retains some legal status in Louisiana, for historical reasons. From 1682 to 1803, French was de facto an official language and, by far, the dominant language throughout Louisiana.

·                     Have you ever wondered what Cajun French is? Are there typically Cajun expressions? For answers to your questions, look on the Web site of Louisiana State University’s French Studies Department.

·                     Radio Louisiane  calls itself “the voice of French America.” Established by the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana  (CODOFIL), this radio station offers typical Louisiana programming. CODOFIL also supports a number of Francophone organizations that contribute to the vitality of French in the state.



Florida with a French-Canadian twist

DesjardinsEven though English has been the official language of Florida since 1988 there has been an explosion of French over the past several years. This is explained, in part, by a massive influx of snowbirds, Canadians who spend the winter there. Some businesses even fly the Canadian flag to let people know they provide service in French.

·                     Le Soleil de la Floride(in French only), Le Vacancier de la Floride and Carrefour Floride are a few of the newspapers published in French. The Québécois daily La Presse (in French only) is also distributed in Florida from November to April. This year, more than 60,000 copies found their way south.

·                     Destination Soleil (in French only) is a virtual showcase of Francophone Florida, with 5,000 texts in its archives, including an impressive list of Francophone associations in Florida.

·                     In 1992, the Mouvement Desjardins opened its first branch, the Desjardins Bank, in Florida. Two years later Natbank, a subsidiary of the National Bank of Canada, was established in the state. The RBC Royal Bank of Canada provides banking services for Canadians in the United States through about 30 branches in Florida and other south-eastern states.


Maine

Maine is the state with by far the largest Francophone presence—about 5% of the population. Many signs attest to this strong presence. For example, it is not unusual to find French family names that have lost their accents or have acquired English pronunciations. An author from the state’s Jay region, Adèle St. Pierre, writes about this situation in her article “What’s in a Name?”

It is true that Maine’s geographical location has a lot to do with the Francophone presence, but history has played a part too. In 1604, four years before the foundation of the city of Québec, Samuel de Champlain’s boat landed on an island off the coast of Maine, which he named Mont Désert (now part of Acadia National Park). At the beginning of the 19th century, a number of Québécois and Acadians settled in Maine to find work in the expanding construction, forestry and textile industries.

Today, there are other reasons for the continuing French presence in Maine. For example, the state has not adopted English as an official language, and in 2002, it even established an annual Franco-American day, during which the Pledge of Allegiance is recited in French and the national anthem is sung in English and French. The University of Maine, Fort Kent promotes the advantages of knowing French as well as English.

Based on the census of 2000, Wikipedia lists several Maine communities whose population is more than 50% Francophone, including MadawaskaWorld Wide Web site (84%) and Frenchville (80%).

 

 

                                   Dues for 2008 & Beyond now being accepted
                                       Click for:  
 Membership   Form

                  Send your renewals in Now - Due date on Address Label

Membership is $10 per family per year (note: this includes unmarried children under age 18 years; married children, regardless of age are a separate family).  You may also pay for 3 years for $25.00

Mail completed form and entry fee to:                         
                                                                                        Trahan Family Assoc. Inc.

                                                                                        % Loubert Trahan

                                                                                         9515 Hwy 92

                                                                                         Maurice, La. 70555
 

 

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