Gathering scheduled for November 8, 2008
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,
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.
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:
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!
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
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
Francophones in the land of Uncle Sam
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.
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.
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.
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?
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
published in Massachusetts, became a weekly in 1962, a few months before the
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
with a French-Canadian twist
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
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
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?”
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.
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.
the census of 2000,
Wikipedia lists several Maine communities whose population is more than
50% Francophone, including
Madawaska (84%) and