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Emmanuel Macron is going to Louisiana on Friday to talk about Francophonie there. The French heritage is alive and well in this southern state of the United States, and the new generation intends to make this heritage bear fruit. Reportage.
Here, in the far south of Louisiana, in this bayou at the end of the world, French is spoken on a daily basis. This is the case of Charles and Christine: both are part of the Amerindian tribe Pointe-au-Chien, a tribe which descends from the first inhabitants of America and which learned French from the colonists in the 18th century.e century.
“If you didn’t speak French, you couldn’t speak with your mother or your grandfather. I didn’t speak English at all,” says Charles, chief of the Pointe-au-Chien tribe. In their childhood, French was the only language. Now, this Francophonie is part of their identity, but it is hard to defend in an English-speaking world.
So knowing that the French president is expected, Friday, December 2, in Louisiana touches them particularly. “We don’t have all the new words they have there (in France, editor’s note) but we are still talking”, explains Christine. “It is a privilege that he (Emmanuel Macron) comes here (…) to New Orleans to meet us”, as well as a dozen other actors from the Francophonie.
Among them, Will McGrew, founder of Télé Louisiane, the first entirely French-language media in the state. The latter explains: “We are in the best position to tell our story, and it is essential to tell these stories in the language which was, until recently, the dominant language of the State: Louisiana French”.
Will embodies the new generation of Louisianans fighting to keep French alive. He hopes that the arrival of Emmanuel Macron will be a step towards the future.