“The issue of keeping the French language alive in Louisiana,” says Dana Kress, a professor at Centenary College in Shreveport, “is always accompanied with great wailing, much pulling of hair, and feverish wringing of hands.” A smiling head shot accompanies Kress’s guest editorial in this summer’s edition of Louisiana Cultural Vistas. And yet, the loss of French in his state seems to really get his chèvre: “The truth is this: For more than a century and a half, millions of Louisianians who claim French heritage have been taxed and their dollars have been diverted from their communities to support English-language education.” He’s a little touchy on the subject, certainement, but given the fact that, as he writes, the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana “has enjoyed more support from its partners in France, Belgium, and Canada than from its own state government,” you begin to see his point. Having to justify your existence continuellement can make the best of us a little, well, irascible.
Keeping French alive in Louisiana can be accompanied by great wailing
HUMANITIES, November/December 2010, Volume 31, Number 6