Spring 1997 Northwest Zydeco Newsletter Article:

France Promotes French in Louisiana, Just Like Old Times

by Tom Dempsey

During the 1700ís, the French colony of Louisiana, named after King Louis XIV, extended from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada, comprising 10 modern U.S. states. French-speaking Acadians, expelled in 1755 from present-day Nova Scotia, resettled to become the Cajuns of Southern Louisiana, living alongside Creoles. Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte sold Louisiana to the United States in 1803 for $15 million, making the Louisiana Purchase the largest area ever added to the U.S. at one time.

In the 1940ís, rural Creoles of Southwest Louisiana sang in French as they invented zydeco. As part of a cultural revival, the public Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) was founded in 1968. France renewed a two-year agreement in 1996 with CODOFIL to promote the French language in Louisiana. France will send 25 primary school French teachers to Louisiana and encourage broadcasting of French television channel TV5. In 1999, French entertainers will visit Louisiana for festivities marking the 300th anniversary of the arrival of French settlers there.


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