FrancoJeunes, a proactive group of French-speaking young professionals based in Lafayette that act as stewards of Louisiana’s French-speaking culture, are planning another experiment in Franco economics called Piastres en masse, which is French for cash mob.
The idea of a cash mob is pretty simple. A group of die hard patrons of a particular restaurant or business coordinate a social gathering at said business on a certain day with the single goal of each participant spending a pre-determined amount of money, which in turn delivers a much appreciated one-time stimulus to that business.
“It’s really about raising awareness about locally-owned businesses that offer services in French,” says Erin Stickney, a founding member of FrancoJeunes. “We just want to see French-speaking businesses succeed.”
In addition to the immediate public, the program also seeks to help the city’s routine influx of international tourists identify French Louisiana hotspots like Bibi’s Patisserie, Johnson's Boucanière and Breaux’s Mart to name a few.
“Piastres en masse is a way to both advertise the fact that these businesses are French friendly and in a way reward them for that effort by a small cash infusion through this cash mob,” says Lucius Fontenot, FrancoJeunes' secretary. “And at the same time we hope to encourage more businesses to hire people that speak French.”
For its inaugural Piastres en masse, FrancoJeunes has chosen Bibi’s Patisserie, famous in
“We’ve already identified Bibi’s as a model because there’s always someone there during all of their opening hours that speaks French that can offer all of its services in French,” says Stickney. ”We chose Bibi’s because it fits all that—all of the signage is bilingual and you can always receive services in French.”
According to Stickney, while FrancoJeunes might seem like another CODOFIL initiative it is “100 percent independent of CODOFIL but supportive of it.” In fact, Piastres en masse was intended to be the group’s flagship project and has been in the works for sometime but it took a backseat to the group’s recent project 100,000 Cadiens, Creoles et Amis du Francais en Louisiane, which is an online fundraising campaign through IndieGoGo.com developed to recuperate the $100,000 line-item veto Gov. Bobby Jindal sliced from the CODOFIL budget. As of 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 19, the campaign has raised more than $17,000 with 41 days left to go.