Upon his arrival at the Lafayette Regional Airport on Thursday, François Delattre, French ambassador to the United States, will first head to Maurice to present the insignia of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, the highest decoration in France, to J. Lorcey Sonnier, Louisianan veteran of World War II.

City Parish President Joey Durel and Lafayette lobbyist Tyron Picard invited Delattre to Lafayette last year.

"Our longstanding cultural ties with France help to build economic opportunities for our area," says Durel in a press release. "From helping us celebrate Louisiana’s bicentennial to participating in a roundtable discussion about research in our area, he will have the opportunity to experience many of the great things happening in Lafayette.”

Later Delattre will meet with representatives of CODOFIL and other Francophone institutions and associations before touring the "Louisiana: 200 Years Later" exhibition at the Lafayette Science Museum.

That bicentennial exhibit was developed in conjunction with Espace Mendes France in Poitiers, France, and the Stewart Museum in Montreal, Quebec.

A lecture on the reconstruction of L'Hermione, the ship sailed by General and Marquis de La Fayette during the American War of Independence, follows and the public is invited to attend this free event, 5-6 p.m., at the downtown museum.

Ambassador Delattre will later meet with Durel, area legislators, and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who will travel to France in October to sign the new Louisiana-France cccord regarding educational and cultural cooperation projects.

Delattre will be the special guest at a fund-raising gala sponsored by Acadian Companies and CODOFIL to benefit a scholarship program funding Louisiana students studying in France.

On Friday the ambassador will visit St. Martinville and take part in a UL-Lafayette/LEDA research round table at the LITE Center.


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