The governor delivers a potential coup de grâce to the group’s Escadrille Louisiane program.
When Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed $2 million in marketing funding Friday for the state's Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, it sent more than a chill through the office of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana.Jindal's stroke of the pen put the 2-year-old Escadrille Louisiane initiative of the 44-year-old CODOFIL in a precarious position.
"I'm terribly disappointed," says CODOFIL President William Arceneaux. "Terribly disappointed. That's about all you can say."
All this comes just after getting LSU on board with Shreveport's Centenary College. The cuts will effect the 2013-14 term.
"We were going to shoot for 20 [students] next year. We did 10 the first year and we did seven this year," says Arceneaux. "But with this $100,000 cut, it's unlikely we'll be able to do any of that."
In 2010, the Legislature reorganized CODOFIL's structure, membership and mission "and the primary mission set forth in that law in 2010 was to develop more French immersion schools in Louisiana," says Arceneaux.
Before any cart goes a horse; likewise before any classroom a teacher must stand, which led to the question: "Who are we going to get to teach French in these French immersion schools?" asks Arceneaux, who then contacted the French government about sending American graduate students for schooling in France.
The French government loved the idea, says Arceneaux, and so along with the French Consulate in New Orleans, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in France "as well as colleges and universities in Louisiana to send people to France," the goal of more French Immersion in Louisiana was pursued.
CODOFIL picked up the ticket for the round trip, as well as the graduate level tuition of the students at Shreveport's Centenary College the summer prior to their departure.
The idea of the program has its roots in Escadrille Lafayette, a squadron of 200 American pilots who were sent to France's aide in WWI.
"They wanted to honor the Marquis de Lafayette for his role in fighting for the American Revolution on the side of the American," says Arceneaux. "I asked the French government if they'd be willing to take, over the next five to 10 years, 200, not pilots, but potential teachers who'd come back to Louisiana and teach," says Arceneaux.
In the process of "substantial belt-tightening" at CODOFIL, additional fallout means the 2.5 employees (down from 10 about 20 years ago) will leave just two as the part-time help will be let go.
"There's no money for travel anywhere — in-state or out-of-state — so, we'll be doing a lot of work on the phone, I guess," says Arceneaux.
"With those cuts, I don't know what we're going to do," he says. "Obviously, we'll try to raise as much private money as we can to continue the program. But failing that worse-case scenario, we'll probably have to suspend the program and hope for better times."
All this makes the upcoming fundraiser during the French Ambassador François Delattre's visit later this month a rather important affair.
The fundraising gala for study scholarships in France is set for Thursday, June 28, 7:15 p.m., at the UL Alumni House, 600 E. St. Mary Blvd. Tickets are $500 a couple; RSVP by calling 989-0071.
"Let's hope it's a success," Arceneaux says. "We need it now more than ever."
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.