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."
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, March 10, 2014:
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.
Jim Bernhard, who engineered the sale of The Shaw Group for $3 billion, recently has told several people involved in Democratic politics that he intends to run for governor in 2015.
A New Orleans levee board wants to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for decades of damage to our state’s coastline, but the Legislature may be poised to put the kibosh on the suit.
New standards curb elective induction
CVS stops tobacco sales
If an Acadia Parish fiddler misses a note while swatting a fly, will a St. Martinville accordionist learn “Ma ‘Tite Fille”?
(It's good, it's bad and it's just crazy)