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 Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.