Louisiana stands to pull in millions of dollars thanks to a new question on census forms that will be distributed later this year.
Louisiana stands to pull in millions of dollars in previously unavailable federal funding for such things as educational programs like French immersion, hospitals, museums and other community-service projects thanks to a new question on census forms that will be distributed later this year. “Historically, we’ve not been able to tap into a lot of the funding that exists in the United States under the federal government because the United States doesn’t have a firm grasp on how many people in the United States, how many Americans culturally identify with Louisiana Creole and Cajun cultures,” says Christophe Landry of the World Studies Institute, a Lafayette non-profit that seeks to connect French speakers in Louisiana with the wider Francophone world.
But it will take a concerted effort by Louisiana’s Creole and Cajun communities to snag the money. A new question, No. 8 on the short form, covers cultural origins. The WSI is urging the state’s Creole and Cajun communities to check the last box in No. 8 — “Yes. Another Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin” — and then to write beneath it either “Lousiana Creole” or “Cajun.” For the first time, this will allow Uncle Sam to get a head count of the state’s Cajun and Creole populations, provided those groups don’t skip over question No. 8. “We’re pushing this particular census because it’s a window of opportunity,” Landry adds. “Up until 2010, there has never been a question related to culture, it’s only been race/ethnicity.”
The hitch is that many of Creole and Cajun descent may be inclined to skip over No. 8 on the census form because it appears to apply only to Hispanics. Kat Smith, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Census Bureau’s Dallas field office, says Congress decides what’s on the forms, the bureau simply counts heads. But, Smith adds, Creoles and Cajuns who hand-write their cultural identification on No. 8 will be counted. “As long as they as a group or ethnicity or race decide that they want to make sure that their numbers are where they need to be — we do the same thing for tribes, American Indian tribes and things of that nature — they can make sure their numbers are counted as such by identifying themselves consistently by writing it a certain way,” says Smith.
For Louisiana Creoles, that means being specific. If a Creole in Louisiana writes “French Creole” or simply “Creole,” which can include Haitians and other groups, that person’s cultural identification will not be tied to Louisiana. According to WSI, the U.S. Department of Management and Budget has identified some $400 billion in federal funding annually, which is disseminated in part through census figures. If Louisiana Cajuns and Creoles make a loud noise through the census, more of that money should flow our way. “With the these numbers,” says Landry, “the federal government’s going to be forced to address these issues and to send some funding down here.”
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Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, March 11, 2014:
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
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.