Welcome to Lafayette, French Ambassador François Delattre. Parlez-vous Anglais?
As you know, we're the French speaking portion of Louisiana where the collective music, food and joie de vivre of Cajuns and Creoles have sustained a unique aspect of American culture and built a tourism industry second to none. So far, anyway.
We're also the home of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana that, until a couple of weeks ago, had a program with your universities to immerse American teachers in French so they could return and keep the language and culture alive with the French Immersion program.
Alas, things have changed under Gov. Bobby Jindal. You see, he's got plans. Big plans. And they have nothing to do with Louisiana.
Jindal went to Utah last weekend to show his brethren he's got what it takes to be the right-hand man of Mitt Romney, who looks to represent the Republican Party in the November election.
The boy who would be VP arrived there with an impressive resume steeped in austere-like measures and policies; the kind that would make German Chancellor Angela Merkel proud and no doubt curl her toes curl with anticipation in the hopes that Jindal himself would want to give her a massage.
Closer to home, Jindal has already given a shout-out to the Santorum crowd with his contempt for higher education with his cuts to higher education. That ought to show those elitist wannabes who want to improve their lot with a college diploma.
In his zeal to undermine anything remotely supported by state and fed monies, Jindal has no problem putting an end to programs and institutions and turn the public's money over to the unregulated hand of the private sector.
Take his bush league approach to dismantle public education. Jindal made a deal with the devil as witnessed by some of the ill-prepared Christian schools in line for his voucher program.
The latest Sunday school crawled out from under a single-wide trailer to accept 199 students and the big bucks that come with it, but it also failed a state fire inspection. Again. Which just goes to show that we need to get the government out of the fire inspecting business.
There seems to be a pattern in Jindal's handiwork, and you can find it in the GOP playbook. From budget cuts to his Louisiana Scholarship Program, a sweeping overhaul of teacher tenure and compensation rules, the recent veto, and who can forget the Louisiana Academic Freedom Act, Jindal's actions seem overly scripted, yet at the same time covertly schemed.
It’s no secret that in the GOP agenda coming from the hard right, there is a movement to dismantle public education, break public and private unions and blur the line between church and state (see Louisiana Academic Freedom Act).
But about the CODOFIL ordeal. In his veto a couple of weeks ago to smite a critic, he cut $2 million from the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. This in turn shorted CODIFIL $100,000 for next year and has the potential to stall what has become a crucial element of the indisputable economic engine of Acadiana: Francophone tourism.
The common, if not go-to, answer for Jindal's antics that we appear to settle for is politics. And while it is what it is — politics — it also has all the appearance of yet another opportunity for Jindal to enhance his street cred with another fanatical segment of the far right.
You know, the English-only crowd.
Bon bon appétit, ambassador.