Cajuns and Creoles stand up: State has golden opportunity with census
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.”
JUNE 19 Former Saint Steve Gleason, who is paralyzed by ALS, released a statement Tuesday in response to the Atlanta radio station's skit making fun of him and the disease, this Picayune post reports. What did he say? He said he'd accepted the apology of the DJs who did it, notes that at least the incident has got people talking about ALS, and asks anyone who is burning to take action about it to do so -- by helping him fight ALS.
JUNE 19 Blogger Ian McGibboney takes a look at the Gleason incident in this post. He makes a good argument about the difference between having free speech and being free from consequences for your speech (which none of us is). He also admits that many of us got upset before we listened to the skit -- but lets us know that the reality is far worse than we can imagine. It was the incredibly bad judgment, even more than the actual speech, that probably got those DJs fired, he opines.
JUNE 19 Washington Post blogger Aaron Blake writes about Sen. Guillory's switch to the GOP in this post. He writes what most political watchers in Louisiana know: Guillory was a Republican before he decided to run for the senate seat in a mostly-D St. Landry district, and has switched back now that he plans to run for Lt. Gov. in a mostly-R state. But how come Blake missed Guillory's appearance on a TLC pageant show? Now that is a video we'd like to see. (Again).
JUNE 19 Here's another Washington Post blog post about a Louisiana politician, and it's just plain scathing. Ezra Klein says Jindal's Politico post was "insulting" to the intelligence of voters, and adds that Jindal is personifying the "stupid" he's railed against, by being an "elite" who convinces GOP activists of "things that aren't true." Me-ow.
JUNE 19 Here's Gov. Jindal's post in Politico, in which he asks the GOP to get over losing to Obama (again) and stop "the bedwetting." (Uh, what?) He gives his Republican buddies what is probably a nerd's idea of a coach's motivational talk, which starts with a list of accomplishments that they can't seem to exploit and ending with an absurd description of liberals that sounds like a character treatment for a Fox "News" movie scripted by Gordon Liddy. Sure, he's preaching to the choir, but even the choir's not this gullible.
JUNE 19 Lamar Parmentel read Gov. Jindal's post on Politico, but thinks it was so dumb it probably was published in the wrong paper. This post by Lamar on the Daily Kingfish opines that possibly Jindal's post was destined for the Onion -- because the governor couldn't possibly be serious here. If you listen closely, you can hear the staff of the Kingfish giggling.
JUNE 19 Blogger Robert Mann posts from Turkey, a country he has visited several times in the past few years. Mann gives an interesting overview of the current political and societal climate of the country, which -- if you're living under a rock and don't know -- is experiencing protests and turmoil these days. Mann promises to post as much as he can during his trip, which should be fascinating reading.
JUNE 19 Blogger CB Forgotston says the legislature is keeping the vicious cycle going with its funding of new buildings for the community college/technical college system. Universities across the state need maintenance and improvement on existing buildings, and the solution is to build new buildings at other schools? By the time the bonds are paid off, those buildings will be falling down, too, CB says.
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to offer shares of its stock to the public for the first time.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.