Proud to be Cajun – It’s Official

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Two of Louisiana’s newest laws—one on the books, one effective Jan. 1, 2014—will make it easier than ever for residents to show off their pride as a resident Cajun or Creole. And as an added bonus, it could help to preserve that cultural pride for generations to come.

Thanks to HB147 by Rep. Mike Huval, Louisiana drivers can now get “I’m Cajun” or “I’m Creole” stamped onto their license plates. And after Sen. Fred Mills’ own legislation, SB201, goes into effect, those applying for driver’s licenses and photo IDs will likewise have the option to stamp “I’m a Cajun” on their cards. The fees associated with each benefit La Fondation Louisiane, a not-for-profit foundation established in 1989 to raise money for the scholarship programs of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL).

As an agency, we’ve supported CODOFIL’s mission in the past. And we are pleased to know these new revenue opportunities have the potential to extend the life of the educational opportunities the organization makes possible. << Read More goes here; link to rest of story on BBR blog >>

“CODOFIL is delighted with the recognition and support from Sen. Fred Mills and Rep. Mike Huval,” CODOFIL President William Arceneaux told BBR. “While no one can predict how much funds will be generated by these two initiatives, I can assure the public that those funds will be applied to scholarships and will be deeply appreciated.”

Asked to explain the goal of the license plate initiative, Rep. Mike Huval said the benefits are twofold.

“The Cajun/Creole plate will give an opportunity for the people of Louisiana to promote the French language,” Huval said. “It will also allow the people of Louisiana an opportunity to show off their pride of being Cajun and Creole.”

Huval touted the typically outstanding performance of students enrolled in French immersion courses, adding that he appreciates CODOFIL’s efforts at preserving the language in the Acadiana region.

“Even people who aren’t Cajun by blood or can’t speak French still have pride in this area,” Huval said. “Some people didn’t have the opportunity to learn the language, but they’re proud by descent or even if they moved here.”

CODOFIL is also working with the Louisiana Department of Education in the implementation of the Immersion Choice Act, which the organization says would “empower parents to petition their local school boards for the creation of new French immersion education pathways.”

COCOFIL Director Joseph Dunn explained to BBR, “This is the first step toward rebuilding a Louisiana ecosystem, which permits the development of French in the social, economic and professional sectors, valorizing French and Creole speakers across the state in their cultural and linguistic identity.”

C’est bon.