An organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the French language and culture in Vermilion Parish.
A recently formed non-profit organization, Les Amis du Français en Vermillon
promotes all things dealing with the Francophone cultures in Vermilion Parish, providing
support for immersion learning in Vermilion Parish through special programs and events.
Director Layla Melancon says: "Les Amis du Français en Vermillon, along with its partners,
members and volunteers, will work diligently to bring French in Vermilion Parish back to life.
Becoming a part of this organization is an excellent way for the community to stay informed
and get involved in this effort. By joining us, you can be a part of building a French
immersion program that ensures Vermilion Parish students get a good a bilingual education.
This will help our students in reconnecting to a key part of their local history."
Passionate about her strong French heritage and sincere love of the French language,
Mrs. Melancon did extensive research and discovered that Vermilion Parish,
an area rich in Cajun and Creole history, is one of the top three Louisiana parishes
with the highest percentage of French speakers. More specifically, she found that 22%
of the overall population of the Erath community are native French speakers. In Kaplan it is 19% and in Abbeville it is 8%. These statistics provide evidence of how many residents in Vermilion Parish utilize their French daily, not only in the home, but throughout the community.
"The French language can be heard regularly at our grocery stores, gas stations, schools,
churches, restaurants, tourist attractions, community events and numerous other places," she says.
"The French heritage and deep-rooted culture that exists within our communities represents the
importance of preserving the French language and culture in Vermilion Parish, and
identifies a need to promote and preserve the continued success of our French Immersion program."
One of the Les Amis programs is a weekly French table discussion group
held in Erath (see News & Events
for location and schedule). Not only does the French Table provide a
place to share the French language, but also the stories of the community's strong French culture
and of the days when the French language and ways were a part of everyday life.
The group invites parents, local and state officials, community members,
schools, businesses and cultural, historical and tourism organizations to join in supporting
the preservation of the French language and culture in Vermilion Parish. "There is a small $10
annual membership fee to join," says Mrs. Melancon. "Through volunteer
work and tax-deductible membership fees and contributions, supporters will help our organization
tremendously, which in turn, is able to provide support for immersion learning in Vermilion Parish.
A few examples include providing support for French immersion teachers to purchase additional school
materials, providing enrichment opportunities for students, and providing students with cultural
learning experiences and opportunities to engage with the heritage of our communities."
Les Amis is sponsored by the Acadian Heritage and Cultural Foundation, Inc., headed by Acadian Museum
chairman Warren Perrin. All donations are tax deductible.
Click here to print out the membership form or click below to
donate (write "Les Amis" in the Notes section on the donation form).