Removal and Reinstatement: French in Louisiana

The origins of the French Language in Louisiana come from the French Colonial period, but it was sustained both by the Spanish government’s acceptance of the French language and the influx of French speaking Acadians in south Louisiana. Demographics changed over time, but the large numbers of Indigenous peoples, European descendant settlers, a large free and enslaved black population soon spoke French or Spanish as well as their native languages.  

The majority of children attended school starting in the 1900s, and first languages are learned by hearing and using it during school years. English was encouraged in some classrooms after the Civil War, but the statewide suppression of any other language than English started in the 1900s. Some private schools shifted to speaking English in the classroom in the early 1900s, there was a statewide suggestion for strictly English speaking in 1913, and in 1921 the Louisiana constitution required exclusive use of English in public schools. French, however, was taught as a second language at the new Southwestern Louisiana Institute in 1903, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL). 

After World War II, more educational programs actively pursued French programs in Louisiana, but the number of French speakers continued to decline. A 1952 Bulletin from the Superintendent of Education claimed that “It is estimated at least 400,000 people in Louisiana speak some form of French,” out of approximately 2.8 million, whereas the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana’s website reports that the 2000 census showed only 203,254 who spoke some form of French.  

It was in the classroom that the emphasis on English replaced the native languages, and it is in the classroom that French and other languages can be reintroduced. In the 1950-1951 school year, State Department of Education piloted an elementary project program in Avoyelles, Iberia, and St. Martin parishes. In 1951 The Society France Amérique de la Louisiane Acadienne was formed in Lafayette and helped with USL (now ULL) to acquire a French culture space, Maison Acadienne Francaise. Vermilionville continues the tradition by providing French signage, tours, and artisans for the past thirty years, and with your help, thirty more years.  

References  

“French Colonial Louisiana: The period of French colonial control of Louisiana dates from 1682 to 1800.” by Michael T. Pasquier. 64 Parishes https://64parishes.org/entry/french-colonial-louisiana  

“Louisiana as a Spanish Colony” Library of Congress, Louisiana: European Explorations and the Louisiana Purchase Collection https://www.loc.gov/collections/louisiana-european-explorations-and-the-louisiana-purchase/articles-and-essays/louisiana-as-a-spanish-colony/  

“French Can Enrich your Elementary School Program: A Progress Report on the Teaching of Conversational French in Several Louisiana School Systems” By Mabel Collette and Thomas R. Landry Bulletin No 729 February 1952 

University of Louisiana at Lafayette Special Collections, France-Amérique de la Louisiane Acadienne Collection 86 

“French In Louisiana” Office of Cultural Development CODOFIL – Agence Des Affaires Francophones About. https://www.crt.state.la.us/cultural-development/codofil/about/french-in-louisiana/index  

Vermilionville
Bayou Vermilion District

La Cuisine de Maman

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HOURS

Vermilionville is open six days a week, Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Please keep in mind that we stop taking admission at 3:00 p.m. daily as it takes approximately an hour to an hour and thirty minutes to tour our historic village.

Our historic village is closed on Mondays and for major holidays including New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, Mardi Gras Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

 

 

 

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District All Rights Reserved

 

REGULAR ADMISSION

Adults (ages 19 – 65): $10.00 per person

Senior Citizens (age 65+): $8.00 per person

Students (ages 5 – 18): $6.00 per person

Children (under 5): No Charge

GROUP ADMISSION (MINIMUM OF 20 PEOPLE)

*Adults (ages 19 – 65+): $8.00 per person

Students (ages 5 – 18): $5.00 per person

Children (under 5): No Charge

* Disclaimer: In order to receive the reduced admission rate, groups must be booked in advance and one payment made upon arrival.

DISCOUNTS

AAA: Adult $9.00, Senior $7.00, Student $5.00

Active Military plus Dependants: $5.00; $7.00 Senior & Retired

Le Guide Routard: $6.00

ULL’s Alumni Association (must present current member ID): $6.00

Louisiana Public Broadcasting: $2.00 Off Admission

National Preservation for Historic Trust: $2.00 off Admission

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ACCESSIBILITY

Vermilionville is completely handicap-accessible. Our attractions are outfitted with a wide ramp for wheelchair and walker access. If you require a wheelchair, please inquire in the gift shop and we will be happy to provide you with one to utilize during your visit.

DIRECTIONS

Vermilionville is located in the heart of Lafayette, Louisiana, right across from the Lafayette Regional Airport off of Surrey St.

300 Fisher Road Lafayette, Louisiana 70508