March 1, 2021

Springtime is here. The days of harsh winds, heavy rain and freezing temperatures are behind us. Now we look forward to a renewal of the most active part of the year. Plants, in hibernation for months with discolored leaves or barren branches, awaken with signs of growth. Tiny buds soon appear; new leaves and blossoms are forming to welcome in Spring with a sea of vivid color and aromatic fragrances. Did you know that LVP porch could be likened to Spring regarding renewal? Read on for more!

Just like many of our patrons, LVP notes much quieter times shortly after the holidays have past each year, when winter weather keeps everyone stuck inside their homes, out of harsh conditions or exhausted from hosting or attending family holiday gathers. However, just like the plants welcoming Spring with buds and blossoms, LVP welcomes patrons (year-round) especially in Spring with many great events. One of the most popular seasonal events has been French Speaking on the Porch. There are many towns around Church Point which host monthly French speaking events, but LVP took the idea into a different direction.

The event was created and implement by LVP Board Member, Mrs. Dianna Richard, a Church Point native. She first mentioned the idea about 8 years ago to the curator and board during a round table planning session for the annual event calendar. Her idea was to hold an event in which local French speakers had a place to chat with one another in Cajun or Creole French. The concept sounds simple but goes much deeper than it appears. When learning a language, aspects of culture and history become part of the vocabulary; when speaking in the ‘new’ language, those customs are then passed on to the listener. However, the Cajun and Creole languages are not being taught now as they were many generations ago. Not only is the language quickly fading away, but so are the customs, stories, and traditions. There are many native French speakers living in our community who have no one to chat with in French; they are losing their ability to speak in the language as they have no one to speak with and losing opportunities to share those aspects of culture, history, and traditions.  Mrs. Richard, aka “DeeDee”, stated LVP porch would be a great place for those people to speak French with one another and ‘pass a good time’. Great idea, but why Spring for the event? After being cooped up all winter, what better time to awaken after our own personal winter hibernation than by renewing or making friendships while sitting on the 40’x40’ Acadian style porch and enjoying nature with cool breeze, lower humidity, and bright colors of plants and flowers! A lot of hard work went into the planning and executing that first event. There was not a formal program; in fact, the event was planned to be very casual: have coffee and donuts at the ready and plenty of chairs on the porch. Visitor were encouraged to pour a cup, have a seat, and start talking. Just that simple! However, Dee Dee did have one rule that everyone had to abide by: be open to what is said; let no differences divide us but rather bring us closer together. Just like Spanish, Italian and nearly every other language known, French has many different dialects. There are times when those dialects provide insight to where a person was born, raised, their social status or their background. Don’t believe me? The Cajun French word for “Flag”, as spoken in one area can be translated as “diaper” in another area just a few miles down the road; different dialect, same language. Are you still not convinced? English spoken in Canton, La sounds much different than when spoken by someone Topeka, KS.  Both are dialects of the same language.

The French Speaking event has enjoyed 8 years of renewal of friendship, reliving stories from yesteryear and has helped many newcomers of the language to learn a bit more of the Cajun and Creole French their older relatives spoke. LVP wishes to thank Mrs. Dianna Richard for her dedication to promoting and preserving the Cajun and Creole French language. LVP looks forward to renewing its friendship with you in the future.

For your time here and past patronage, Mes Ami, I bid you….