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Nicholls calls on French speakers to join preservation group

THIBODAUX – Area French-speakers interested in preserving and developing French language and culture in the southeast Louisiana region are invited to participate in the Cercle Francophone, a group spearheaded by a Nicholls State University faculty member.

“The group’s goal is not to teach French so much as to use, practice, hear and communicate in French,” Dr. Robin White, group coordinator and visiting assistant professor of English and French, said. “We wish to create community in French. With that said, beginners are welcome, but they may simply play the role of listeners, since participation involves speaking in French.”

White said the group is the brainchild of Mohamed Belaiche, a Thibodaux elementary school teacher and member of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana.

“He saw the importance of having a community-based French group to help preserve French in the Bayou Region,” White said.

Meetings are scheduled each Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Wetlands Acadian Culture Center at 314 St. Mary Street – with the exception of the second Tuesday of each month, when the group meets in 206 Peltier Hall on the Nicholls State University campus.

A special early meeting at Nicholls, scheduled at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, will offer details on a planned 2013 pilgrimage to Loudon, France, an ancestral village of the Acadians. The remaining meetings in February and March will feature presentations on various Francophone countries and regions.

The group’s coordinators include Belaiche; White; Kelly Blanchard, a retired teacher from Labadieville; and Ray Malbrough, a Houma resident and member of La Table Francaise.

For additional information, call White at 985-448-4854

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