Exiled from their native homeland of Nova Scotia in 1755, the Acadians wandered aimlessly along the Atlantic seaboard for years before settling in the rich fertile soils of south Louisiana. The 6,000 Acadians who refused to swear allegiance to the British crown were punished for their disloyalty with destruction of their homes and expulsion from their homeland.
This horrendous voyage marked 30 years of hardship and humiliation for a proud group of people. At each location of disembarking along the Atlantic Coast, these refugees were welcomed by open hostility. Through the generosity of the Spanish Government, Charles III, they were transported to south Louisiana where they settled on friendly land. Here, they established small farms along the swamp and prairie region of the Mississippi River, Bayou Teche, Bayou Lafourche and other locations in the southern part of the state. For almost 200 years they remained in isolation because of inaccessibility to this region. Even under Spanish rule, a large majority of the colonists continued to speak French.
A distinct culture and a dialect known as "Cajun" French was born. Cajun French began in Nova Scotia between 1604 and 1756 and traveled to Louisiana where it matured and further developed. It is the only modern North American language and has undergone many linguistic changes over the years.
There have been many speculations as to why Cajun French has survived and attained dominance for over 200 years. Many conclude that the geographic isolation of the Acadian settlements, the close-knit family structure and the lower socioeconomic status of the group has contributed to its endurance.
Several factors contributed to the changes and almost extinction of the language. In the 1930's, Governor Huey P. Long began a process to bridge the swamplands and lowlands with a network of roads bringing an end to the Acadians' isolated existence. Another set back for the language occurred in the public school system when children were coerced by punishment to abandon their language and speak only English. Soon, this generation became ashamed of their language and were convinced of their cultural inferiority.
Through the efforts of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL), a reawakening of Cajun pride has emerged. CODOFIL has been responsible for protecting and promoting the French heritage of Louisiana through encouraging the teaching of French in elementary schools, student and teacher exchanges, the organization of national and international meetings, festivals and radio and television programs in French. Today through CODOFIL's involvement, Cajun French is spoken proudly.
More than 260,000 Louisianans speak a form of French either brought to New Orleans by French nobility or to the bayous and prairies by Acadian immigrants. Research also shows that in Louisiana, the older you are the more likely you are to speak French.
People who listed their home language as French, Cajun or French Creole make up two-thirds of the 391,994 Louisiana residents who told the Census Bureau in 1990 that they do not speak English in their homes. Louisiana residents make up the 13.6 percent of the 1.9 million people who speak one of those three French dialects around the country. Those three groups account for 6 percent of the 31.8 million people nationwide who speak a language other than English at home.
Other home languages of Louisiana residents include: Spanish, 72,173 (18.4 percent statewide, 54.4 percent nationwide); Vietnamese (many settled here and continue their trade as fishermen), 14,352; German, 8,588; Italian, 4,933; Chinese, 4,485; Korean, 2,607; Arabic, 2,419; Tagalog, 2,607; Hindi, 1,993; Thai, 1,752; Greek, 1,391; Japanese, 1,385; Persian, 780; Koasati Indians (Coushatta), 229; Gaelic, 126; Irish, 91; Scottish, 35; Bulgarian, Nepali and Fijian, 3 each; Sebuano (spoken on the Philippine island of Sebu), 4; Choctaw and Kusaiean, 6 each; Romany (ancient Gypsy language), 7; and Apache, 8.
Common expressions you might hear in Lafayette, LA. This list was made in collaboration with Télé-Louisiane. To read more about French in Louisiana, read their guide “An Introduction to Louisiana French.”
Are you currently learning French and looking to practice speaking it? Are you looking to brush up on the French you learned in your youth? If the answer is yes, then look no further! We've compiled a list of places in Acadiana and beyond of French Tables to help you on your French-speaking journey. For a complete list of French Tables around the area click here.
Don't see a French Table you frequent in the list below? Click here to let us know, and we'll add it to the list.
323 Rue Jefferson, Lafayette, LA 70501
Wednesday mornings at 7:00 a.m.
Lester Gauthier, email@example.com
Blue Moon Saloon
215 E Convent St, Lafayette, LA 70501
2nd Wednesday of the month from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Bar à Tapas Pamplona
631 Jefferson St, Lafayette
Every Friday at noon
Pétanque at Girard Park
Girard Park, 500 Girard Park Dr, Lafayette
Second and fourth Sunday of every month from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. (fall and winter); 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. (spring & summer)
Mike (337) 534-9930.
Vermilionville's La Cuisine de Maman
300 Fisher Rd., Lafayette, LA 70508
2nd Saturday of the month 9:00 - 9:30 a.m.
Valsin Broussard House
408 W. Main St., Broussard
2nd Friday of every month from 8:30 - 10 a.m.
Arnaudville Table Francaise
Arnaudville Community Center
291 Guidroz St, Arnaudville
Last Saturday of the month from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Messe en français/French Mass
St. Bernard Catholic Church
204 N Main St, Breaux Bridge,
2nd Saturday and Sunday of the month at 8:00 a.m.
La Table Française d’Erath
Erath City Hall-115 W Edwards St., Erath, LA 70533
This French Table is held weekly on every Friday at 11:00am.
Eunice Table Française
220 S C C Duson St, Eunice, LA 70535, USA
Every Wednesday morning 9:30-10:30 AM
Cadiens du Teche Cajun Dance
La Louisiane Banquet Hall
5509 Hwy. 14, New Iberia
Every third Wednesday of the month from 7:00 - 9:30 p.m.
Le Vieux Village
828 E Landry St, Opelousas, LA 70570
Last Wednesday of the Month 8:30 - 9:30 a.m.
The Bernard House
Corner of The Blvd and Oak Street across from the Rayne Police Station
Thursdays 9:30 a.m.
Begnaud House Heritage Visitor Center
110 Benoit Patin Rd., Scott, LA 70583
1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
337-269-5155 | 337-269-5697
Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site
1200 N Main St.
Third Saturday of every month from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.
If you love music, food, history, self-improvement, or even true crime, you have stumbled upon a podcast discussing your favorite topic. Over the past decade, podcasts have grown…
Yearning for somewhere unique to spend time with that special person in your life? Consider the heart of Louisiana's Cajun & Creole Country, Lafayette. Our culturally…