Louisiana has a very old French heritage that dates back to the 17th-century when Cavelier de La Salle named this part of the New World in honor to his sovereign, Louis XIV. The French heritage in Louisiana also derives from the arrival and settlement of Acadians in the 18th-century. Expelled from Acadia (New France) by the British, some French colons ended in what is now South-West Louisiana. The French-speaking communities are incredibly rich and widespread in Louisiana today and include Cajuns (descendants of the Acadians), Creoles, American Indians, and more recent migrants from French-speaking countries.
As a public historian, South-West Louisiana offers a fantastic space of dialogue, collaboration, and production for the preservation of French heritage. However, the preservation of an heritage based on a specific language (French) raises some very specific challenges for public historians. How can we define French-Speaking heritage? How do we preserve immaterial heritage such as a language?
In order to do so, I propose four different formats.