The French are Coming!

Debi Graham Special to The Citizen

The French are coming! That is the motivation call which has members of the Gonzales Committee on Cultural Affairs (GCCA) polishing up final plans for showing off the very best of South Louisiana and the city of Gonzales for a delegation of visitors from Meylan, France. The Meylan group arrives in Gonzales on Oct. 8, and will be staying with area host families.

Through a cultural exchange program which pairs cities from separate countries which are similar in size and other criteria, Gonzales and Meylan became “twin cities” in the 1980’s. For 29 years, citizens of Gonzales, Louisiana and Meylan, France have been exchanging visits to share their history, food, music, and unique cultures.

Karen Hatcher, president of the GCCA, has hosted visitors from Meylan twice before, but she said this upcoming visit will be quite different because this is the first time French delegation has visited Louisiana in the fall.

“We are going to bring our French guests to experience one of Louisiana’s biggest social and cultural events that takes place in the fall—we’re taking them tailgating before the LSU/Florida football game,” Hatcher said.

“We will also be able to attend the Festivals Acadiens et Créoles in Lafayette, and with the help of the Gonzales Boat Club, we’re going to introduce them to a uniquely American Thanksgiving feast with a South Louisiana twist,” said Hatcher.

After a lunch featuring fried turkey, ham, sweet potato crunch, homemade desserts, and pretty much every kind of food Ascension Parish citizens traditionally serve on Thanksgiving, the group will be taking a boat cruise along the Amite River and connecting bayous, courtesy of the Gonzales Boat Club.

Hatcher said that another special event that GCCA has been able to plan for this October visit is a concert of Cajun and Swamp-pop music at Jambalaya Park in Gonzales. That concert, featuring the band Toux Les Soirs, will be on Tuesday, Oct. 15th at 6:00 pm at the Jambalaya Park Stage.

This concert in Jambalaya Park will be open to the public, so the entire community is invited to join GCCA and their guests from Meylan for an evening of music, dancing and fellowship.

Hatcher said the Oct.15th concert in Jambalaya Park will be a perfect opportunity to show the French visitors how people in Gonzales like to “pass a good time” or “laissez le bon temps rouler” and let the good times roll.