Covering Louisiana

May 16, 2013 7:25 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

"Cajun" Bills Debated

Cajun pride is the focus of several bills that Acadiana lawmakers are backing. From culture to French language, the bills are aimed at showing the world what's unique about Acadiana.

Senator Fred Mills is proposing legislation that would allow drivers to put "I'm Cajun" or "I'm Creole" on their driver's license.

Senator Eric LaFleur has already passed a bill that designates July 14th as a day to honor Louisiana French-American and Creole families.

Representative Stephen Ortego is proposing parishes be allowed to request bilingual guide signs on state and federal highways.

Representative Mike Huval would create "I'm Cajun' or 'I'm Creole' license plates.

Several lawmakers have been planning to take cultural pride in Louisiana to a new level.

"Before session started, we actually, a handful of us, mostly French-speaking legislators from Acadiana, we decided we'd get together and have a sort of package, a "Franco-phone package," (D) Representative Stephen Ortego from Carencro said.

His bill creates bilingual guide signs on highways.

"My grand-parents generation was told that it was not a good thing to speak their language, but what better way to say it's a good thing to speak their language and to be proud of who you are, than to have it validated on the street signs," Ortego said.

"The largest group of people that visit Acadiana are Franco-phones, and so we ought to make it as accomadating as possible when they travel the roads," (D) Senator Eric LaFleur (district 28) said.

One bill generates funding for the Council Of the Development Of French In Louisiana.

"We have a bill right now that on your driver's license you could basically put "I'm a Cajun" and the proceeds would go to CODOFIL, and it's a permissive bill it would be only if you want to do it. But it would be a proud way to support CODOFIL, say "I'm a Cajun," and promote our heritage," (R) Senator Fred Mills (district 22) said.

"I think it's good that legislators feel like it's important to pass this legislation, and I hope that the public understands that it is. It's a big money-maker for the state and I think it's just important to preserve our culture," Sen. LaFleur said.



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