La Veillée, a weekly news magazine highlighting French language and culture in Louisiana, returns to the airwaves Thursday night. The program is a partnership between Louisiana Public Broadcasting and Télé-Louisiane.
“La Veillée is like the porch hang,” said Lafayette’s Drake LeBlanc, co-host of the show and co-Founder of Télé-Louisiane. “You sit on the porch with your neighbors and you’re talking about what’s going on, and maybe just getting caught up.”
LeBlanc and his team, including co-host Caitlin Orgeron, were at LPB’s studios in Baton Rouge this week to tape studio portions of La Veillée.
“We really enjoyed doing the first eight episodes,” said Orgeron. “We had this excellent partnership with LPB to do a full 16 episodes, half in the fall and half in the spring. We’ve been brainstorming this second half for the entire time we’ve been gone.”
The spring premiere of La Veillée features KRVS public radio in Lafayette. Other episodes explore Louisiana’s Creole language, French immersion school programs, and a profile on the Isleño community in St. Bernard parish.
“We’re going to cover as much ground as possible and keep it fresh and exciting for everybody,” said LeBlanc.
La Veillée is made possible through the partnership with LPB, but also financial support from the state legislature.
“We are so grateful for the support we’ve received from the state legislature. There is no way we would have been able to do this program without it,” said LPB executive producer Linda Midgett. “We’ve been very pleased with the response. I think people have loved seeing the French language on the air. It’s something that’s so unique to Louisiana you don’t see this anywhere else.”
Orgeron says La Veillée is for everyone, even those who don’t speak French.
“The subtitles really lend themselves to non-native French speakers to be able to understand what’s going on and maybe even walk away knowing a little bit more French than what they knew before,” she said.
From producers and photographers, to hosts and the production team at LPB, LeBlanc estimates each episode takes 10 people to put on the air.
“It’s always so enlightening and it’s awesome,” said LeBlanc. “It makes me want to get up and work every day!”
The spring season of La Veillée premieres Thursday, March 16 at 7:45pm on LPB’s statewide network. The program will be available for on-demand streaming, and on LPB’s YouTube channel.