AUGUSTA, ME- Franco-American Day at the State Capitol was a cultural success.
On Thursday, May 16, 2019, the Maine Legislature held a joint session in the House of Representatives to recognize the Franco-American heritage evident throughout the state. Eleven citizens were inducted into the Franco-American Hall of Fame during formal legislative ceremonies. This special recognition for and about Franco-Americans marked the seventeenth occasion when Franco-American Day at the State Capitol has been celebrated.
Listed here are the 2019 Hall of Fame inductees:
Dolard Gendron of Androscoggin County
Caroline Dubois of Aroostook County
Robert Lacasse of Kennebec County
Alphonse Poulin of Kennebec County
Karen Rancourt-Thomas of Kennebec County
Roger Hurtubise of York County
Susan Poulin of York County
Armand E. Cote- posthumous
Raymond Gagnon – posthumous
Priscilla Gendron – posthumous
Reverend Father Rudolph J. Leveille- posthumous
Awards were presented to the inductees in a Hall of Flags ceremony following the joint legislative recognition session. A joint session of the legislature was led by Senator Mark Lawrence of York County and Rep. John Martin of Eagle Lake. Presentations of the awards were given by Senator Susan Deschambault and Representative John Martin.
Le français était la langue du jour! In fact, the diversity of French language accents heard in the State House conversations were interesting to listen to; because, they were examples about the cultural diversity within the French speaking communities.
Counsel General of France Armand Mentré recognized and complimented the Maine Legislature for leading the Franco-American Day ceremonies in French and English.
“I appreciate the diversity of accents being heard today,” he said. “French is a universal language”.
In fact, the Maine State Capitol was filled with people who were speaking French and interested in learning more about the language. Indeed, the occasion was a bilingual French and English celebration. Enthusiastic cultural pride was evident. Franco-Americans shared their stories with the public and among each other, as though all were attending a family reunion.
In the Hall of Flags, cultural exhibits were hosted by Le Club Calumet and the Biddeford Cultural and Heritage Center. A delicious “ployes” cooking exhibit was hosted by Rep. Matthew Pouliot’s family, his wife Heather Pouliot and his Memere Lorraine Pouliot, of Augusta.
Ployes are delicious Acadian buckwheat pancakes. They are served with offerings of butter, brown sugar, Maple syrup or molasses. Ployes are often served at local events and fairs.
For information about the Biddeford Cultural & Heritage Center check this website: www.biddefordculturalandheritagecenter.org.
C’etait bonne journee franco-American!