Pictures of the Franco-American Day in the Maine State Capitol

AUGUSTA, ME-  Franco-American Day at the State Capitol was a cultural success.

Heather Pouliot ployes

Heather Pouliot prepared Acadian buckwheat pancakes called ployes. They were a delicious success served in the State Capitol Hall of Flags.

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

Heather Pouliot and Lorraine Pouliot

Heather Pouliot (left) with Lorraine Pouliot of Augusta, prepared ployes to serve in the State Capitol Hall of Flags during Franco-American Day.

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”.

Franco-American Day in the Augusta State House May 16 2019

Guests attending the Franco-American Day in the Maine State Capitol were (left) Hon. Rep. Margaret Craven, of Lewiston, Rachel Desgrosseilliers, executive director of the Museum L-A, in Lewiston and the Consul General of France in Boston, Armand Mentré.

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.

Le grand derangement plaque and Le Club Calumet

Le Club Calumet in Augusta was among the Franco-American exhibitors. Lisa L. Newell is president, pictured with a plaque, engraved with the surnames of the Acadians who were deported during the 1755 Acadian expulsion, a terrible period in North American history known as “le grand derangement”. Information about Le Club Calumet is available at this website: www.calumetclub.com.

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.

Alphones Poulin and Susan Poulin are very distant cousins who have a common first immigrant ancestor.

Among the inductees recognized in the Franco-American Hall of Fame were Alphonse Poulin of Kennebec County and Susan Poulin of York County. Although they are not directly related to one another, they learned, at the ceremonies, that they share the same first immigrant ancestor, who arrived in Quebec in the early 17th century.  Franco-American cultural pride was evident in the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.

Biddeford Cultural and Heritage Center

Biddeford Cultural and Heritage Center was among the Franco-American Day exhibitors. Pictured with Severin Beliveau, the Honorary French Consul to Maine with Diane P. Cyr of Biddeford and Nicole Morin-Scribner.

For information about the Biddeford Cultural & Heritage Center check this website: www.biddefordculturalandheritagecenter.org.

C’etait bonne journee franco-American!

Juliana L'Heureux

About Juliana L'Heureux

Juliana L’Heureux is a free lance writer who publishes news, blogs and articles about Franco-Americans and the French culture. She has written about the culture in weekly and bi-weekly articles, for the past 27 years.