Maine’s 16 counties all include Franco-Americans in the self report U.S. Community Census data. This information was presented in 2012, to the Maine Legislative Task Force on Franco-Americans.
Overall, Maine’s population includes an average of 30 percent who self report as Franco-Americans, meaning their ancestry is traced directly to French-Canada or they share this heritage in their immediate families.
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.
In 2011, she was honored to be appointed to serve on Maine’s Task Force on Franco-Americans, co-chaired by Senator Thomas Martin and Rep. Kenneth W. Fredette.
It’s a tremendous honor to blog about Maine’s Franco-Americans in the Bangor Daily News, she says, because the stories are of local and national interest. Franco-Americans are involved in virtually every layer of Maine life. Stories include history, culture, French language (with its diverse dialects and accents), religion, sports heroes, folk art, literature, politics and travel. These topics are incorporated into current stories, describing how Franco-Americans are actively contributing to Maine’s quality of life.
As a resident of Topsham, ME, she and her husband Richard are avid gardeners, voracious readers and world travelers. Richard grew up in Sanford, ME. “My husband carries the pedigree,” she says. “He grew up in a large family who spoke French at home and in parochial school, before he learned English.” After a career in the U.S. Navy, they moved to Sanford to raise their family.
Later, they moved to Brunswick and Tophsam, where Juliana worked as a professional nurse administrator in home health care and hospice.
As a native of Maryland, Juliana grew up with a deep appreciation for the French culture, precisely because of her home state’s proximity to the history of the American Revolution. “We grew up knowing how our American independence was largely attributed to the Franco-American alliance with George Washington,” she says.
Unfortunately, pride in the culture is under reported because, in the past, the French-Canadian immigration experience and Franco-Americans have experienced serious discrimination.
Writing about the pride Franco-Americans share in our nation’s history and in Maine’s culture are important topics. “There is 400 years of French history in Maine to be proud of and I have the pleasant opportunity to showcase the culture through writing.”
A blog about Franco-American news and culture is an interactive communication. Therefore, she welcomes feedback and suggestions from readers. “I’ve learned, over the past 27 years, how every reader has a special Franco-American story to share and I’m excited to report, on behalf of all, who would like to contribute toward building the awareness about Franco-Americans, through this blog.”
Nous raconter nos histories ici. (We tell our stories here.) Merci.