I was reminded recently by attorney and bastion of French culture Warren Perrin that it wasn’t so long ago Texas state Rep. Dennis Bonnen compared Hurricane Katrina evacuees to refugees from Central America. The Lone Star lawmaker decried the language burdens placed upon society by the linguistically diverse, and like-minded people are asking anew for any arrival to please habla the King’s English. (That Texanese is practically a language of its own is another column.)

Once more, in the interest of parley and peace-keeping, please consider the following true story:

In a fit of pique that same weekend, I set out to unfriend several people on social media — not my finest hour — when my Facebook page suddenly turned to Spanish. I don’t know how to Facebook under the best of circumstances, and my page becoming a página was not something I ever envisioned. Stunned, I looked over my new language and realized I didn’t know enough foreign tech terms to navigate the situation. Configuraciónes didn’t yield much, and as my emergencia and panic mounted, I texted a Spanish-speaking friend. “Is there anything that says ‘ajustes’”? He asked. No. Lenguajes? No. Idiomas? No — wait, yes, there was, but the powers that be wouldn’t let me salvar (that’s save; I was starting to get good.) Another attempt succeeded and then as mysteriously as it started, it was over. Thirty-nine texts later, English prevailed. 

The experience taught me two things. One, those who make their way to the U.S. not knowing the language are beyond brave. I couldn’t make my way around Facebook for five minutes without knowing theirs. Second, that God just wants us all to get along.

He particularly doesn’t like it when we unfriend people.


Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at pgannon@theadvocate.com.

International reception held

The Lafayette Consolidated Government welcomed incoming University of Louisiana at Lafayette international students with a reception at City Hall. The students enjoyed an orientation and warm welcome from Mayor Joel Robideaux in addition to a buffet decorated with a variety of globes. Getting acquainted with our fair city were Louis Marcotte and Maxence D’Heilly from France and Carla Bonnemann and Kim Neidermann, of Germany. Bienvenu and willkommen.

Let it Be

The Spirit of Faith Church held a media brunch celebrating its fifth anniversary and promoting community in a new light. “Our church represents love, leading and lifting people into God’s purpose for their lives,” said Terrell Brown. A presentation was prepared for media guests before brunch and clever centerpieces of 45 records, magazine scrolls and newsprint table runners graced the seating. “It’s important for us to do community projects,” said lead Pastor Tracie Millard. “We purposefully seek to have a diverse membership, and we have to do things on purpose.” The nondenominational church welcomes all who seek wisdom and diversity also.

Justice League

The Lafayette Volunteer Lawyers hosted their annual bowling tournament at Lafayette Lanes, all to the theme of “Game Day.” Cyd Anderson welcomed and directed the 36 teams registered to play, not the least of which was O’Pry, Neuner Pate, Galloway Johnson and Goforth & Lilly. Team spirit was high, particularly among roller derby dames Angelle Boudreaux, Wendy St. Andre and Kelly Comeaux, competing against Sports Illustrated coverboy Stewart Breaux. “That’s all we got,” said Breaux. “We don’t have any bowling skills.” The Lafayette Volunteer Lawyers offer their genuine legal skills free of charge to assist the homeless, victims of domestic abuse and those representing themselves in court.

Medicine Woman

This was fabulous, our new favorite event. Women in Medicine met for socializing and a well-deserved luxury lunch at Ruffino’s. “We don’t know each other, we all work at different places in different specialties,” said Dr. Deiadra "Dee" Garrett. “Here we get to meet face-to-face instead of on the phone.” Sponsored in part by Gachassin Law Firm, doctors, nurse practitioners and the medically-affiliated were treated to Champagne, redfish beignets, artichoke truffles and fried lasagna bites, and that was just the beginning. On call were Drs. Elizabeth McBurney, Linda Lipstate, Cher Aymond, Laura Rogers, Julia Romero, Amy Zeringue, Maria Doucet, pediatric neurosurgeon extraordinaire Ann Flannery and trauma surgeon Ethel Smith. By the way, Adele Elise Designs kimonos did a brisk business, including Fête.

Ici on Parle Français

LSU law professor Alain Levasseur took that long walk to the podium to receive the John "T Jean" Hernandez II Louisiana State Bar Association Francophone Section Award. Levasseur was singled out for his lifetime of work promoting civil law both in Louisiana and internationally.