Ascension Parish community photo gallery for Sept. 4, 2014 _lowres

Photo provided by Debi Graham -- Members of the Gonzales delegation traveling to France in September include, first row from left, Sharon Girouard, Ronnie Comeaux, Karen Hatcher, Carol Frederic and Von de Leigh Hatcher; second row, Drena Ourso, John Hebert, Tina Prejean, Dane Girouard, Michelle Reine, Robert Reine, Pat Schexnaydre and Medley Zeiglar; and third row Ed Prejean, Charles Hatcher and Clement Templet .

The Gonzales Committee on Cultural Affairs is gearing up for its biannual visit to Gonzales’ sister city, Meylan, France.

Eighteen Gonzales-area residents plan to make the trip Sept. 26 through Oct. 5, including the 2014 Jambalaya Festival Champion Robert “Hoss” Reine and the 2013 Jambalaya Festival Queen Stevi Girouard.

During the trip, members of the Gonzales delegation will stay with families from the sister city group in Meylan.

For some of the Gonzales delegation, this will be their first experience with the sister city cultural exchange. Two members of this delegation, John Hebert and Carol Ann Frederic, were part of the first delegation from Gonzales to visit Meylan more than 25 years ago.

“This will be my fifth trip with the group,” Frederic said. “You really get to experience their culture because you live with a French family and experience their day-to-day living.”

Frederic said that even though she doesn’t speak French, she has never encountered much of a language barrier in communicating with members of the French group.

“They are very appreciative if you try to learn some phrases in their language, but most of them speak at least a little English,” she said. “And of course, we talk with our hands and use a lot of body language.”

Von de Leigh Hatcher, a member of the Gonzales delegation who speaks fluent French, will be writing an online journal about the trip for The Advocate.