The mission of Louisiane-Acadie, a nonprofit umbrella organization that represents Acadians/Cajuns in Louisiana, is to encourage networking and increased connections between Louisiana organizations in order to promote a united voice to better connect with all Acadian communities worldwide.

With these goals in mind, we notice that the Acadian/Cajun culture is at a crucial moment. The unique identity of the Acadian ethnic group has endured many threats to extinguish it.

With the passage of our older generation and the migration of the Acadians who settled along the Gulf Coast to higher grounds because of coastal erosion, we can see a gradual loss of our native French language and culture.

The time has come to gather to uphold our language and culture and ensure our existence in the future, as it is today.

In October we will host Grand Réveil Acadien (Great Acadian Awakening). Activities will begin in New Orleans on Oct. 7-8, then Houma on Oct. 9-10 and next Lake Charles on Oct 11-12. The last four days will be in Lafayette, with the closing on Oct. 16 at the Festivals Acadians et Créoles.

We want to educate, inspire and mobilize Acadians and friends, especially our youth, to participate in the continued expression of the native French language, culture and heritage and develop ways to increase the quality of life.

One of Louisiana’s greatest natural resources is the Acadian community. The Acadians, through their music, food and joie de vivre, are the wealth of the tourism industry.

Businesses from New Orleans to Lake Charles stock their shelves with Cajun products because they know that’s what tourists want.

Dana Kress, professor of French at Centenary College in Shreveport, states, “Just as the state can lose its $2 billion fishing industry in the event of a major calamity in the Gulf, just as our coastal cities and towns can awaken to devastation as a result of hurricanes, so, too, can we lose our tourist industry if we fail to preserve and protect Louisiana’s unique culture and linguistic heritage.”

It is time for Louisiana to awaken. We cannot afford to lose one of our most important and precious natural resources. We seek support from our government, corporations, business owners and individuals, including our northern cousins and friends. We want to evaluate the situation, seek advice and help in generating a renewed passion for our native French language, heritage and culture.

Join us in October for an educational, motivational, inspiring and entertaining 10-day gathering in the part of south Louisiana known as Acadiana.

Ray Trahan, president

Louisiane-Acadie Inc.

Lafayette