CAP-PELÉ, New Brunswick — Congrès Mondial Acadien is about forming and renewing friendships, Claudette Theriault, president of the 2019 Congrès, said Friday.

Leaders and residents of Broussard and Cap-Pelé certainly became friends over the past week as more than 50 people from the Acadiana area called Cap-Pelé home. That city and Broussard on Friday renewed their twinning status from 1984 that had grown dormant.

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Broussard, La., Mayor Ray Bourque, left, and Cap-Pele', New Brunswick Mayor Serge Leger discuss a painting presented by Broussard to Cap-Pele' in 1979. The painting is by Mildred Knight. Aug. 23, 2019. CLAIRE TAYLOR

"We share a lot more than our heritage. We're the same," New Brunswick Vice Premier Robert Gauvin said during a ceremony Friday.

Broussard Mayor Ray Bourque said it was overwhelming and incredible to represent in Cap-Pelé his city, along with City Council members Jeff Delahoussaye, Ray Gary, Angel Racca and Jesse Regan. The group, he said, learned about their ancestors' history and sacrifices, as well as opportunities for the cities to work together to benefit both economically.

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Broussard Mayor Ray Bourque (in red) presents Cap-Pele', New Brunswick, Mayor Serge Leger with a proclamation Aug. 23, 2019, during Congres' Mondial Acadien in Cap-Pele'. Also shown are Broussard COO Jeremy Hidalgo and Broussard City Council members.

Cap-Pelé Mayor Serge Leger said he hopes to see the two cities' relationship grow with an exchange of commercial products and tourists. His city, Leger said, has a fishing industry, 40 cottages on a beautiful beach and ice hockey to offer visitors.

"Your summer is too warm to stay there," he said, "And our winter is too cold to stay here."

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Acadiana artist Dina Denbo painted two hard hats to commemorate Congres' Mondial Acadien 2019 and the renewed friendship between the cities of Broussard, La., and Cap-Pele', New Brunswick. Aug. 23, 2019. CLAIRE TAYLOR

Bourque invited Leger and his council to Louisiana from Oct. 3-11, 2020, for Grand Réveil Acadien, a celebration of Acadians and Cajuns held every five years, the year after Congrès Mondial. Bourque said he wants the opportunity to return the hospitality Cap-Pelé showed Broussard visitors this week.

"We're the same blood," Leger said after the ceremony. "I went to Louisiana and felt like I was home."

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Also on Friday, Youngsville Councilman Gary Williams met with Mayor Jean Hebert, of Cocagne, New Brunswick, to open discussions about the two cities possibly twinning.

Williams invited the mayor to Louisiana for Grand Réveil Acadien to further discussions about twinning.

Four French cities, including Morlaix, and two Louisiana cities, including Youngsville, are interested in twinning with Cocagne, Hebert said.

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Youngsville City Councilman Gary Williams, right, met Aug. 23, 2019, with Jean Hebert, center, mayor of Cocagne, New Brunswick, Canada, to discuss the two cities twinning. Robert Unterburger, chairman of the Youngsville Chamber of Commerce, also attended.

Cocagne and Châtellerault, France, had a twinning agreement in 1984, Hebert said, where students from each city visited the other to study, but that faded away in the past 10 years. Châtellerault officials wanted the Cocagne mayor and council to sign a twinning agreement Thursday evening, he said.

Joseph Goguen, one of the first families to settle in what is now Cocagne, Hebert said, was from Morlaix. Other founding families of Cocagne were Bourque, Arceneaux and Hebert.

Hebert said his city has limited funds, so he and the council have to discuss what twinning with any city would entail financially.

Other Louisiana cities and their twin cities in New Brunswick include:

  • Abbeville and Tracadie-Sheila
  • Breaux Bridge and Shediac
  • Carencro and Dieppe
  • Erath and Bertrand
  • Eunice and Caraquet
  • Lafayette and Moncton
  • Scott and Memramcook
  • St. Martinville and Bouctouche
  • Thibodaux and Shippagan.

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Email Claire Taylor at ctaylor@theadvocate.com.