Awakening a Dormant Culture: Franco-American Writers and Composers

By Juliana L’Heureux

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Until very recently, a literary void created by generations of cultural neglect has permitted others to define French-American history of New England.

Today, Franco-Americans are assimilating into 21st century New England establishment without leaving much of a cultural footprint of their own. Sadly, the only evidence this French speaking culture leaves behind are the miles of stoic brick and mortar buildings evident in almost every industrial New England town or city. These unlikely structural memorials are the equivalent of industrial "caves", repositories where hundreds of thousands of French speaking mill workers from Canada worked to create affluence for New England textile moguls.

Between the time Samuel de Champlain (1567-1635) wrote his exceptional maps, letters and journals from New France and today, only handful of writers have successfully described the Franco-American experience. Not surprising, most people today don't know what a Franco-American is or even that this culture exists.

Although French Jesuit missionaries, like Father Sebastian Rale (1652-1724) wrote zealously about their extraordinary experiences, even these factual accounts were re-invented by the American writer Francis Parkman (1823-1893), author of The Jesuits in North America, and other books. Some historians, like Maine's Barry Rodrigue, claim Parkman was anti-French and shouldn't be considered a resource or authority on North American French history, at all.

Modern information technology, especially the Internet, now allows modern Franco-American writers to accelerate efforts to regain control over a disappearing heritage. Thankfully, the cultural traditions and stories of the past are fresh enough to transcribe faithfully through poetry, fiction, historic preservation, photography, music and creative prose of all kinds.

Jacques L'Heureux has created an important information link for these modern Franco-American writers. Through our collective work, Franco-American writers can be viewed together as one formidable force. Our work helps generations who experienced eroding ethnic pride caused by the dimming effects of time and cultural assimilation. Literary praise and thanks are due to all who make this website a reality. Special thanks to Jacques L'Heureux who continually contributes his love of creative technology for our benefit, even using photographs to enhance our individual self-image.

For the past we want to remember and for the legacy we want to create through our talents, "Ensemble, un grand merci!".

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Copyright 2002 - Juliana L'Heureux