katc does french weather

Elise, crabwalk.com’s official ambassador to the wild and woolly world of TV news, points out this tale of Cajun revitalization:
LAFAYETTE, La. — It’s not unusual to hear Cajun French spoken in restaurants and shops, or at local gatherings. But now, residents can hear the language on their nightly news, too.
KATC-TV has begun airing a summary of its weather forecast in Cajun French at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. each weeknight…
“People still aren’t using it as much as they should be, but if we want our children to speak French, this is what we have to do,” [Lucille Briscoe, who reads the French weather] said. “We have to keep speaking it and practicing.”

It’s a nice blow for the language, but it’s also a response to market forces — there are still a lot of old folks around who don’t speak English. (My great-grandmother died in 1988 and didn’t speak a word of it.)
One thing the article doesn’t mention: KATC isn’t the first local station to pursue French-speaking viewers. For over 40 years, most early-bird Cajuns have started the day with Passe Partout, the morning show on KLFY. While I doubt there’s as much French content as there used to be, they do still broadcast a Catholic rosary in French at 5 a.m. and do the news in French at 5:30.
When I was younger, Passe Partout used to feature a lot of live Cajun music — no idea if they still do. Jim Olivier became a minor local legend for his long stint on Passe Partout; Bob Moore, who also runs Acadian Village, handles the Francophone duties now.
Bonus KATC knowledge: The station is generally credited with inventing the term “Acadiana” to describe Cajun country.

One thought on “katc does french weather”

  1. Wow, that article is getting forwarded to my dad. His recently-deceased father (my grandfather) was born in Gueydan and spoke French as his first language. When he moved to New Orleans and started his own family, he stopped speaking it; but in his eighties he started it up again, teaching himself to read and write the French he hadn’t spoken in years.
    Being raised bilingual is such a gift — and, by far, the easiest way to pick up a second language — that I regret not having that experience.

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