Thursday, August 16, 2007

Le Forum - Published by Le Centre Franco-Americain

Portland Press Herald
August 16, 2007
By Juliana L'Heureux

Le Forum's summer edition is packed with 55 pages of cultural information about Franco-Americans and Acadians. If you're fortunate enough to subscribe, the latest edition is already in your mailbox.

Published by Le Centre Franco-Amricain, Universit du Maine, in Orono, the magazine-style quarterly newspaper is sent to 4,500 subscribers, mostly Franco-Americans, living in the United States.

"Stories in Le Forum are about current cultural news. I keep a copy in our family's reading basket for several months, until the next issue comes out," says Rita Dube, executive director of the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston. "There's something interesting to read on every page."

Articles submitted for publication are written in French or English, depending on the primary language of the writer. "L't" (the summer) edition of Le Forum includes Franco-American articles from contributors living in all the New England states and includes subjects like books (livres), poetry (posie), art, music (musique), genealogy (gnalogie), some local current events and, mais oui, food.

Writer Denise Rajotte Larson wrote several informative articles about colonial Quebec. She reports on the favorite first names given to children of the colonial era French who settled in Quebec during the 1600s. She explains, "When it came time to name the babies born in New France, the parents kept to tradition and used names that were popular in their family and in France at that time."

Not surprising, "Marie" was the most popular French-Canadian girl's name, writes Larson. There was a common practice of honoring the Holy Family, and the name "Joseph" was the most popular name for baby boys. These religion-related names are also popular Franco-American middle names. After paying tribute to the Holy Family, the second most popular girls name was Louise. For boys, Jean (honoring Saint John the Baptist) was the second-most popular name.

French families, who often raised more than a dozen children, could easily use up nearly all the popular first names. Larson's article also lists the surnames of the first residents of Quebec who lived in the city during the lifetime of its founder, Samuel de Champlain.

In the article, "Companions of Champlain: Founding Families of Quebec, 1608-1635," Larson writes in English about the particular circumstances that drove the first French settlers to leave France and follow Champlain on his mission to settle New France.

For the most part, writes Larson, the first French settlers were intent on supervising a trading post for the Company of New France, with the purpose of shipping native animal pelts to Europe. In exchange, the ports in France were obliged to send certain foodstuffs and living supplies back to the Quebec settlers.

In settling New France, she concludes, the Quebec-French pioneers set a new culture in motion, one less formal than the European social structure they left behind. Among several genealogy articles, one is also a history lesson. A genealogy article by Charles Francis, a retired Maine teacher now living in Belleisle, Nova Scotia, describes Acadian history and the story of the Acadians arrival in northern Maine, beginning in June 1785, after the 1755 British deportation.

About 1.5 million Acadians live throughout the world, with the largest population center being in Louisiana, reports Francis. They're descendents of the 10,000 Acadians brutally ousted from their Acadie homeland and exported by the British.

Information about how to support or subscribe to Le Forum is available from Centre Franco-Amricain, Orono, Maine 04469-5719; or by e-mail to Yvon Labbe
Juliana L'Heureux can be contacted at:

Thursday, August 09, 2007

SOIREE CANADIENNE - Lewiston - August 24th - 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m

A SOIREE CANADIENNE will be held at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston on August 24th - 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be great food and good old toe tapping music. On va chanter, on va dancer, on va rigoler et sa va sauter.

La Famille Leblanc and other popular French singers will be entertaining us and a full course meal will be served. The price is $8.00 seniors and $10.00 adults. Mark your calendars and make your reservations by calling 689-2000.
Rita Dube
Franco-American Heritage Center

Celebrating Kerouac in French and English - September 6, 2007

Celebrating Kerouac in French and English
Montreal Jazz Ensemble to Perform in Lowell, Mass.

Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 7 pm

A Concert with Normand Guilbeault & Friends at the McDonough Arts Magnet School Theater, 40 Paige Street in Lowell. French-Canadian jazz bassist Norman Guilbeault sets Kerouac's text to music. This show has been presented at the Montreal Literary Festival and other venues.
Paul Marion
Office of Outreach
Southwick Hall, 250
University of Massachusetts Lowell
One University Avenue
Lowell, MA 01854
Tel: 978 934 3107
Fax: 978 934 4044

York Neighbors: On the road to Lowell, Mass., Kerouac exhibit

Portland Press Herald
August 9, 2007
By Juliana L'Heureux

Jack Kerouac's spirit is back at home in Lowell, Mass., with the national touring scroll exhibit of his "On the Road" manuscript.

It's worth the drive down Route 495, to see historic Lowell and witness this antique classic piece of American literature, up- close and Kerouac-personal.

Through Sept. 14 (now October 14), Kerouac's original hand-typed scroll is on exhibit in his hometown, at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum.

Kerouac was born on March 19, 1922, as Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac, in Lowell, to French-Canadian parents, Leo-Alcide Kerouac and Gabrielle-Ange Levesque, natives of Quebec.

"On the Road" describes the advent of the 1950's "beat" generation. As an educational exhibit, the museum includes information about Kerouac's life as well as audio of the writer reading from his work when he was a late-night guest on the Jack Parr show.

Kerouac's writing is legendary for its colorful metaphors and spontaneity. Because of his reputation, Kerouac is also responsible for bringing literary recognition to his Franco- American roots in Lowell. Kerouac's mother worked in the city's historic mills complex where the scroll is exhibited.

"Kerouac made Lowell sacred by his attention to it," wrote his friend, Allen Ginsberg.

"This is an excellent place to host the Kerouac scroll," said Sue Andrews, who works at Lowell's museum. She's worked in Lowell for 12 of her 25 years as a U.S. National Park Service employee. "We've combined the scroll with an exhibit featuring Jack Kerouac's life. Traffic through the exhibit comes from the four corners of the world. People recently came from Danish television."

Kerouac's scroll portrays inspired writing. He simply sat down with a manual black-keyed Royal typewriter in April, 1951, and wrote continuous prose with minimal corrections, until his adventurous travel narrative was ready to take to a publisher. Revisions were eventually made to the novel, published in 1957.

At the time he wrote "On the Road," he was living with his second wife, Joan Haverty, in an apartment at 454 West Twentieth St. in Manhattan. Kerouac called the "On The Road" manuscript "the roll." The roll is displayed under a protected case in the center of the exhibition room at the museum, adjacent to Boarding House Park in Lowell's National Historic Park district.

Kerouac fans will appreciate his hand-typed text as testimony to his spontaneous creativity. His writing is a sharp contrast to the rewrites and revisions we routinely hear about from novelists. Visitors even see two paintings by the writer, included in the exhibit.

An authentic antique Royal typewriter is an interactive piece of the Boott Cotton Mills Museum exhibit, where visitors are encouraged to type a brief message to Kerouac, some of which are tacked to a bulletin board.

Kerouac was fond of talking about his roots in Lowell and about his French heritage. He spoke French with a distinct Franco- American accent, or "joual." He died in 1968 and is buried in Lowell.

Despite the sometimes nomadic image conjured up as a father of the beat generation, Kerouac actually intended this social label to be a literary contraction for the word "beautiful."

In September, the original unedited version of "On the Road," just as it was written on the scroll, will be available in book form for the first time, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the novel's publication.
Juliana L'Heureux can be contacted at: