I attended the opening reception at the Belgian Embassy where I was delighted to meet the francophone contingency from Lafayette, Louisiana, a place where I have deep roots (on my mother's side - another blogpost about that later). The next week, I spent an evening listening to Hubert Haddad, franco-tunisian writer, at a literary salon where he was interviewed by Sarah Diligenti-Pickup. Unfortunately, I missed the one with Yannick Lahens, from Haïti. A few days later, I was thrilled to experience a live music concert by Les Nubians, those two Grammy nominated international singers and recording artists who just happen to be sisters.
It was, however, the evening of La Nuit du conte that I did not want to miss. Four storytellers both captivated and enraptured the audience at La Maison Française: Mimi Barthélémy with stories from the West Indies, Bienvenu Bokian from West Africa, Myriame El Yamani from Acadia, Quebec, and Maghreb, and Barry Jean Ancelet from Louisiana. It was the Louisiana storyteller who caught my attention. I wanted to hear my compatriot tell folktales in French. I wondered if they would be the same I had heard growing up in Louisiana. His voice, his tone, and the stories, tales, and legends from the Cajun world all brought me back to where I come from.
I haven't lived in Louisiana for over 35 years, but I feel closer to it now that I ever have. Vive la francophonie!