Congrès Mondial Acadien plans move forward

The CMA is coming, and we don’t mean the Country Music Awards.

Congrès Mondial Acadien is an international cultural event that takes place every five years as more than 50,000 Francophones converge from around the world. Begun 20 years ago in New Brunswick, the Congrès consists of reunions, conferences and concerts and will take place Aug. 8-24 in parts of New Brunswick, Maine and Quebec.

In addition, plans include special theme days and pavilions including Canadian Francophone Day, France Day, New Brunswick Day, Maine Day and Louisiana Day. A genealogy information pavilion will be hosted by Nova Scotia and the Genealogy Society of Grand Falls, New Brunswick.

The Louisiana Pavilion will open Aug. 14 at Expo Monde in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, with Louisiana Day officially held on Aug. 18, sponsored and hosted by the Louisiana Office of Tourism and Louisiane-Acadie, Inc. The intent is to showcase the pride and passion of South Louisiana’s Acadian community and to strengthen the link between Canada, France and Louisiana.

“We want to make Acadians all over the world aware, and especially those from Louisiana,” said Randy Menard, president of Louisiane-Acadie, Inc, a non-profit organization devoted to the renewal and preservation of Acadian heritage. Menard, who will be attending the convention for a week beginning Aug. 13, says one aim of the Congrès is to publicize the culture and what South Louisiana has to share with the world in terms of history and tourism.

“The most exciting thing is going to meet cousins we’ve never met from the same bloodline,” said Menard. “We still have relatives in Canada and France because families were split. … They look like us.”

Lafayette’s Brenda Comeaux Trahan is coordinating Louisiana Day.

“Louisiana Day 2014 will bring together the talent, spirit and joie de vie of the Cajuns, inviting all to play, enjoy and learn from our unique Louisiana flavor,” she said.

In addition to lectures, storytelling, poetry readings, films, art, music and cuisine, musician and artist Zachary Richard is scheduled for the poet’s roundtable and to promote his book, “Histoire des Acadiennes et des Acadiens de la Louisiane.”

The day will end with a jam session to which attendees are invited to bring their instruments.

At least 100 Acadian family names are scheduled to participate in reunions hosted by organizers from Canada, Maine and the U.S., which will be held in one of three regions: Maine, Quebec and New Brunswick. This includes Comeauxs, who will have their family reunion on Aug. 16 in Grand Island, Maine, with the chance for a road trip to beautiful Acadian-friendly St. John Valley.

According to Léo-Paul Charest, executive director of the Congrès, Canada is prepared and has a message Acadians everywhere understand, no matter what their locale.

“The Congrès Mondial Acadien 2014 is ready to entertain visitors from around the world. We have reached (out) to Acadians and their friends from Louisiana, New England and other American states to join this event. Our program is incredible and our people are even more incredible,” Charest said. “Let us show you a good time.”

For complete details and schedule of events, go to cma2014.com/en/.