LAFAYETTE — Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne made a stop Thursday to decry Gov. Bobby Jindal’s decision to veto $100,000 in funding for a group that supports French immersion school programs and promotes ties with French-speaking countries.
The money accounts for nearly 40 percent of the $257,000 annual budget for the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana.
The agency falls under Dardenne’s office.
“It was unexpected, and it was really unfortunate and unnecessary,” Dardenne said of the veto.
He was joined at a Thursday news conference at CODOFIL’s office by state Reps. Jack Montoucet, D-Crowley; Vincent Pierre, D-Lafayette; Stephen Ortego, D-Carencro; and Mike Huval, R-Breaux Bridge.
Dardenne said the cut to CODOFIL, which he said was not discussed with him beforehand, is “illogical” considering the role Louisiana’s French culture plays in tourism.
“It simply makes sense to invest in Louisiana’s unique status as a Francophone state,” he said.
Dardenne said his office is pursuing federal grants to fill CODOFIL’s $100,000 budget hole.
Ortego said that in addition to efforts to secure grant funding, a fundraising campaign has been launched seeking private donations to support CODOFIL’s work.
The campaign has been dubbed “100,000 Cajuns and Creoles.”
“We’ll shoot for $100,000 and hopefully get half a million,” Montoucet said.
CODOFIL oversees a number of programs to nurture the French language in Louisiana and to promote cultural and business ties with other French-speaking countries.
“We recognize the importance of developing that relationship from a tourism and economic development standpoint,” Dardenne said.
The $100,000 that was vetoed from CODOFIL’s budget was used mainly for recruiting and training French teachers, according to CODOFIL Executive Director Joseph Dunn.
Jindal wrote in his veto message that CODOFIL was “adequately funded.”
His office did not respond to a request on Thursday for further comment.
CODOFIL began in 1968 amid a resurgence of interest in preserving French culture in Louisiana.
The group has been actively involved in helping develop French-language immersion programs in the public school system.
For more information on the fundraising campaign for CODOFIL, visit