Please verify

Watch LIVE

This Southern State Could Get Bilingual Road Signs — The Proposed Second Language Might Surprise You


No, it's not Spanish.

In a bid to preserve a unique bit of culture, Louisiana legislators have passed a bill that would enable local jurisdictions to post official road signs in two languages: English and "Louisiana French."

The bill's author, Democratic representative Stephen Ortego, told the AFP that the bill is meant to protect the legacy of the French settlers who had a profound impact on Louisiana's history -- and whose language was suppressed by an Anglophone majority.

"My grandparents used to speak French in the schoolyard, hidden behind trees, because they didn't want the teachers to hear," Ortego said, in French. "But we are at a moment where it's becoming a right for children to have a bilingual education."

Ortego said the bill's inspiration came from a trip he took to New Brunswick, Canada, where roadsigns are in French and English.

New Brunswick lies in the eastern part of Canada that was settled by the French and is sometimes called Acadia; Ortego represents part of a large swathe of Louisiana known as Acadiana, so named for the Acadian settlers who moved from Great White North to the bayou in the 18th century.

Ortego found the connection fitting, saying, "Our Acadian cousins in New Brunswick were the model for this legislation."

The bill would not mandate bilingual signage statewide, but rather allows each parish -- Louisiana's equivalent of a county -- to opt into a bilingual signage program.

The bill awaits a signature on the desk of Republican governor Bobby Jindal.

Jindal has previously vetoed a similar bill on the grounds that it allowed for more languages than just French and English, the AFP reported; it's unclear whether the latest bill, limited to English and "Louisiana French," will pass muster.

The governor's office did not respond to a request for comment from TheBlaze on Wednesday.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

Most recent
All Articles