Welcome address

Bienvenue en Louisiane!

 

On behalf of the great State of Louisiana and the wonderful people who call it home, I want to extend our warmest greetings and welcome those from near and far to Festival International de Louisiane, here in Lafayette, Louisiana. I encourage you to make yourself right at home for the five days of Festival, you’re a part of our family.

 

In what seems like just a blink of an eye, Festival offers the perfect opportunity for you to experience the very best of Louisiana’s unique culture. Great music, delicious food and beautiful art will allow you to soak in our rich history. More than anything else, however, Festival International de Louisiane is a celebration of life. Joie de vivre, the joy of living, is something every person can embrace. With so much attention today focused on the things that separate us, our festival is an affirmation of elements which bind us together in a common quest to enjoy living.

 

My own association with Festival International de Louisiane began in college when I became an avid festival goer. It didn’t take long for me to realize the deeper importance of the festival to Lafayette, our surrounding parishes and Louisiana as a whole. During these five days in April we have an opportunity to showcase the eclectic mix of cultures and backgrounds that define South Louisiana. More importantly, we are able to display the sense of community which is a hallmark of Cajun society. These things have compelled me to support the festival as a donor and volunteer for the past ten years.

 

Each year, Festival International de Louisiane accomplishes wonderful things for our local economy. According to an economic impact study conducted in 2009, the festival accounts for approximately $49 million dollars spent in local hotels, restaurants and other businesses. This money helps to keep our community strong and vibrant, but it also speaks highly of how popular the event has become since it was founded 31 years ago. More than 300,000 festival goers from 48 states and 25 countries will join us this year, and we’re honored to count you among that number.

 

We’ve made a dedicated effort this year to return to the festival’s original roots. In addition to the stellar lineup of musical artists, we’re including more international art, food and culture. We have also planned many art exhibits, theatre performances and culinary events that will be conducted now through May.

 

As President of Festival International de Louisiane, my duties are ongoing throughout the year. They include overseeing a Board of Directors, an enthusiastic staff and energetic interns who all devote themselves unselfishly to making this event happen. No event of this magnitude can be accomplished without teamwork, and our team is one that makes every working day a pleasure. Their importance to this festival cannot be overstated.

 

I know, however, we would all agree that those who attend Festival International de Louisiane each year are the reason we devote ourselves to making it happen. My favorite part of Festival International de Louisiane is to look out over the crowd and see people engaged in the joy of living. I see them caught up in something bigger than the struggles we all face on a daily basis. No matter where you’re from or where you’re headed, for the week of Festival, Acadiana is home. We value a time to pause and focus on the small comforts afforded by good music, good food, good friends and good times. In so doing, we strengthen the threads which connect us in this wonderful tapestry of cultures called the human race.

 

From my family to yours, welcome to Festival International de Louisiane. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

 

Stephen Gaubert

President of the Board of Directors

Festival International de Louisiane

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