Envoye a Maison celebrates Franco-American culture

PLATTSBURGH An event which featured an infusion of French and American culture is hoped to have sparked interest of the community in learning more about the North Countrys roots. Envoye _aison drew a small, but enthusiastic crowd to Seton Academy last Saturday, with the hope future events will draw even more attention. It was a nice event this weekend; the music was really excellent, said organizer David Graham. The craftspeople were outstanding and my only regret not more people saw them. The event included the creation of devotional figures by one artist and the building of violins and stringed instruments by another. A dowser even recruited people from the neighboring playground to see if they had the gift for finding water, said Graham. Last Saturdays event is what Graham hopes to be a precursor to a much larger French connection in the greater Plattsburgh area. He is working to establish a Franco-American club that will meet once a month to discuss the history of the French in Plattsburgh. It has occurred to not just myself that although there are many stories about Plattsburgh, particularly about the Battle fo Plattsburgh, there are very few stories that involve the every day French people who were here in the community, said Graham. Graham recently came across an article written by Susan Ouelette, an associate professor of history at St. Michaels College in Colchester, Vt. The article, he said, discussed the fact the population of Plattsburgh around the turn of the 20th century was primarily made up of Irish and French immigrants. There were more immigrants in town than there were Yankee-type people, Graham said. Its also interesting to note the amount of people who changed the spelling of their names and the name changes made in general, said Graham, as French-speaking people came across the border from Quebec. That, and next years celebration of the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlains exploration of America are what speak to the importance of establishing a Franco-American club in the lake city. The real goal of the club is to bring [Franco-American history] more to the forefront, said Graham, especially in consideration that next year is the celebration of Champlains 4ooth anniversary. Ultimately, Graham said he would like to see the club become established enough to put on a Christmas concert sometime in November or December, as one of its first official events. For now, he will focus on firming up a monthly meeting night at the Emmaus Room of St. Peters Church on Cornelia Street, which is tentatively scheduled for the first Wednesday of every month. For more information, contact Graham at 563-1779 or via e-mail at mrquebec@gmail.com.

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