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Contact: Christine Payton Nov. 21, 2006
(337) 482-6397, payton@louisiana.edu
Barry Ancelet, Ph.D. of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, will be knighted on November, 28, 2006 into Ordre Les Arts et Lettres République Francaise at La Maison Francaise on the Louisiana State University campus at 2:30 p.m.

The honor, conferred by the French Ambassador to the United States, is given by the French Minister of Culture to a person who has promoted the French culture and language. Nominated by Bernard Cerquilini, a former member of a French ministry and current professor and director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies at LSU, Ancelet will receive the Chevalier or Knight award, which is only given to up to 200 recipients a year. Three other recipients will also be honored during the French Ambassador's visit.

The medal of the order is an eight-armed, green-enameled asterisk that is made of silver. One side of the badge has the letters “A” and “L” on a white enameled background, surrounded by a golden ring bearing the words “République Francaise.” The opposite side of the medallion shows the head of Marianne, a national symbol of France that stands for liberty and reason, on a gold background surrounded by a gold ring that has the inscription Ordre des Arts ets des Lettres.. This Order of France was established in 1957 and confirmed by Charles de Gaulle in 1963.

Some notables who have received the award include John Coolidge Adams, Ella Fitzgerald and William Faulkner to name a few. Typically, French recipients must be at least 30 years old, have respect for French civil law and must have contributed to the enrichment of the French culture. However, recipients do not have to be of French origin, or have to work in France or in French and those who are not French are admitted without an age condition.

Ancelet is a native Louisiana French-speaking Cajun, born in Church Point and raised in Lafayette. He graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette) with a BA in French in 1974. He received an MA in Folklore from Indiana University in 1977, and a doctorate in Études Créoles (anthropology and linguistics) from the Université de Provence (Aix-Marseille I) in 1984. He has been on the faculty at UL Lafayette since 1977, first as Director of the Center for Acadian and Creole Folklore, and later as a Professor of Francophone Studies and Folklore in the Department of Modern Languages, which he chaired for ten years.

In 2005, he was named Willis Granger and Tom Debaillon BORSF Professor of Francophone Studies. He has given numerous papers and published numerous articles and several books on various aspects of Louisiana's Cajun and Creole cultures and languages.
He is interested in expanding the classroom through festivals, special concerts, records, museum exhibitions, documentary films, and television and radio programs. He has served as a consultant and fieldworker for several documentary films, including Pat Mire's Dance for a Chicken: The Cajun Mardi Gras and Anything I Catch: The Handfishing Story, Karen Snyder's Cajun Crossroads, Alan Lomax's Lache pas la patate: Cajun Country, André Gladu's Zarico Yannick Resch's Les Cajuns, Chris Strachwitz's J'ai été au bal: The Cajun and Zydeco music of Louisiana, and Glen Pitre's Good for What Ails You, as well as Côte Blanche's Conteurs de la Louisiane radio storytelling series.

He served as associate producer, along with Zachary Richard, and principal scholar, along with Carl Brasseaux, for Pat Mire's Against the Tide: The Story of the Cajun People of Louisiana, a production of Louisiana Public Broadcasting and Louisiana's Department of Cultural, Recreation and Tourism. He served as director of the team of scholars that provided the basic research to the National Park Service for the development of the Jean Lafitte National Park's three Acadian Culture Interpretive Centers.

He is a Chevalier in France's Palmes Académiques, a member of Quebec's Ordre des Francophones d'Amérique, and a Fellow of the American Folklore Society. His alter ego Jean Arceneaux has published French poetry, plays,

short stories and songs in various anthologies and literary journals including Cris sur le bayou, Acadie tropicale, Feux follets, and Éloizes.

He has given numerous poetry readings in Québec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and France, as well as Louisiana and other parts of the United States.

Document last revised Tuesday, November 21, 2006 9:49 AM

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