The 20th Century

The 20th century ushered in the era of celebrations. Colonial times were long past, but the ties remained strong, and official recognition of the particular history of this region of the United States seemed justified. The Louisiana Historical Society, appointed to organize the Centenary of the Louisiana Purchase, invited no less than the President of the United States to New Orleans. In addition to these Louisiana celebrations, the city of Saint Louis organized an International Exposition on the theme of the Louisiana Purchase, in which France was to play an important role—which it did, rather half-heartedly. What has become clear over the course of the commemorations of the last hundred years is the prominent place that France holds in the hearts of Louisianans, and the fact that the French have responded to this rather negligently. The same was true during the Bicentennial of the city of Mobile, Alabama in 1911.


Alcée Fortier, President of the Louisiana Historical Society, Letter to the French Government concerning the preparation of the Centennial of the Louisiana Purchase: 
AMAE, CADN, Consulat Louisiane, A 417, f° 65-66 (20 décembre 1902) Alcée Fortier, President of the Louisiana Historical Society, Letter to the French Government concerning the preparation of the Centennial of the Louisiana Purchase: 
AMAE, CADN, Consulat Louisiane, A 417, f° 65-66 (20 décembre 1902) Alcée Fortier, President of the Louisiana Historical Society, Letter to the French Government concerning the preparation of the Centennial of the Louisiana Purchase: 
AMAE, CADN, Consulat Louisiane, A 417, f° 65-66 (20 décembre 1902)
Alcée Fortier, President of the Louisiana Historical Society, Letter to the French Government concerning the preparation of the Centennial of the Louisiana Purchase: AMAE, CADN, Consulat Louisiane, A 417, f° 65-66 (20 décembre 1902)

In 1917, Marc de Villiers du Terrage published his Histoire de la fondation de La Nouvelle Orléans [History of the Founding of New Orleans] with the Imprimerie Nationale in Paris. Since the Imprimerie was a state-run enterprise at the time, proof of the interest in the subject in official French circles. In 1982, the city of Paris and the Macdonald Stewart Foundation presented an exposition that celebrated the tercentennial of the naming of Louisiana by Cavelier de La Salle.


In 2003

In 2002, the French Ministry of Culture decided that the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase should be the subject of a national celebration. This was particularly significant given the chosen means of communication—the Internet. The common cultural ties between Louisiana and France were emphasized, ties due to their common past, but most of all to the use of the French language. This bilingual web site—giving a basic history of French Louisiana as well as many useful sources of written or graphic documentation—seemed like the most current way to present the rich collections devoted to this period in history, and to create new ties between researchers and history enthusiasts from both countries.