Alliance Française d’Austin Bastille Day Festival

Luv Doc Writings, The Luv Doc Recommends

SAT. JULY 13, 2002

Since its very beginnings, Texas has had a peculiar love/hate relationship with France. Early Texans sought recognition and support for their new republic, and one of the first legitimate countries to come calling was France, who threw Texas a bone in the form a second class envoy named Jean Pierre Isidore Alphonse Dubois de Saligny. Jean Pierre’s mission was to push through the passage of the Franco-Texian bill, which would allow French colonization of parts of Texas under the protection of the French army. Instead of exercising diplomacy, Jean Pierre built an ostentatious hilltop manse (larger than the capitol) and ran afoul of a local innkeeper by ordering his servants to shoot the innkeeper’s pigs if they strayed onto his property. Not surprisingly, the deal went South and Jean Pierre went East. Today Jean Pierre’s hilltop manse, the French Legation, is the oldest documented structure still on its original site and a stalwart reminder of Texans’ conflicted feelings towards the French. French culture has always been viewed as something of an affront to Texans’ egalitarian sentiments while at the same time anything having remotely to do with the French seems to have almost mythic cultural cache’ (isn’t that a French word?) Even today in shopping malls across Texas the phrase “it’s Franch!” is the cultural equivalent of “‘nuff said.” Therefore, it is perhaps fitting that the 7th Annual Bastille Day Festival takes place Saturday night at the French Legation. This year’s festival looks to be bigger and better than ever and features the unbeatable triumvirate of wine, food and song, the latter courtesy of Ponty Bone and the Squeeze Tones and Rumbullion. If you’ve any doubts that this is the thing to do Saturday night, just remember, “It’s Franch!”

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