For the last 2 years the United Houma Nation Tribal Council has been in discussions with representatives of the French Embassy, French Consulate Generals Office and French officials in developing a multi-purpose, comprehensive tribal cultural center. The project grew from a discussion about the preservation of the Houma French language and the vision for a center that would preserve tribal identity.
The United Houma Nation has been recognized by the French government as a French speaking nation for over 20 years and tribal leaders have enjoyed a cooperative relationship with French representatives dating back to the explorer LaSalle.
With a strong relationship with New Orleans French Consulate General, Jean Claude Brunet, early discussions began with who needed to be part of the team that would help bring this common vision to a reality. Ms. Sophie Claudel, Cultural Attache to the French Embassy based in New York City, became involved and is helping assemble the plans for an initial feasibility study to get the project off the ground.
The most recent addition is renowned French Architect, Rudy Ricciotti. Mr. Ricciotti, grew up in a coastal community much like our tribal communities and he feels a kinship to our way of life. On February 26, Mr. Ricciotti and the French Team visited the community to see the landscape and discuss plans moving forward.
Currently the UHN is in the process of raising funds and identifying potential sites for the future location of this facility. The location is expected to house a cultural center, classrooms, community gathering space, museum, and official tribal headquarters. Mr. Ricciotti is committed to ensuring that the design will be representative of the identity of the United Houma Nation and a source of pride for tribal members to gather and celebrate our heritage and way of life.
If you would like to contribute to this effort, please consider donating HERE.
Photograph left to right: New Orleans Consulate General Jean Claude Brunet and Principal Chief Thomas Dardar, Jr.