The Fight To Save Louisiana’s Only French-Language TV Programming

When Télé-Louisiane was founded in 2018 as a multi-lingual media platform, the goal was to tell more of Louisiana’s stories in French, Creole and the other languages that create the state’s diverse culture. Now the organization is calling for supporters across the state to rally to save Louisiana’s French-language public television programming from budget cuts. 

After their founding, Télé-Louisiane was successful in developing and producing two statewide French-language television programs, for the first time in 30 years. La Veillée is a weekly cultural news program produced by Télé-Louisiane with Louisiana Public Broadcasting, and it is aired entirely in Louisiana French. Les Aventures de Boudini et Ses Amis, which also airs on LPB, is a French-language children’s cartoon that the Télé-Louisiane website describes as “time-bending adventure through Louisiana culture, history, and language.” According to the platform, these programs together promote tourism and economic development in Louisiana to over 10 million viewers worldwide. 

After running for two seasons each, the future of Boudini and La Veillée is now in doubt. On May 25, Télé-Louisiane posted a call-to-action on Facebook, saying, “we learned this week that French programming on LPB was cut from the State budget starting July 1, meaning Boudini and La Veillée will not return for third seasons this fall.” 

They say that this decision will have “devastating impact.” In an article by Télé-Louisiane founder, Will McGrew, he says that with the loss of funding for the next fiscal year, $110,000 in already-allocated federal funds will be lost. Additionally, over $100,000 in French international funding that requires state matching funds will also disappear. 

McGrew also writes that “teachers across Louisiana’s 42 French immersion schools will no longer be able to rely on these two programs as teaching tools and were planning to continue using them next year.”

On May 29, supporters gathered for French Immersion Day at the Louisiana State Capitol to advocate for adding the funding back to the budget before it is finalized and approved at the end of the week.

Télé-Louisiane is also asking for help from people across the state, with requests to call and email state senators and ask for funding support; in addition to signing an online petition to “Save Boudini.” 

With the loss of years of effort on the horizon, the organization is not ready to give up yet. Until the 2024-25 state budget is approved, they plan to continue rallying for the future of Boudini and La Veillée. 

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