Skip to comments.Iraq Sours Louisiana Purchase Celebration (Frog spokesman professes deep and abiding friendship)
Posted on 12/21/2003 7:08:39 PM PST by quidnunc
The Stars and Stripes was raised while the Tricolore was lowered as the fife and drum band played Hail Colombia, the American national anthem in 1803.
Standing before a crowd of a few hundred, Gale Norton, the American interior secretary, and Jean-Louis Debre, the president of the French National Assembly, stood and mouthed words of amity.
The two countries' longstanding friendship "may not be put aside by differences of opinion that have occurred from time to time", M Debre said.
No one believed a word of it.
Two centuries ago this weekend France handed over Louisiana, along with a vast swath of continental America, to the United States in return for a payment from Thomas Jefferson to Napoleon of $15 million.
The Lousiana Purchase has long been employed by the French and the Americans to underline their long-standing alliance.
On the 100th anniversary, for example, President Theodore Roosevelt attended.
But not this time, not after Iraq. The tiny crowd and the low-level representation President George W Bush and President Jacques Chirac decided they had more pressing business elsewhere offered a bleak snapshot of the alliance with France, America's oldest.
Even before the celebrations, the bicentennial had been the subject of much bitter point-scoring. A Louisiana state representative tried and failed to rescind M Chirac's invitation to the event.
The governor, M J "Mike" Foster Jr, said the French president had "gone off the deep end" in opposing the war.
In New Orleans with its fleur de lys flags and statue of Joan of Arc overlooking the Mississippi a petition was briefly launched to try to change the name of its historic French Quarter to the "Freedom Quarter".
That mood was almost palpable in Bourbon Street, the centre of the bar area but a road named after the French royal dynasty rather than the drink.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
No it's the French as a society and as a polity.
The people of Louisiana owe nothing to the French since Louie sold them down the river. Cajuns are very different from the French people.
All is forgiven (but dump Chirac).Love always,
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