For more than 25 years, Joseph Dunn’s understanding of Louisiana’s distinct cultures, languages, and heritage has afforded him the opportunity to work at the highest levels of the state’s tourism and cultural industries.
After three years as Executive Director of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL), he began work as an independent tourism & cultural entrepreneur in 2014. Currently, his primary role is to oversee the communications, public relations, and marketing efforts at Laura: Louisiana’s Creole Heritage Site, among other projects and collaborations. He has held positions at the the Louisiana Office of Tourism; the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association; the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development; the Office of the Lieutenant Governor; and the Consulate General of France in New Orleans. Today, his primary role is to oversee the public relations and marketing efforts at Laura: Louisiana’s Creole Heritage Site.
Internationally, he has twice worked as a product development and interpretation consultant with Parks Canada. While with the Office of Cultural Development and the Lt. Governor’s Office, he played an integral role in the early development of the World Cultural Economic Forum. Later, as executive director of CODOFIL, Joseph led the renegotiation of Louisiana’s cultural and educational accords with the governments of France and Belgium. In 2018, Joseph Dunn was a lead contributor to the dossier that led to Louisiana’s admission into the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie as an observer member. He has presented in English and French at conferences, workshops, and political and economic trade missions in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe. Joseph is often featured in francophone print and broadcast media and documentaries as a leader in the French and Creole language movements in Louisiana. He is an outspoken advocate and thought leader for the development of professional and economic opportunities for these heritage language communities.
For his contributions to the development of the French language in Louisiana, Joseph Dunn was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Mérite by the Republic of France in 2021 and was inducted into the Ordre des francophones d’Amérique by Québec’s Ministry of the French language in 2022.
Acceptance Speech — Coronation December 15, 2022, Degas House
Chers membres du Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc
Chers membres ma famille,
I am honoured by this incredible gift that you have bestowed on me to represent the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc as your King this year.
As I look around this room, I see so many of you who have and who continue to work tirelessly to make New Orleans, and Louisiana, a better place. I could not be more humbled to be in your presence. Merci infiniment for this recognition that I would never have dreamed possible.
If you know me or anything about me, you know that I am just a little bit passionate about most things “French” — language, culture, food, wine – and how they relate to Louisiana, not only historically, but also in modern contexts. At Laura Plantation and in my other projects, with many of my friends, I get to LIVE and WORK in French every day.
Here at the Degas House, the PRESIDENT OF FRANCE visited only two weeks ago. Congratulations to David and especially to my friends at the French Consulate and the Alliance Française for a job well done on getting the President and Madame Macron to New Orleans !! (applause)
If there is any message that I want to communicate to you tonight and throughout my reign, it’s the fact that the French and Creole languages in Louisiana are not simply relics of some far-away past that exists only in historic documents, artifacts, or Cajun music. They are not “broken” and they are spoken by a very diverse mosaic of people that includes Native Americans, Afro-descended people, and Euro-descended people. I want to challenge you to help me change this narrative, change the way we talk about these languages, and change our relationship to them.
If gombo is not a foreign food,
If jazz is not foreign music,
If French Quarter buildings are not foreign architecture,
If Carnival is not a foreign celebration,
Then French and Creole are NOT FOREIGN LANGUAGES in LOUISIANA.
They are HERITAGE LANGUAGES. Say it with me – HERITAGE LANGUAGES. And they are our most undeveloped natural, green, renewable resource !
Jeanne parlait français.
Le Roi Charles parlait français.
Et encore aujourd’hui en Louisiane, on parle français.
So, raise your glasses with me and let’s say it three times !!
VIVE JEANNE D’ARC !
VIVE JEANNE D’ARC !
VIVE JEANNE D’ARC !!