NEW ORLEANS — With places like the French Quarter, French Market and Frenchmen Street, there’s no denying a shared history between New and France.
The Vieux Carré is now rolling out the rouge carpet for French President Emmanuel Macron who is set to visit the city on Friday.
He’s expected to start his day in the former French colony in Jackson Square, where he will be welcomed by Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
Lt. Gov. Bill Nungesser, R-Louisiana, will be hosting a reception for the French President at state museum at The Cabildo.
He said the president is interested in learning about CODIFIL, the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana, an immersion program in state schools.
“Having that French language for these kids who can speak it fluently is just an invaluable tool for their future and really will make a difference their careers,” Nungesser said.
Macron will then take a quick walk through the French Quarter before heading to his next meeting at the Historic New Orleans Collection.
Museum CEO Daniel Hammer says he’s excited to show the French president documents related to the Louisiana Purchase.
“Documents related to the purchase of Louisiana by the United States in 1803, the transfer documents of Louisiana from Spain to France and then from France to the United States.
There’s also a new exhibit at the museum about the history of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the effort to restore it after a catastrophic fire in 2019.
“It’s quite cool that the visit is taking place while that exhibition is on view at our museum for the public to enjoy,” Hammer said.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, D-Louisiana, will meet the president at the museum.
They are expected to discuss climate change then sign an agreement to add a French expert on energy transition to the governor's Climate Initiatives Task Force.
President Macron is also expected to visit the New Orleans Museum of Art, have dinner in the city and end his trip taking in some music on Frenchmen Street.
Jason Patterson says he’ll be flying a French flag outside Snug Harbor.
“It’s so wonderful to have President Macron come,” Patterson said. “We’re inviting him in to catch our show here for a few minutes if he’s got time and I hope he really enjoys Frenchmen Street.”
Patterson said visitors from France have been big supporters of New Orleans music and the city’s jazz bistros for decades.
“We’ve got so much of a French heritage on this side of Canal Street. So, for them to recognize Frenchmen Street and know where we came from is much appreciated.”
Lt. Gov. Nungesser says having the French President tour New Orleans is worldwide publicity you can’t buy.
“We have really expanded our international market because we know those international visitors spend more money and stay longer and they don’t just see one city, they’ll see many cities in Louisiana,” Nungesser said.
This will be the first visit to New Orleans by a French president since 1976.
That’s when then President Valéry Giscard D'Estaing visited Louisiana.