French Celebration along Mississippi

By Barbara Hertenstein Of the Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), May 18, 1997 | Go to article overview

French Celebration along Mississippi


Barbara Hertenstein Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


VIVA LA FRANCE! Fiddlers and string quartets, theater productions, historical re-enactments and architectural tours are all part of a festival designed to celebrate French heritage up and down the Mississippi next weekend. Join Les Amis (the friends) at La Fete Francais, a French Heritage Festival in St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve and Cape Girardeau for three days of celebration. All events are free.

Festivities begin in St. Louis on Saturday morning with a talk on French colonial landscape (10 a.m. at the Old Courthouse), followed by a tour of French-influenced architecture in downtown St. Louis and Cahokia.

Back at the courthouse, you'll find French fiddlers (noon) and the Historyonics Theatre Company's dramatization of Audubon's early life in Ste. Genevieve (2 p.m.), followed by popular Parisian cabaret songs. The celebration moves on to Ste. Genevieve (about an hour south of St. Louis) Sunday with a lecture at Orris Theatre (12:30 p.m.) and a tour of the historic town. Les Petits Chanteurs, a children's chorus, sings French songs (1:30 p.m.), and a dramatization of Audubon's early life in Ste. Genevieve by Historyonics Theatre Company follows. The Laclede String Quartet plays French Chamber music of the 18th and 19th centuries (3 p.m.). On Monday in Cape Girardeau, learn about the Fleur de Lis from the president of the American Iris Society (10:30 a.m., university campus). See Don Louis Lorimier, founder of Cape Girardeau, arrive by canoe (noon, at the riverfront) and tour the city in the afternoon. Music and theater fill out the day. Several historic houses and museums will be open for tours. Reservations are needed for the bus tours in each city. For the St. Louis tour and general information, call 727-4719; for Ste. Genevieve, (573) 883-7102; for Cape Girardeau, (573) 335-1631. Celebrate, Italian-Style If Italy is more your cup of chianti, try the 44th Italian-American Days in Benld, Ill., about 47 miles northeast of St. Louis. It might be worth the trip just to watch them give away a ton of free spaghetti on Sunday. Or sample the tortellini soup and homemade Italian salami sandwiches between games of bocce ball, bingo and amusement rides during the four-day festival, next Friday through Monday. Free dancing each evening to the music of Rough Grooved Surface, Kansas City Street Band, Bagna Caulda Combo, Midnight Madness, The Edsels and Private Eye. Chicago by Boat You may think you can hop onto water taxis only in Venice. …

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