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Card-Carrying Cajuns? Louisiana Lawmakers Weigh ID Change

Mon, May 13, 2013 9:11pm

Story by Bill Chappell


Louisiana drivers would be able to add the message "I'm a Cajun" on their licenses, under a bill making its way through the statehouse. Here, shrimp fisherman Merlin Boudreaux holds up part of his catch in Morgan City, St. Mary Parish, La.

A bill making its way through the Louisiana Legislature would let Cajun citizens celebrate their ancestry by customizing their driver's license, adding the phrase "I'm a Cajun" below their photograph.

It would cost $5 to add the message; the money would go toward "scholarships distributed by the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana, a program promoting French language and culture in the state," reports NOLA.com.

The Senate has already approved the bill; it's headed to the House now, after the he House Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works unanimously supported the change Monday.

A similar bill in the House would create a license plate bearing the message "I'm Cajun .... and proud." It also includes an "I'm Creole" option.

Both measures are aimed at shoring up funding for CODOFIL, especially its "La Fondation Louisiane for the Escadrille Louisiane" scholarship program.

As the Houma Today website explains, "During last year's regular session, Gov. Bobby Jindal cut $100,000 from CODOFIL, saying in his official veto message that the program 'has been adequately funded.'"

In their current states, neither of the two bills seem to include requirements for proving ancestry or other connections to the culture being celebrated.

"There is a certain sense of uniqueness about Louisiana that people fall in love with," Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle tells NOLA.com. He added that the new ID would be "a way to identity and create a little bit of pride."

The possibility of Cajun IDs was welcome news to readers commenting on the NOLA story. One of them even inspired our headline for this post. Another simply wrote, "A little comic relief from yesterday's news. Gotta love it."

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