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French Connection inspires UMFK's plans for September 23 Katrina fundraiser

September 16, 2005


The University of Maine at Fort Kent campus community will host two events on Friday, September 23 to raise funds to assist relief efforts in Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

A "Brown Bag Theatre" luncheon, coordinated by Joe Zubrick, associate professor of theatre and oral communications, is planned for 12:15 p.m. in the Fox Auditorium. Participation is open to anyone interested in reading poetry or performing a piece-dance, play or musical scene, or musical selection.

Canisters will be placed at the doors of the auditorium for attendees to make donations.

For more information, or to participate, contact Zubrick at (207) 834-7591.

The noontime Brown Bag Theatre is intended to provide additional publicity for a Coffeehouse fundraiser the same evening.

The second event will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Bengal's Lair, and will feature performances by faculty, students, staff and community members.

Coordinating the project are Scott Brickman, associate professor of music and chair of the arts and humanities division, Katharine Harrington, assistant professor of French, and Dave Hobbins, professor of forestry and environmental studies and faculty marshal.

"I think it would be especially meaningful for UMFK to give the most personalized gift possible due to our Acadian connection", said Harrington. "This summer the arts and humanities division sponsored a book signing by Warren Perrin, the president of the Council for the Development of the French Language in Louisiana (CODOFIL). I really enjoyed talking with him after the event about the efforts CODOFIL is doing to promote French in Louisiana. It really hit home for me how much Maine, and especially northern Maine, has in common with Louisiana and how much we could learn from them."

"When Katrina hit and I saw the devastated areas in Louisiana and elsewhere, I couldn't help thinking of Warren and all of the other Francos in Louisiana who are suffering. I wanted to do something to let them know that we are thinking of them and wish to help in any way we can", added Harrington.

In recognition of the French connection between the St. John Valley and Louisiana, the three organizers are planning an Acadian theme for the event, by encouraging participants to perform in French if possible.

In addition, plans are to serve refreshments that go with the theme of the local culture, including the always popular ployes, a buckwheat flour pancake that is perhaps the best-known local delicacy.

ARAMARK, the University's foodservice provider will donate food and beverages for purchase, the proceeds from which will go toward the UMFK Katrina relief fund, along with funds collected at the door. Although no specific admission fee will be charged, donations will be accepted.

Money raised will be directed toward localized relief efforts in Louisiana.

"I have sent an e-mail to Warren Perrin to ask if he has any recommendation for our donation. He lives in Lafayette, where many of the displaced residents of New Orleans are being housed. I have asked him if we could contribute to the Lafayette refugee relief in any way. I am waiting to hear back from him", said Harrington.

For more information on the Coffeehouse or to participate, contact Brickman at 834-7506, Harrington at 834-7592 or Hobbins at 834-7614.