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How French-speaking Cajuns contributed to World War II and boosted cultural pride

Today on Louisiana Considered, we hear about the economic impacts of child care on the workforce. Then, we learn about the contributions of French-speaking Cajun servicemen in World War II.

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) says more than half of parents in Louisiana had to adjust their work or school schedule to provide child care in 2021. They’ve also found that families with an income below $20,000 were twice as likely to quit their job to care for their children.

Candace Weber, director of partnerships at LPIC, tells us more about the economic impacts of child care in Louisiana and how we can better support working parents.

During World War II, roughly 25,000 Cajuns served their country, but many brought a special skill to the force: their ability to speak French. The so-called “Frenchies” translated documents, deciphered messages and spoke directly to French-speaking Europeans. Now, they are being formally recognized for their contributions, including at a recent event at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.

For more on that event and the stories of these servicemen, we spoke with author and historian Jason Theriot, who published the three-volume book “To Honor Our Veterans: An Oral History of World War II Veterans From the Bayou Country.” 

Today’s episode of Louisiana Considered was hosted by Adam Vos. Our managing producer is Alana Schreiber and our digital editor is Katelyn Umholtz. Our engineers are Garrett Pittman, Aubrey Procell, and Thomas Walsh. 

You can listen to Louisiana Considered Monday through Friday at 12:00 and 7:30 pm. It’s available on Spotify, Google Play, and wherever you get your podcasts. 

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Louisiana Considered is made possible with support from our listeners. Thank you!

Adam is responsible for coordinating WRKF's programming and making sure everything you hear on the radio runs smoothly. He is the Baton Rouge-based host for Louisiana Considered, our daily regional news program, and is also frequently the local voice afternoons on All Things Considered.
Alana Schreiber is the managing producer for the live daily news program, Louisiana Considered. She comes to WRKF from KUNC in Northern Colorado, where she worked as a radio producer for the daily news magazine, Colorado Edition. She has previously interned for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul and The Documentary Group in New York City.