September 12, 2007

Translation of 250th Coverage on French TV

Lafayette honored in the United States

Covered by French TV, TF1

250 years ago, a Frenchman helped the United States win its independence. The Marquis de Lafayette is celebrated as an overseas hero for whom numerous festivities are being organized in dozens of American cities, as in the town of Easton in Pennsylvania.

Generally, he would wear overalls, but these days he usually parades in a wig and a frock coat.

A professional re-enactor (historical interpreter), Loic Barnieu is best known in the area by his stage name, the Marquis de Lafayette. In fact, today in the United States he is all the rage.

“I am in great demand nowadays. Next week I will be attending a dinner given in my honor. In November, I will be going three times to New York, and soon after that to New Jersey.”

He commands troops in English with a French accent.

For 700 euros a day, he is hired to re-enact the young hero of the American Revolution, for, in the United States, they are wild about Lafayette.

250 years after his birth, America is still grateful to him for his help.

At least twenty-eight cities bear his name. Dozens of statues and hundreds of streets have been named in his honor as well as a college and, in this town, even a cleaner’s.

So today, as photo and interview sessions indicate, north to south Lafayette is a superstar.

“Lafayette is the most famous Frenchman in the U.S., even more than Charles de Gaulle.”

Even though the young Americans are a little less precise over his military deeds:

“He won the war, so he’s the man.”

“I’m from San Francisco, so I don’t know much about him, but I think he’s a good guy.”

A life that is well worth a celebration, for after all, without Lafayette, Americans would perhaps still be chanting ‘God Save the Queen.’

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