Colby LeJeune joins KRVS as new host of ‘Bonjour Louisiane’
LeJeune began his role in late July with plans to dedicate air time to French tables, Cajun jams and interviews with Louisiana francophones.
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Like most people his age, Colby LeJeune didn’t grow up speaking French. Rather, the language was scattered here or there in his English through various words—such as bouder or envie. As is common for many people in the region, the folks in his small community of L’Anse LeJeune in Acadia Parish speak a dialect of English that is strongly influenced by French in terms of inflection, too.
“I was raised with an English that was influenced a lot by French,” said LeJeune, 25. “That helped a lot to already have acquired the sounds of Louisiana French.”
He studied linguistics at Tulane University, but only really started learning Louisiana French in his early 20s. In addition to using books and YouTube videos, LeJeune began venturing to French tables a few years ago. His francophone family members had already passed, so these informal gatherings gave him the opportunity to hear native speakers while practicing his growing vocabulary, too.
“For just about everyone, it’s the only way to learn Louisiana French if you don’t have someone in your family who speaks it or who you can speak with,” he said. “The French tables are specifically for speaking French. The people who come are ready to talk and they want to speak French. It’s all of the ingredients in a single place.”
LeJeune, who is also a master’s student in the French department at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, stepped into his new role on KRVS' morning program “Bonjour Louisiane” in late July. The show, hosted entirely in French, has a format which has typically been dedicated to broadcasting Cajun and Zydeco music. While LeJeune said he plans to still dedicate much air time to the region’s music, he plans to visit the many French tables around Lafayette in order to document these conversations. He feels that these outings will provide the audience with a way to hear the area’s various accents and the colorful expressions of Louisiana French.
In the studio, LeJeune said he also plans to conduct live interviews with musicians and members of the francophone community. He’ll also record jam sessions that take place around Lafayette, such as the Wednesday night Cajun jam at Blue Moon Saloon. LeJeune said he plans to also continue transmitting the sort of cultural information that former host, Ashlee Wilson, featured during her tenure.
“I’d really like to continue what Ashlee had been doing, providing all of the various folklore information, and the stories behind the songs,” he said.
Wilson took over Bonjour Louisiane in September 2022 when Joseph “Pete” Bergeron retired after having hosted the program for 41 years. General manager of KRVS, Cheryl Devall, noted the value of LeJeune’s commitment to continuing this legacy of honoring the area’s culture and heritage languages.
“Around Lafayette I've crossed paths with Colby at Cajun jam sessions, and he's a regular at multiple French tables,” Devall said. “He brings great energy and enthusiasm to his new role with Bonjour Louisiane, and I'm really pleased that he's taken it on.”
For LeJeune, the program will continue to serve as a way to broadcast French to Louisianans who might have few other outlets to hear the language—from older native speakers to younger people wishing to hear what French sounds like in the state.
“If I didn’t have a radio, I wouldn’t have heard French in my everyday life,” he said. “It was thanks to stations like KRVS and KBON. It was a way to hear French every day.”