Frenchie Podcast

Frenchie Podcast

Frenchie features stories of French-speaking Cajun World War II veterans, as told by the veterans themselves.


May 24, 2023 20 mins

In the mid-night hours of September 10, 1944, Captain Orleans Pitre, a Cajun from Cut-Off, Louisiana, jumped out of an airplane over France with a team of special agents from the Office of Strategic Services. Their mission: to rendezvous with the French Maquis, supply them with weapons, and coordinate attacks against the retreating Germans. Pitre was one of a handful of Cajuns recruited by the OSS because of their French. Their sec...

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The stories of the Acadians and Cajuns are intertwined and remarkably similar. In October 2022, I had the honor of traveling to the Acadian heartland in the Canadian Maritime Provinces to interview the last of the French-speaking Acadian veterans of WWII. In this special episode, you will hear stories from the veterans themselves, from family members, and from local experts. Most fought in Italy, France, Belgium, and Holland. Many ...

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The Cajun Ace, Jeff Deblanc, shot down 5 enemy aircraft in one engagement in the South Pacific. For this, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. It’s an amazing story of aviation agility, skill, and grit—but it’s not the whole story. Enroute over the Solomon Islands, DeBlanc’s external fuel tank on his F-4F airplane malfunctioned. He realized at that moment that he would not have enough fuel to complete the mission and ma...

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This is a Frenchie love story, as told by Dennis Neal, a Cajun from Pointe-au-Chien, who met his wife while stationed in France in WWII. Dennis was assigned to a military intelligence unit and drove a jeep for two officers who gathered communications from the French underground. While in Paris, Dennis met a French girl, who became his war bride. The couple, and their infant son, returned to Louisiana after the war and lived a quiet...

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Norris Morvant, a WWII veteran from Thibodaux, La, was one of our honorees at the recently held “Cajun-Acadian WWII Commemoration” at the National World War II Museum. He was one of a dozen French-speaking WWII veterans whom I had the chance to interview since resurrecting this long-running oral history project in late 2019. He was assigned to Gen. Eisenhower’s headquarters in France as a liaison man with the 89th Compliment Squadr...

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In this special episode, we revisit the recently-held "Cajun-Acadian WWII Commemoration" that took place at the National World War II Museum in April 2022. This historic event—20 years in the making—was a collaboration between myself, the Consulate General of Canada, and the WWII Museum in New Orleans. We honored 4 French-speaking WWII veterans; 3 from south Louisiana and 1 from Beaubassin in New Brunswick, Canada. We were joined i...

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In Part II of the Cajun National Guard, we follow these young men to the shores of North Africa, Italy, and Southern France where they served as combat military police. Several hundred Cajuns from the Bayou Country made up the 2nd Battalion of the 156th Infantry Regiment. According to records, the 2nd Battalion was sent to North Africa “due to its French linguistic abilities.” These French-speaking Cajuns utilized their language sk...

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January 22, 2022 35 mins

In Episode 5, we chronicle the Cajuns of the Louisiana National Guard. The 2nd Battalion of the 156th Inf. Reg. (31st Dixie Division) consisted of several companies of guardsmen from the bayou country. Nearly all of them grew up speaking French as their first language. This entire unit spent more than 2 years training together before being shipped overseas as combat military police units. The history of this Cajun Guard unit is par...

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October 14, 2021 25 mins

In 1941, Bernice LeJeune was told by the army that his Cajun French language would be of “no use to the US military.” Two years later, he found himself on the shores of North Africa assigned as a French Interpreter for an American colonel. LeJeune traveled with this colonel all throughout the Mediterranean Campaign and helped maintain liaisons with the French people and the French army at the famous battles of Casino and Anzio in I...

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August 17, 2021 29 mins

In this episode, we transition from the front lines to the high seas, and feature stories from Cajuns who served in the US Navy. These Cajuns had the occasion to speak their native French to other Francophones while in the Pacific or onboard ship, and some were actually engaged in interpreting for military commanders with French leaders. This episode features stories from Willis Granger, Jonas Perrin, Ovide Lancon, and James Warren...

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April 10, 2021 29 mins

Sam Broussard was born and raised in Breaux Bridge, LA, and served as an intelligence officer with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). He came ashore on Omaha Beach on D-Day as the intelligence officer with the US First Army. He led a special forces detachment unit throughout Normandy and Brittany on various missions alongside French resistance groups behind enemy lines. From France, he led additional missions in Belgium and Ge...

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March 23, 2021 31 mins

Bob Leblanc, a native of Vermilion Parish, served as a liaisons officer with Special Forces Detachment No. 11 in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). He came ashore in Normandy with Gen. Patton’s Third Army and led a small advanced team behind enemy lines to coordinate activities with French resistance fighters. His ability to not only speak French, but to read and write it, gave him distinct advantages in the military. He also ...

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