French Perspectives in Texas

In this section, I will post pictures of interviews of French-Texan immigrants from the French in Texas Oral History Collection conducted by François Lagarde. I aim to provide context for French-Texan perspectives on culture and provide insight on their thoughts on their identity. I concluded that French-Texans are attached to their French identity as a relic of their past, but they use their American identity in their everyday life living in the United States. Each individual has a different opinion depending on their personal experience, but this was the broad consensus that I reached through my research.


This first post is the first two pages of an interview with a French immigrant who was born in Orleans but now considers herself to be binational. She discusses how immigrants feel nothing because they don’t belong to a single country. When she is in France, she is called American, and she is very aware that she is also French while in the United States. She still has affection for France and remains French in her way of thinking. She lived in Berkeley for a while, but she was discriminated against because of her French accent and lost her job. She lived in Austin at the time of the interview. She retuned back to France once a year to visit family, and she knows that her French was out of practice because she didn’t speaker it with her husband or daughter. Her sister even gained an English accent! This woman states that immigrants lose their language as well as losing their country. Her daughter considers herself to be English and French, but she does not speak French except for the little that she learned in high school. She lso talks about how schools in America focus more on social life while in France, they focus on the studies. Overall, I thought it was most interesting how she talks about losing her country and language, and how she considers herself to be bicultural but also nothing at all, a true juxtaposition.

This interviewee was born in Africa in Cameroon and moved to France around 13-14 years old. She studied French and went to school in France before moving to Texas at 20 years old. She feels more American and French, but she is aware that she is always French. She feels more American because she has lots of friends that are women around her age, and she doesn’t have many French friends. She more comfortable with Americans and the most integrated out of her extended family. Her immediate family does not speak much French at home. The end of her interview is done by her daughter who is 12 years old. She describes the difference between French and American culture and how the French judge less on what kind of clothes you wear. She also talks about her cousin who lived in France for a year and knows more French than her. This interview leaned heavily towards the American side of the French-Texan identity, which was interesting to discover.

This is an interview of a married French American couple. They have both gotten used to living in the United States, but they have an appreciation for the beauty and history in France when they visit. They couldn’t live in France because they don’t know how it works in the present like they know the United States. They are bicultural, but they consider themselves to be more American because they know how the plumbing, taxes, etc. function. I thought this brought up a very good point of living in the present vs. living in the past.

This is this second page of an interview from a French American citizen. The first ten minutes of the interview were lost, but the rest is intact. She thinks that the education in the United States is disastrous, and her son considers himself to be completely American but to also have a French identity. She also talks about the cultural differences of parenting between her and her husband. She is stricter, while her husband is more lack with their boy. She considers herself to be French even thought she has lived in Austin for 32 years.

This interviewee was born in France right outside of Cherbourg to French parents, and he moved to the United States out of curiosity when he was 22 years old. He came to Austin in September 1970. He is bilingual in English and French. He considers himself to not be French anymore, but also not really American. He talks about how he has a French story in him and this will never change because of his history. He has more French in him because the French history occurred when he was young. This interview highlights the importance of the history of our past.

French Texans
French Perspectives in Texas