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New Orleans twinned at last with France's Orléans

© Guillaume Souvant, AFP | Emmanuel Macron (C), then France’s Economy and Industry Minister, looks on before delivering a speech next to mayor of Orleans Olivier Carré (R) during the official tribute to Joan of Arc, May 8, 2016, in Orleans, Central France.

Text by Tracy MCNICOLL

Latest update : 2017-11-29

For its 300th birthday, The Big Easy is getting a big sister. New Orleans is at last slated to be twinned with its French namesake, Orléans.

Outgoing New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and his Orléans counterpart Olivier Carré announced the decision to twin the cities on Tuesday in Orléans during the Louisiana politician’s visit with an American delegation.

The cities will make their alliance official in January 2018, three centuries after Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, the Montreal-born son of a French pioneer, founded the Louisiana outpost in 1718. In the event, Le Moyne named the town not for the city of Orléans, an ancient city on the Loire River south of Paris, but for Philippe II, Duke of Orléans. The duke served as Regent of France until Louis XV, who was only five when his father Louis XIV died in 1715, could take power himself eight years later.

La République du Centre, a French regional daily, reports that the date being mooted for the signing is January 6, a day dear to the people of Orléans as it marks the 606th anniversary of the birth of Joan of Arc, the teenaged saint credited with delivering Orléans in 1429 from the English who had besieged the city.

In remarks during the announcement Tuesday, Landrieu called Orléans "a big sister” more than 1,700 years his city's senior, the French daily reported.

The new partnership is slated to revolve around the themes of entrepreneurship, water management and culture.

“This is a childhood dream,” Orléans' Carré said of the plan to twin two cities that, despite their lookalike names, had yet to enjoy any formal links.

Orléans, for its part, already has an American sister. The French city has been twinned with Wichita, Kansas, since 1973, formalising a bond forged during the Second World War with Kansan soldiers who helped liberate Orléans from Nazi occupation in 1944.

Date created : 2017-11-29

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