By Haley Pegg, Loyola Student News Service
Magazine Street has said “bonjour” to a new kind of bookstore, giving bilingual children an opportunity to further their education outside of school.
The French Library, a children’s bookstore with books in French, opened in June at 3811 Magazine St.
Last year’s enrollment records in Orleans and Jefferson parishes show more than 1,700 students are enrolled in French immersion programs.
The French Library is set up with two levels, the first including shelves full of books and decorative chairs. The upper level includes more books, tables and a mini café in the back with free coffee and sweets.
Katrina Greer, store owner, grew up in Trinidad surrounded by French language and culture. She wanted to be able to pass along that education to her children.
“My children started going to French immersion school, and when they started reading, I realized that there weren’t French books anywhere for them to read,” Greer said. “After a lot of traveling and bringing books back here, I decided to open a French bookshop.”
Suzanne Rossillon is the manager of the store.
“It’s great that we have this because a lot of the children who learn French here have parents that don’t speak French. … They can come here and read and just take time to speak to the sales people who all speak French. It’s a great way to, outside school, be in a French environment,” Rossillon said.
Marcia Grover brought her third-grade daughter to the French Library for the first time this past weekend. As a mother who does not speak French, she agreed with Rossillon that the bookstore is a great way for French-speaking children to meet and interact with each other. Grover’s daughter is a student in the French immersion program at the International School of Louisiana.
“I feel like she doesn’t really interact in French outside of school,” Grover said. “Here she can read the French books and immerse herself with the French-speaking children, so she’s getting a little bit more than what she just gets from school.”
The French Library also holds French classes and story time, where staff members read to children in groups. The event calendar can be found on the French Library’s website www.thefrenchlibrary.com. Store hours are Sundays 12-5 p.m. and Mondays to Saturdays 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Loyola Student News Service features reporters from advanced-level journalism classes at Loyola University New Orleans, directed by faculty advisers.