Montreal·Profile

Learning French through community and family

Loretta Noël first learned French because she wanted her children to be bilingual but her involvement in the New Carlisle community has her practicing all the time.
Loretta Noël is an active citizen of New Carlisle, Que. where she takes part in the monthly Howl At the Moon event and works hard to maintain her level of French. (CBC)

When her husband got a job with Canadian National Railway in the 1960s, Loretta Noël moved to New Carlisle, Que. where the Jacquet River, N.B. native made a concerted effort to learn French.

That was more than 50 years ago now and 75-year-old Noël is actively involved in the Baie des Chaleurs community.

"I really wanted to speak the language because I wanted my children to be bilingual," Noël told CBC’s Quebec AM about learning French.

"If I could do it, anybody can do it. In an English community, I learned to speak French... I have French friends here, I have English friends and everybody gets along.""

Noël is an active member of New Carlisle’s monthly social event called Howl At the Moon and is an advocate for preserving some of the town’s architectural gems.

"Certainly there’s a community that is vibrant and alive here," she said.

"People get together for good things - birthdays and holidays - and in sadness, people also rally together and support each other."

Still, even after living in New Carlisle for more than 50 years, she also calls Jacquet River, just across the bay, home as well.

"I have two homes," she said.

"When I go, I say to my sister-in-law ‘I’m coming home!’ When I’m leaving, I say ‘I’m going home!’"