Marc Onetto, member of the Lapérouse Alaska Association and of the Lapérouse France Association, informs us of the progress made on the project to repair the Lapérouse monument in Hawaii. The objective is to better protect the monument, reinforce its visibility and its educational value.
Renovation La Pérouse monument Maui
Marc was able to involve Thierry Chaunu, president of the Souvenir Français in the USA, who has now taken the project in hand with enthusiasm and energy because the Lapérouse Memorial is at the heart of the Souvenir Français mission to promote and preserve French heritage in the USA. He was also able to get help from the local authorities represented by Mr. Daniel Ornellas, District manager of the Department of Land and Natural Resources of the State of Hawaii.
Mr. Daniel ORNELLAS
Mr. Peter LANDON
Mr. Pat BORGE
Mr. Thierry CHAUNU
As you can see, the Lapérouse monument has suffered the ravages of time and requires restoration and landscaping.
The bronze plaque will need to be restored and cleaned. The height of the stele itself will have to be reduced, to prevent tourists from climbing on it and damaging the lava stone foundation. The restoration of the missing lava stones at the base of the stele will complete the operation on the monument itself.
The creation of an access path leading from the road to the monument will facilitate the visit of the monument.
It will also be helpful to have signage that is consistent with the other vertical metal signs located in the adjacent parking lot. The metal bollard similar to those used at the Customs House in Lahaina, will provide a contextual explanation of La Pérouse and his 1785-1788 Pacific exploration odyssey. The factual and neutral text will be submitted by ASSFI for approval.
The rededication ceremony included a blessing of the monument by the local priest and an invocation for protection according to traditional Hawaiian customs.
The presence of representatives of the French Navy, along with their counterparts from the US Navy, is envisaged. T. Chaunu will seek an honor guard, a possible visit by a French Navy ship, and French consular authorities, along with the local French community. Local school children and their history teachers will be invited.
Le Souvenir Français
Le Souvenir Français is a French association of public utility whose president is under the high authority of the president of the Republic. It was created after the Franco-Prussian war, in 1887, in a patriotic concern to honor the dead” explains Thierry Chaunu, president of The American Society of Le Souvenir Français for one year.
With more than two hundred thousand members in France and in the world, the mission of the Souvenir Français is to honor and maintain the graves of the soldiers who fought for France. “It is in France that the majority of the soldiers who fell for France are buried – and in France that we find the most “Souvenir Français” plaques. In foreign countries, there are military cemeteries where soldiers are buried and, there, it is the local associations of the Souvenir Français that take care of the maintenance of the graves, of the flowers, and of honoring the memory of the soldiers with ceremonies” explains Mr. Chaunu.
to add, “In the United States, we are the American chapter of the Souvenir Français, with the difference that we are an American non-profit association that allows us to collect donations, which are essential to the association’s mission.