American Friends of LaFayette spend the weekend celebrating Marquis de LaFayette

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, June 13, 2023

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Over the weekend, more than 100 admirers of the Marquis de Lafayette descended onto downtown LaGrange in honor of the local favorite French son.

Starting on Thursday, the American Friends of Lafayette (AFL) held its annual gathering in LaGrange with a weekend filled with events on all things about the Marquis, from a mock debate on the Marquis’ reasons for coming to America to multiple theatrical performances on his life featuring dozens of local community members in full French regalia.

During the opening gala, Mayor Willie Edmondson presented AFL with a proclamation naming Saturday, June 10 as American Friends of Lafayette Day in LaGrange.  Throughout the day on Saturday, actors portraying Lafayette and his comrades were at the downtown square bearing his name and visage atop the fountain.

For those unfamiliar, Marquis de Lafayette, or General Lafayette as he preferred to be called, was a French aristocrat and military officer who fought in the Revolutionary War and helped lead American troops to victory over Britain.

During Lafayette’s return tour of America in 1825, he passed close to the area where LaGrange currently sits and remarked that the landscape resembled his home in France, Château de la Grange-Bléneau.

The city was later named LaGrange in his honor.

For Lafayette Day on Saturday, actors portraying Lafayette in full uniform (portrayed by re-enactor Ben Goldman), his wife Adrienne, (played by Tara Laurel Little) and James Armistead, the African American man whom Lafayette recruited to spy on Lord Cornwallis (played by Zeke Weldon), were on the square for photos and a quick history lesson on their characters.

Visitors were also treated to trolley rides around Downtown LaGrange on the “Lafayette Trolley,” which was a particular hit for kids and their parents.

Visit LaGrange was also open Saturday to host an art exhibit on Lafayette.

For AFL, the weekend had everything that a fan of Lafayette could want including a multi-course dinner featuring the menu served at his wedding to Adrianne and a trip to Fort Mitchell where he is believed to have made the reference to his home in France that gave the city its name.