Bringing the region’s notable French colonial history to the attention of the general public.
Les Amis (“The Friends”), a Missouri not-for-profit corporation, was organized in 1994 as a permanent support group for the French heritage programs of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Its origins are rooted in the French Heritage Relief Committee formed during the Flood of 1993 for the preservation and support of the endangered historic resources of Ste. Genevieve and the surrounding historic French colonial corridor. Sparked by the Committee’s donation of the 18th century Amoureux House to the state park system, Les Amis promotes the preservation, interpretation, and purchase of historic property in Missouri’s unique French colonial region.
Since its inception, Les Amis has sponsored dozens of programs, tours, and lectures contributing to a greater understanding of the French colonial heritage of the region. In creating La Fête Française, the organization sought to bring together historic tours, lectures, music, and atmosphere in a French festival spanning three French colonial communities – St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, and Cape Girardeau. Les Amis’ annual sponsorship of the Ste. Genevieve Historic Preservation Field School and a 10-week historic site internship continues to foster new support for the preservation of Ste. Genevieve’s important French colonial structures. Most recently, the creation of a 9′ by 11′ diorama depicting the early village of Ste. Genevieve was due to generous support from Les Amis and their fund raising efforts.
Les Amis’ greatest achievement, and indeed its most daunting continuing task, is to bring the region’s notable French colonial history to the attention of the general public. Public interest and concern is vital to the continued preservation and further understanding of Missouri’s colonial past.
The mission of Les Amis is to promote education, preservation and awareness of French Creole heritage and culture in the mid- Mississippi River Valley.