A walkabout in the mythical “French Quarter” to conclude his State visit to the United States: Emmanuel Macron went to New Orleans on Friday, a city emblematic of historic Franco-American ties, to celebrate Francophonie and … meet Elon Musk.
The day after a sumptuous reception at the White House which sealed the French president’s “friendship” with his American counterpart, Joe Biden, the French president offered himself and his wife Brigitte a stroll through the very lively little streets. downtown .
Emmanuel Macron, in shirt sleeves, was greeted with “Welcome Sir”, in French in the text. He and the first lady posed with young children in the arms given to them by parents for a photo.
A moment that contrasts with the first two very official days of his visit, between meeting on nuclear power and space, speeches at the embassy and speeches to American parliamentarians.
After this walk under much milder weather than the winter sun in Washington, Emmanuel Macron announced from the New Orleans art museum a new plan, “French For All”, to promote the teaching of French. in the USA.
To make French “a language of cultural and economic opportunities” and make its practice less “elitist”, the program aims to “expand and develop” the teaching of Molière’s language “from kindergarten to higher education”. , said the French president.
He hailed earlier, during an improvised press briefing, the “land of creolization” that is Louisiana, “where French is loved, is expected”.
But before speaking – and in all discretion – Mr. Macron met for an hour with Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, whimsical boss of Tesla, SpaceX and now Twitter, a social network where he limited moderation and cut thousands of jobs.
The French president tweeted that he had had “a clear and sincere discussion” with Mr. Musk and exchanged in particular on “future green industrial projects, such as the production of electric vehicles and batteries”.
Elon Musk said in response “impatient” about “exciting projects in France”, without detailing them further.
birthplace of jazz
He had previously met with the Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, to discuss in particular the issue of climate change and, according to the Élysée, “the strengthening of relations in the energy field” – Louisiana being a major exporter of gas liquefied natural.
Accompanied by the film director Claude Lelouch and the dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, Emmanuel Macron was also to meet actors of cultural life in this city, the cradle of jazz, the day after a gala dinner at the White House hosted by the pianist virtuoso Jon Batiste, from a musical family in New Orleans.
On Thursday, during a visit overflowing with diplomatic affection, Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden displayed their unity over Ukraine, demonstrating their desire to seek a solution to the war together, and smoothed over the economic disputes that had dominated the build-up to their one-on-one in the Oval Office.
“Before I set foot in the dish”, the question of the impact of the American climate plan (IRA) on European industries was “not a debate”, neither in France nor in the United States, has he said during his walkabout on Friday. “Now everyone is talking about it, it’s a good thing. »
Speaking about the question of the “exemptions” demanded in the United States for European industries, he declared: “by the beginning of next year”, in the first quarter of 2023, “we must have been able to settle this subject”, “we have to finalize these subjects”.
After a dinner far from the cameras with a dozen representatives of the cultural life of New Orleans, the president was to fly to Paris.