2014 Bass Pro Shops Central Open #2 presented by Allstate
Red River - Shreveport, LA, Apr 24 - 26, 2014

15 days & a bass boat

Don Barone
Jean-Christophe David has come to America from France to pursue his dreams.

About the author

Don Barone

Don Barone

db has been in the reporting biz for over 30 years, won some Emmys and other awards, but is proudest of his four-decade marriage, his two kids and the fact he founded Tackle The Storm Foundation to help children.

“On the boats and on the planes…”

Dateline:  France

Buried deep down in my DNA chain,

is a tiny island,

in the Mediterranean Sea.

Buried deep down in my DNA chain,

is a big island,

in the Atlantic.

Buried deep down in my DNA chain,

is a country that sits,

near the top of the planet.

I am, like millions of other folks in this country,

a mutt.

I was born and raised on this soil, American soil, I am of its dirt, but only because of the grace of my Grandparents.

From Sicily, they came.

From Ireland, they came.

From Canada, they came

From England, they came.

And as my Grandfather used to tell me when I was a punk kid and didn’t care much about it, “Donnie, we came here for you.”

One of the biggest regrets I have in life is I never said Thank You for what they did for me.

My Grandfather, Clay, 30 years in the steel plant, built cities with the molten steel that he poured into the molds that became beams.

My Grandfather, Sylvester, opened a furniture store on the West Side of Buffalo, the Italian section of town, and when new families came to America and needed furniture but didn’t have the money to pay for it…furniture would still show up at their house.  One time, and I know this for a fact, he sold a complete bedroom set, for a bushel of apples.

I learned of America NOT by sitting through history lessons in school, but through the laps I sat on at home.

My fierce love of this country comes not from the political gibberish bombarding us, my love of this country comes from the folks who loved me and who gave up EVERYTHING they had,

to be here.

And if possible,

they loved being here,

more than I do.

I grew up in the land of haves; they grew up in the land of wants. And that’s a huge difference.

“Donnie, you don’t see many people, you know, how you say, run from America, in my country, in my country, we run.”

I tell you all of this because at registration for the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open, of all places, I run smack dab into my heritage of comin’ to America.

Flashbacks over fried catfish.

“db, I am Jean-Christophe David and I am here from France.”

“You visiting?”

“No, I come to teach, I am a school teacher, I come here to teach, but I also come here to fish. I love Bass fishing.”

And then Jean-Christophe smiles and through his smile, with his head tilted some, he tells me, “I here in America 15 days and I buy a Bass boat, a Nitro.”


“…they're coming to America…”

 “I came here last July.”

If you come to America, come here in July, because July is when America came to America.

“I’m from a small island in France…”

“Excuse me…an island in France…”

“Yes, in Northwest France in the Atlantic, it’s called Île de Groix. It’snot very big, only about 5 miles long, 2 miles side to side. All my family, we from there.”

Yeah, I’ll save you the time, I Googled it. He’s not fooling; France does have an island.  Looked like a nice place from the photos I saw on Google.

“I’m a school teacher. I taught 3rdgrade in Paris at the Jules Valles  School (yeah, I looked up that one, too).

Not one moment that I talked to Jean-Christophe did he ever stop smiling.

“I come here to teach in an Immersion Project at a school in Lake Charles.”

I have no idea what he is talking about and before I can ask he says, “In the school here, there are five classes of 3rdgraders; one of those groups I get to teach. I teach them Math, Science, and Social Studies but I teach it to them completely in French. All of the classes I teach to the children are in French, and they all speak French in class.”

You go, Louisiana, very cool.

“It’s an effort to maintain the French heritage of Louisiana.”

“…got a dream they've come to share…”