Bernard Champey Memorial Bench
Bernard Champey recently died in his beloved village of Antraigues sur Volane, Ardeche, in the south of France at age 69 on September 19, 2021, suffering from pancreatic cancer.
The local petanque club and francophone community in Louisiana wish to commemorate his contributions to Louisiana and indeed the world through physical memorials and social events in Lafayette Louisiana.
Who was Bernard Champey?
Bernard Champey was a four times world champion of petanque, the French national sport. The game is played with metal balls, which are rolled ideally on hard packed earth, but can be played on the seashore, a gravel road or indeed someone’s lawn. He taught the game throughout the Europe, and the United States. Largely through his efforts, there are more petanque players in China than in his native France.
He treasured the culture of Lafayette, which he visited for a month or two each spring when the Lafayette International Petanque Festival was held in Girard Park. He especially liked going to the park to meet his friends to play petanque and to amble around the park’s walking trail. Formal petanque courts as designed in France were built and maintained in the park by the community in partnership with Lafayette Consolidated Government.
The petanque festival began in 2005 in which a simple tournament was held sponsored by the local petanque club, La Boule Cadienne de Lafayette (the French Ball of Lafayette). As the years progressed, the event evolved to include teaching sessions taught by Champey and the French government’s Ministry of Sport in partnership with Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL). The sessions were held at French immersion schools throughout the state including Lafayette, Ville Platte, Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
The proposal calls for a bench and plaque near the existing petanque courts in Girard Park. Adjacent to the courts are three live oaks, largest of which is proposed to be named in his memory.
Here is an example of the bench and plaque as pictured below: