Biographical / Historical
Born at Le Havre in Normandy, in 1892, Jules Vern came to this country in 1930. Jules Vern was called in 1934 to the University of Houston to occupy a chair of professor of French; he organized the study of French so it would be a pleasure for his students to learn this language. When the Cullen Building was opened, he decorated his vast classroom with oil paintings, glass closets containing collections of rare objects, and shelves holding documentary books and foreign magazines. Soon his department was outstanding. He created a club, Le Quartier Latin, and a newspaper that he humorously called Le Feuille de Chou, written and published by his students.
With great success, he had previously founded Le Petit Théâtre Français de Houston, where many of the plays were his own and where French speaking Houstonians, professors of French, including the founder, and students performed. The French Government recognized his efforts in awarding him the decoration Officier d’Académie.
But the great achievement of his life has been the creations of Le Bayou. Jules Vern had the ambitious idea to publish a French magazine in Houston, a magazine in which would be found novels, short stories, essays, critiques, folklore, legends, and poetry concerning France and the South of the United States. In spite of financial difficulties, his tremendous will and perseverance brought success, and Le Bayou was born. In the following years, Le Bayou became known the world over, and was praised by the most prominent writers, not only of France, but of all the French-speaking countries. In 1946, the Academie Française granted to this magazine Le Prix de la Langue Française and a medal engraved with its name. Later, Jules A. Vern received coveted decoration of Officier de l’Instruction Publique as a reward for his literary achievements.