A group of citizens interested in establishing a French Sister City partnership have been meeting and researching proposed cities since May of 2012. By July 2012, these citizens formalized as an “Advocate Group” under guidelines adopted by SCNN in 2006 (click the button below to see our official policy for Affiliating with a New Sister City). The group identified at least 6 cities and at the suggestion of Mrs. Nicole Yancey, former Honorary French Consul-Hampton Roads, turned their attention to Saint-Nazaire in the Pays de la Loire region.
Saint-Nazaire is a major harbor on the right bank of the Loire estuary. Due to its location, it has a long tradition of fishing and shipbuilding. The city exists since the Antiquity but until the 19th century, remained a simple harbor. The modern city was created at the time of the 19th century industrialization. In addition, the area offers much tourism attraction such as beaches, boating, regattas, etc...
Saint Nazaire has a direct connection to Newport News dating back to World War I. The French port city received U.S. horses and supplies headed into the war in Europe - all of which departed from Newport News. According to Dick Hoffeditz, Curator of Newport News's own Virginia War Museum, "St. Nazaire was a port of embarkation (POE) during WWI much like Newport News was in WWI & WWII." A front-page feature article in the Daily Press by Mark St. John Erickson (December 1, 2014) entitled, "A City of Horses" details how Newport News became the principal port for the "shipment of animals, forage and heavy ordnance", that included by October of 1917, "a mammoth array of pens and stalls (that) would process nearly 60,000 horses and mules for the trip to France."
Interested in Learning More or Maybe Joining the French Advocacy Committee?
We still have a long way to go before an official partnership, but if you are ready to help make this community an official Sister City of Newport News, please contact us via email or call the SCNN office at 757.926.1348.
In April 2015 a small 'Exploratory Delegation" of three visited the French City to explore a relationship more fully under a “Friendship City” status. Early members of Sister Cities' Saint Nazaire Committee include, Mrs. Yancey , John Calver (past-President of SCNN), Lavern Flowers (French teacher at of Warwick High), Helen Small (NNPS Language Supervisor), Gordon Rivers and Shelly Fitzgerald, (both SCNN Directors and local business owners). Additionally, the Honorable Delegate David Yancey and Newport News City Councilwoman Dr. Pat Woodbury now serve as Honorary Co-Chairs.
Below are images of the 2017 visit.
Interested in Forming a New Sister City Relationship for Newport News?
SCNN has a policy for forming new relationships that includes: establishing an advocate group, identifying goals/objectives, and gaining sustained community support in the form of volunteers and financial contributions. If you are ready to learn more, click the blue button below or contact the SCNN office.