Oak Cliff’s Bastille on Bishop street festival is a celebration of our community’s ties to the early French “La Reunion” settlement. In 1855, when Dallas was only 14 years old, a group of 200 mostly French settlers led by Victor Considerant made their way from Houston by ox cart to setup a “Utopian Community” based on the socialist ideas of Charles Fourier in what is now North Oak Cliff. Considerant had fled the armies of Napolean III after he’d staged a series of protests against the Roman Expansion. The community brought Dallas its first piano and beer brewery, and though it would collapse with a few years, many of the settlers who disbanded would later move to the city of Dallas and formed much of the cultural endeavors that made the young city stand out from other landlocked communities.
One of the La Reunion inhabitants, François Jean Cantagrel, would later return to France and become the Vice Mayor of Paris. Other notables included former Conductor of the Paris Odeon, Allyre Bureau.
The caliber of individuals that set out to call Oak Cliff home was awe-inspiring, and imagining these highly cultured people setting down stakes which would later create the foundation for many of the major art endeavors throughout Dallas in the 19th century is worthy of a street celebration!
Help us honor our past by heading out to Bastille on Bishop, July 14th from 6PM to 10PM.