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One of the more pleasant surprises in my life has been discovering that Jacques Marquette – Jesuit priest, 17th-c. French explorer, and namesake of Marquette University, where I got my master’s degree – was born in Laon, France, where I was born too.

When my father and I visited Laon in June, some of his friends there knew all about Père Marquette. Dad’s friend Bernard was the one who pointed us in the direction of a plaque devoted to him, which turned out to be a park, which turned out to be right behind our hotel.

I told Bernard I was writing about this for OnMilwaukee.com here in the States, and he went into town and took pictures of the house where Marquette is believed to have been born: 52 Rue Châtelaine. The essay was published earlier this month in OnMilwaukee.com. Thanks to them, and a hearty thank you to Bernard for going up the hill to snap the photo.

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Parts of two streets in Laon are also named for Jacques Marquette.

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