July 4th, Fifi the 2CV, and Mrs. Virginia!

By Peter Kristensen…

The Kingdom of France was the first friendly country of the new United States. The 1778 Treaty of Alliance between the two countries and the subsequent aid provided from France proved decisive in the American victory over Britain in the American Revolutionary War. The city of Washington, D.C., designed by Frenchborn architect Pierre L’Enfant, was inspired by the city of Paris.

Given this confluence of history there was no hesitation for Elizabeth Frost Pierson, also known as Libby to her friends – a Eurocentric-American who has lived in France for over two decades  – when she was asked to offer her Citroën 2CV as a part of the 58th July 4 Parade of the Palisades Community Association in Washington, D.C., where she grew up and now lives. 

Libby is part of the D.C. – area group of Citroënistes with a passion for all things French. A curator, gallery director and activist, her new D.C. – based consultancy, Longhouse, is an expression of her transatlantic orientation and her strong belief that art and culture have an important role to play in society today. Many times, we have spoken about what public events we could establish or join to share the beauty and elegance of our Citroëns. “Watch this space!,” Libby said, knowing that charming cars have their role as connectors among people.

Libby pulled up in the line of floats with music, dancers and advocacy groups, in the Northwest neighborhood of the Palisades, D.C., and wondered what group she and her “happy” car “Fifi”, as she calls her, were going to be assigned to. Fifi is a 1988 2CV-6 Special in color Rouge Vallelunga, a right-hand drive model she bought out of the barn of a friend in southern England and that she meticulously restored inside and out, complete with black leather seats and red trim to match.

It turned out that Libby would be driving Mrs. Virginia America, Keyandra “Kiki” Whiteside, Associate Director of Development at the George Washington University Law School who, like Libby, is focused on relationship building. Kiki burst out excitedly “Oh wow, do I really get to go in that one?”

With high-heels handed off to her husband Mike – who kept Libby cool up front with a fan she brought in the place of AC, which as you Citroënistes know is not a feature in a 2CV  – she stepped onto the rear soft seats and held on to the crossbar. Kiki’s crimson dress matched Fifi to perfection and voila!, off they went, with a photographer from Getty Images immediately on the scene to capture the day.

The 58th July 4th parade in the Palisades DC was a nostalgic celebration that featured a wide diversity of floats with Bolivian dancers, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, advocacy groups like Safe Streets for Cyclists, skateboarders, and those honoring the police force and firefighters.

But it was even better with the red Fifi-the-happy-2CV, carrying 2024 Mrs Virginia Kiki who waved like a queen to the crowd, Mike and Libby. “Great car!”, “Vive l’Indépendance!”, “Best in show!” were some of the shouts they heard, with Libby returning the comments – loyal to her French racines, and with a deference to the historic and enduring friendship between our two great nations – “Vive la France!”

One great day with a lovely Citroën and people having a good time.

Happy July 4th!

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