Pledging to continue the success of its inaugural year, Daniel “Danny” Nugier took over the reins of the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors during ceremonies Wednesday night at the Grand Opera House. The inaugural Acadia Parish Honors banquet and awards ceremony capped the first year of operation of the parishwide Chamber and a full house was on hand to congratulate the board and welcome new members. Nugier, a Real Estate Broker for Southwest Real Estate, LLC, also promised to move forward with the recently announced Creative Placemaking Initiative plans parishwide and to actively pursue the development of the I-10 Service Road business district.
In addition to the “Chamber business,” a number of honors were awarded during Wednesday’s ceremonies. Introduced by Sandy Melancon, Louise Morrow was honored as the Humanitarian of the Year. “If I had received this honor 30 years ago, I would have had a profound, eloquent and long, long speech. Be grateful for my age,” she said to the laughter of the crowd. Morrow credited her strong faith for carrying through the “mostly good times” of her life. “I’ve been a member of St. Michael Catholic Church for 90 years now,” she added to a round of applause.
Board Member Claire Benoit introduced this year recipient of the Outstanding Business Person of the Year award, Dr. Eddie and Ann Palmer, owners of Antiques on the Avenue in Rayne. Ann Palmer thanked the Chamber for the recognition, adding, “We were fortunate to have landed in Rayne and to have known all the wonderful people of Rayne and Acadia Parish.” Dr. Palmer noted that he and his wife have been “able to merge our love of history and our love of antiques together” in a successful business in Rayne. He said Antiques on the Avenue “allows us to engage in treasure hunting and validate our approach to business.”
Also recognized during the annual awards ceremony were outstanding graduating seniors representing each of Acadia Parish’s seven high schools.
Introduced by Board Member and Morse Elementary Principal April Mixon, those students included:
• Grace Bernard of Notre Dame High School of Acadia Parish;
• Christina Brown of Northside Christian School;
• Leah Colson of Rayne High School;
• Donald Doucet of Crowley High School;
• Gabrielle Morvant of Church Point High School;
• Erica Roy of Midland High School; and
• Madison Sittig of Iota High School.
Following the presentation of awards, Thibodeaux reflected on the first year of the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce, saying she was “overwhelmed with gratitude” for the support the organization received from all areas of the parish. “Thanks to our members, we were able to do the work we do in our community.” Thibodeaux pointed out that the Chamber has impacted more than 4,000 attendees at 25 events over the past year. “Our board is hungry, focused and challenged,” she said. “Hungry to help our businesses achieve success; focused on our effort, and challenged to continue our success. “The status quo is not acceptable for our team.” Thibodeaux also lauded the work ethic of her staff, Megan M. Malmay, manager of member services; and Kathryn Shea Duncan, coordinator of special projects.
Members leaving the board of directors this year include Christine Benoit, Farmers State Bank; Tom Trahan, Bank of Commerce; Pat Bordes II, Fezzo’s Seafood, Steakhouse and Oyster Bar; Jeremy Patin, First Investment Services; and Rep. John Stefanski, Edwards, Stefanski and Zaunbrecher. The three new members of the board of directors include, Meg Bier Heidtman, LSU – Eunice; Heather LaBouve, The Bank; and Jeremiah Meck, Acadia-St. Landry Hospital.
Thank you Mr. J.C. Webb for these incredible photos!
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