Newly minted Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent Pat Cooper received a warm Ragin’ Cajun welcome recently during a reception sponsored by the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council. The event, held at the Acadiana Center for the Arts downtown, gave the council’s member organizations a chance to meet and talk one-on-one with the new super, while also hearing his plans for improving Lafayette Parish public schools and reducing the achievement gap at north Lafayette’s failing schools. Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel was on hand to welcome Cooper with a key to the city, only to be topped by UL Lafayette President Joe Savoie, who gave Cooper a Ragin’ Cajuns football jersey commemorative of the team’s big win in the New Orleans bowl.
Gary Luquette, president of Chevron North America Exploration and Production Co., delivered the keynote address at the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet at the Cajundome Convention Center in early February. The event also ushered in the chairmanship of Fugro Chance Chief Information Officer Jerry Greig and presented the Acadiana Innovation Awards to the Twin Parish Port Regional Economic Development Initiatives and Dupré Logistics. In the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane season, the town of Delcambre emerged as a model of community resilience and redevelopment, with the Port of Delcambre adopting the vision of Dr. Rod Emmer from Louisiana Sea Grant and embracing regionalism.
By working with Dr. Tom Sammons of UL’s architecture department, Thomas Hymel with Louisiana Sea Grant, the LSU landscape architecture program, and Dr. Geoffrey Stewart from marketing in the Moody College at UL, the port modernized and created a web-based seafood market called “Delcambre Direct,” which links a regional consumer market with local fishermen. It also constructed a new 28-boat marina in the heart of Delcambre. Because of those efforts, the Twin Parish Port Regional Economic Development Initiatives won the public sector category of the Acadiana Innovation Awards.
Port Commission president of the Twin Parish Port District, Jeff LeBlanc accepted the award. Dupré Logistics won the private sector category. Faced with an industry-wide truck driver shortage, Dupré Logistics has been raising the bar for both safety and driver retention through its Employee Safety Program. The key features of the program include paying an hourly, rather than mile-based, wage; partnership with the Center for Work Rehabilitation to help retrain drivers who have been out of work; predictive accident monitoring analysis; use of GreenRoad technology to increase efficiency; and a focus on partnership with employees as part of its “Ideal Place to Work” strategy.
1. Chip Jackson, Pat Cooper, Joby John and Gerald Carson
2. Robbie Bush, Margaret Dygas, Thelmi McGoffin, state Rep. Stephen Ortego and Ted Hoyt
3. John Milton, Vivica Pierre, Forrest Chaisson and Stephen Bartley
4. Gerald Carson, Steve Oubre, and Mazie and Kam Movassaghi
5. Kermit and Debbie Bouillon and Jerry Greig
6. Jerry Greig and Don Briggs
7. Gary P. Luquette and Dave Welch
8. Jean-Paul Coussan, Sharon Moss and Jim Keaty
9. Nancy Trahan, Flo Meadows and Nanette Heggie
10. Andre Huval, Terry Huval, Jan Swift and Taylor Swift
11. Andy and Don Begneaud
Chamber images by LightWriter Photography Studio