A generous benefactor with six decades of oil running through his veins, Bo Ramsay earns LAGCOE’s highest honor.

This year the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition placed the symbolic golden hardhat onto Dwight S. “Bo” Ramsay. As the 2011 LAGOE Looey, Ramsay receives the show’s highest honor “in recognition of his years of service in the oil and gas industry and his tireless commitment to his community,” organizers said in announcing the selection.

Ramsay, a certified geologist, has six decades of experience in oil and gas exploration. In 1952, he began his oil industry career work in his home state of Arkansas where he was a roughneck and well logger. He discovered sizeable fields in Montana, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Ramsay then became president of Alco Oil and Gas and started his own exploration company, Ramco Exploration Inc.

Now, his offshore marine company, Aries Marine Corporation, employs more than 350 people. Formed by Ramsay in early 1981, the privately held company owns and operates self-elevating workboats and supply vessels in the Gulf of Mexico.

A World War II and Korean Conflict veteran, Ramsay is a member of the Lafayette Geological Society and the Colorado and Kansas Societies, as well as the Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists. He is the co-owner of Farm d’Allie Golf Club, president of Ramsay Corporation, and a founding trustee of the Episcopal School of Acadiana, where he serves as chairman. In 2007, the Planned Giving Council of Acadiana recognized him as its Outstanding Philanthropist.

LAGCOE Looey, 1955-2009

2009- Frank W. Harrison Jr. - Optimistic Oil Company
2007- C. Paul Hilliard - Badger Oil Corporation
2005- show canceled due to Hurricane Katrina
2003- John E. Chance - C&C Technologies
2001- Gloria Knox - Oil Properties (first female LAGCOE Looey)
1999- William J. Dore - Global Industries
1997- Donald Mosing - Frank’s Casing Crew & Rental Tools
1995- Joe Trahan - Trojan Rental & Sales
1993- Charlie Milam - Petro-Drive Inc.
1991- Ken Upton - Southern Mud & Equipment
1989- Al George - AGI Industries
1987- John Daigre - Edwin L. Cox
1985- Howard Clemons - Service Truck Line
1983- I. D. “Cotton” Ellis - Atlantic Refining Company, Soloco
1981- Charles Kerin - MAGCO Bar
1979- Homer Fred Staggs - Penrod Drilling Company
1977- R. J. “Bronc” Foreman - Lafayette Well Service
1975- Arthur F. Barry - The Superior Oil Company
1973- Baker Littlefield - Power Rig Drilling Company
1971- Bill Leece - Comet Drilling
1969- Frank Syfan - Amoco
1967- J.P Owen, Jr. - Drilling contractor and independent
1965- R. D. Cloninger - Independent
1964- Gene Fullen - Mallard Well Service
1963- Peyton W. Creney - Sohio
1962- Irby L. Hogue - Sohio
1961- Darrell “Nubbin” Elston - Pernie Bailey Drilling Company
1960- W. J. “Mumpsy” Wallace - Sohio
1959- R. A. “Bugs” Blasigame - Signal Oil & Gas
1958- Gay Moss - Sohio
1957- Rip Collins - Service company (rental tools) CAMCO
1956- Stan Stockstill - Drilling company
1955- Lyle Cummins - Independent

Ware’s Farewell

This year’s LAGCOE will go down in history for many reasons: There was no negative impact on the show from the drilling moratorium of 2010 that continues to drag the industry down, it’s got a waiting list of more than 200, and it’s the final curtain call for longtime Executive Director Sally Ware.

Ware will retire at the end of the year after working almost 32 years to build LAGCOE into one of the largest petroleum industry conferences in the country. The first show was held in 1955, and Ware joined the team that puts it together 25 years later, initially serving as executive secretary and assuming the top post of executive director in 1994.

In 1995, with guidance from several past LAGCOE chairmen, Ware spearheaded the show’s relocation from Blackham Coliseum to the Cajundome. Eight years later it took another giant leap forward with the opening of the Cajundome Convention Center.  — Leslie Turk

Bringing the fun back to T-shirts

The ‘so South Louisiana’ apparel company’s new store, in the old Fun Shop on Jefferson Street, is a launching pad for siblings Bram and Jillian Johnson to take their local business to the next level.

The brother-sister T-shirt teamsters behind Parish Ink apparel company are settling in to a new downtown store.

Parish Ink owners Bram and Jillian Johnson, the brains behind a popular line of South Louisiana T-shirts, have joined their business partner, Downtown T-shirts owner Tom Brown, in turning the old Fun Shop on Jefferson Street into a “trifecta of creative businesses.”
The T-shirt company is known for its catchy locally inspired designs like the “Ain’t Boudin Grand?” and “Chank-a-chank” tees.

Before moving to the former Fun Shop, the Johnson duo housed their company at Downtown T-Shirts at the corner of Lee and Vermilion streets. But with no signage that pointed patrons in the direction of Parish Ink, the Johnson duo decided that a more permanent place for their T-shirt haven was needed to bring the business in line with its competitors.

“All the other companies that sell T-shirts like this took it to the next level when they branched out into a store,” Jillian Johnson says.
“We needed that landing place. People are always asking where our shop is. We ultimately needed a spot.”

The new store, Jillian says, also houses the office space for WORKagencies, Bram and Jillian’s web design company, as well as the production facility for Downtown T-shirts. The Johnson duo worked with Brown to renovate the Jefferson Street storefront.
“We’ll mind the shop and do our work from that space. It’s a trifecta of creative businesses,” Jillian says. ­— Anna Purdy

Cafè Cohen opens in Great Harvest

Coffee and teas have been bountiful since Café Cohen opened inside of Great Harvest Bread Company.

Great Harvest has been at its Kaliste Saloom Road location now for several years serving freshly baked breads, both savory and sweet, as well as muffins, cookies, sandwiches and salads. Now when you walk in its doors to the very right, tucked into the corner, is the delicious addition of a café specializing in finely made coffees, teas and brewed chocolate.

Jason Cohen and his wife Jenny spent all of July in Portland, Ore., researching coffee bars. Jason’s first passion is photography, but his second is to be caffeinated and spread that kind of love to people in Lafayette. “We wanted to open a coffee place in Great Harvest because of the sense of community,” he says. “We’re not just handing you a cup of coffee over a counter.”

The coffee they use, Cultivar, is never more than two weeks from its roast date. The method employed is called the clever method, roughly speaking a filtered version of the French press method. The result is a smooth, rich coffee that isn’t acrid and doesn’t sit too heavily on the tongue.

If coffee isn’t your bag, try one of the teas or get something with chocolate.

Cafè Cohen’s hours mimic Great Harvest’s: Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed on Sundays. — Anna Purdy

Mercedes-Benz inks Superdome naming rights

Sharon Moss has a lot to smile about.

Six years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and turned the Superdome into the shelter of last resort, the city continues to rebuild, the Saints are on another winning streak and the totally renovated dome has a new name. Like many other professional football teams, the Saints have sold the naming rights to the Superdome to luxury German carmaker Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes dealers across the state, like Moss, and country stand to benefit tremendously from the exposure.

The Saints and the state announced the 10-year deal Oct. 4 but did not make public the financial arrangement, only confirming that it’s significant enough to end the state’s direct subsidy. The first change will be effective with the Oct. 23 Monday Night Football game between the Saints and Colts.

Saints owner Tom Benson owns Mercedes dealerships in New Orleans and San Antonio.

The 36-year-old Superdome, one of the best-situated stadiums in the NFL because of its accessibility and proximity to New Orleans’ rich culture, was so severely damaged during Hurricane Katrina that many lawmakers thought it should be demolished. Then Gov. Kathleen Blanco, however, ordered a quick renovation, and it reopened for the 2006 Saints season. The state has paid about $336 million for a series of renovations since the storm. — Leslie Turk

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