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Honors as Oustanding Young Citizens during Wednesday’s Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce awards ceremonies were, from left, Christina Brown, Northside Christian; Grace Bernard, Notre Dame; Madison Sittig, Iota High; Donand Doucet Jr., Crowley High; Erica Roy, Midland High; Leah Colson, Rayne High; and Gabrielle Morvant, Church Point High.

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Louise Morrow, left, was honored as the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce Humanitarian of the Year while Ann and Dr. Eddie Palmer were recognized as the Business Persons of the Year during Wednesday night’s Acadia Parish Honors banquet and ceremonies at The Grand Opera House.

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Completing the year as members of the board of directors of the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce are, front from left, Melinda Malmay, Tom Trahan, Glenn Dailey, Christine Benoit, Kelli Doré, Claire Benoit, Tracy Young, Angelique Credeur, Chance Henry, Amy Thibodeaux; back from left, Danny Nugier, Lee Lawrence, Jackie Loewer, Pat Bordes II, April Mixon, Kyle Gordon, Trenton Leonards and Rep. John Stefanski.

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Recently elected members of the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors are, from left, Chance Henry, Heather LaBouve, Meg Bier Heidtman and Jeremiah Meck.

Acadia Parish Honors

Chamber of Commerce hosts awards banquet

Pledging to continue the success of its inaugural year, Daniel “Danny” Nugier took over the reigns 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 development of the I-10 Service Road business district.
“Crime prevention also is an important subject — safe communities breed better communities,” Nugier said. “We will continue to host the quarterly Police Chiefs’ Breakfast and will once again host the Law Enforcement Conference, which keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.”
Nugier succeeds Melinda Malmay as chairman of the Chamber’s board of directors.
“Melinda will officially go down as the first chairman of the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce,” said Chamber President and CEO Amy Thibodeaux of the outgoing chair.
In an earlier address, Malmay thanked the board and Chamber members for their support throughout the prior year and, referencing a statement made by last year’s outgoing chairman, Trenton Leonards, said, “Our bold, new story is being written.”
She urged new members to “relish every minute of service” before closing with a quote from Margaret “Meg” Wheatley, an American writer and management consultant: “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”
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.
She encouraged the recipients of this year’s Outstanding Youth awards to “volunteer, be a role model to your younger brothers and sisters and to others.”
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.
Just as she opened on a light note, Morrow closed on one.
“In 1994, my brother, J.W. Landry, was your Humanitarian of the Year so I guess that kind of cuts me down to second place,” she laughed. “But we always knew he was first and I thank you and appreciate this high honor.”
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.”
Originally from Tremont, Mississippi, the Palmers, married for 52 years, have dedicated their lives to the studies of art, history and storytelling.
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.
Explaining that their business is located in a historic building constructed in 1884, Dr. Palmer said, “The old People’s Drug Store is a magnet for people to come in and reminisce and to talk about a variety of things that are still on their minds today.”
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.
Each was presented a plaque and a scholarship check from the Chamber of Commerce.
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.”
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.
Returning members along with Nugier are Claire Benoit, Rayne Building and Loan; Angelique Credeur, Southwind Healthcare and Rehabilitation; Glenn Dailey, Acadia General Hospital; Kelli Doré, Home Health and Hospice; Kyle Gordon, Gator Custom Graphix; Chance Henry, Keith Henry Insurance; Lee Lawrence, PL3 Associates; Jackie Loewer, Loewer Brothers Farms; April Mixon, Morse Elementary; and Tracy Young, T-Shirts, Etc.
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.
Thibodeaux also lauded the work ethic of her staff, Megan M. Malmay, manager of member services; and Kathryn Shea Duncan, coordinator of special projects.
The meal for the banquet was catered by Fezzo’s Seafood, Steakhouse and Oyster Bar, with serving assisted by volunteers from Northside Christian School.
Guest also went home with etched goblets courtesy Home Bank, major sponsor for the night’s event.

Acadia Parish Today

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Fax: 337-334-8474

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Phone: 337-684-5711
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