» In November, the Acadiana Center for the Arts (AcA) and the Lafayette Consolidated Government (LCG) approved funding for four project grants and eight operating grants in Lafayette, totalling $17,366. Every year since 1988, AcA has administered this program, soliciting proposals from local nonprofit organizations and recommending available funding for projects and organizations through an independent panel of local experts. LCG sets the amount of funding available during its annual budgeting process. Funded projects in this round include Southern Screen Festival in November, Black History Month and Pride Month programming by Citè des Arts, Culture Days at Vermilionville, and a return of Window Wonderland, brought to you by Basin Arts this holiday season. Additional grants for general operating support have been awarded to Asociacion Cultural Latino-Acadiana, Basin Arts, Children’s Museum of Acadiana, Louisiana Folk Roots, Louisiana Crafts Guild, Southern Screen, Performing Arts Serving Acadiana, and Vermilionville Living History Museum Foundation.
» Moncus Park officially opened to the public on Jan. 1, 2022. The Park will celebrate its opening season with a series of events beginning in January and lasting throughout the spring. Since breaking ground in 2018, Moncus Park has completed Phase 1 which included the construction of a 4-acre lake, great lawn, over two miles of new trails, a dog park, hundreds of tree plantings, as well as much of the infrastructure and utilities for future developments. Currently under construction is the amphitheater, interactive water feature, treehouse, inclusive playground, the Veterans Memorial, and a restroom facility.
» The Acadiana Center for the Arts has opened a new exhibition, Brandon Ballengée: The Age of Loneliness, which is a large-scale exhibition, showcasing 10 years of work by the artist, biologist, and 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship award-winner. Three large projects by Ballengée will span the first floor of the AcA, inside and out, through Jan. 8, 2022. According to the AcA, it aims to stir conversation and public engagement with important ideas through exhibitions like “Brandon Ballengée: The Age of Loneliness.” The exhibition schedule includes regular field trips, public events, and opportunities to meet and engage with the artist.
» In honor of Festival International de Louisiane’s first ever Merci Month in November, the organization donated its Official 2021 Artwork to the Blue Monday Mission. The artwork, created by Luann Duhon and Jerome Ford was presented to the organization to show appreciation for their efforts in the music community. The Blue Monday Mission provides life care services for aging, retired and elder musicians and artists in our community. This organization was founded by nonprofit Love of People, which is the official recipient of the artwork and the location where the piece will be displayed.
» In December, the Community Foundation of Acadiana (CFA) announced that its next SOLA Giving Day will take place on May 5, 2022. SOLA Giving Day 2021 raised $1.85 million for local nonprofits, churches and schools by 3,737 donations to 173 organizations. SOLA Giving Day is an online fundraising platform and annual 24-hour period of giving organized by CFA and offered to 501(c)3 public nonprofits, churches and schools in South Louisiana.
» On Nov. 30, the Community Foundation of Acadiana (CFA) held its Second Annual Leaders in Law Enforcement Awards, which was an event held to present three annual awards to recognize one Louisiana sheriff ’s department, one Louisiana district attorney’s office, and for the first time this year, one Louisiana State Police Section that are making the most impact in their communities with the resources they have. The 2021 honorees are the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Department, the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office of Lafourche Parish, and Louisiana State Police Troop C. Each department received a $25,000 award to be used at their discretion to improve operations and continue to encourage extraordinary performance and implement meaningful programs. The awards are underwritten by the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation.
» On Nov. 20, the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new McDonald’s on Main Street in New Iberia. The event featured the Kane Radio On Site Show, raffles for door prizes from McDonald’s characters and offered attendees a chance to win free fries for a year.
» The Acadiana Center for the Arts has announced that Poetry Out Loud is open to all Acadiana area high schools. Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about literary history and contemporary life. School competitions must take place by Jan. 14. The regional competition will be held on Jan. 22, at the AcA in Downtown Lafayette. The state competition will be held on March 12, at the Cary Saurage Community Arts Center in Baton Rouge. The national competition will be held later this year. All competitions will take place in person this year. For more details, visit AcadianaCenterfortheArts.org.
» In November, JohnPAC, LLC, which is an Acadia parish manufacturing business, announced their continued commitment to a Lafayette-based nonprofit Parish Proud. This commitment comes after Parish Proud began expanding their efforts to more communities outside of Lafayette Parish. JohnPAC is the organization’s first 10-year sponsor, opening the door to many other businesses that want to have a hand in bettering Acadiana for everyone. The organization has sponsored 30,000 personally designed bags to be used at their pickup events throughout the region. Parish Proud is accepting business partner inquiries at this time, and more information can be requested via email at email@example.com.
» Books Along the Teche Literary Festival announced its plans for the 6th annual festival on April 1-3, 2022. The featured Great Southern Writer is Osha Gray Davidson, author of The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South, which was turned into a major motion picture (and will be screened during the Festival). The festival has many events to choose from that will delight fans of Southern literature, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, theater and children’s books.
Attendees can follow James Lee Burke’s character Dave Robicheaux through the streets of New Iberia at the Dave’s Haunts and Jaunts bus tour, take a guided walking tour under New Iberia’s historic live oaks, and visit authors from around the country at the Author’s Book Fair.
» Festival International de Louisiane announced that the event would return April 27 - May 1, 2022. Festival International is a cultural celebration through music, food, and art. The community-based 5-day music and arts festival is held every year during the last full week of April in Downtown Lafayette.
» In December, the Lafayette Downtown Development Authority gave an update for the renovation of the Old Federal Courthouse complex at Jefferson and Main streets, named “The Municipal,” which is nearing completion and promises to offer urban living for people looking for an exciting, vibrant lifestyle in the heart of the city. The Municipal includes 71 apartment units featuring attractive amenities like a private pool and clubhouse, plus a variety of new commercial opportunities available for development.
» In December, the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce announced that applications are being accepted for Leadership Iberia Class of 2022. Leadership Iberia is a program of the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce, and is designed to inspire and renew leadership commitment in a diverse group of participants from a cross-section of the community including age, gender, profession, ethnicity, leadership and volunteer experience. The program has produced more than 400 community leaders who have graduated and are making a positive impact in Iberia Parish. Applications are due Jan. 18. For more details, visit IberiaChamber.org/Leadership-Iberia.
MOVERS & SHAKERS
» On Oct. 26, Carencro Mayor Glenn L. Brasseaux signed a proclamation stating that Parish Proud will be their official partner to mitigate litter and encourage beautification efforts in the city and Lafayette Parish. The proclamation positions Carencro to assist their citizens in removing debris through events, keeping up with public yard spaces and displaying “Do Not Litter Carencro” street signage for citizen and visitor education. As Carencro grows – Amazon, residential properties, local business expansion, etc. – Parish Proud says it hopes this proclamation will show existing and future residents the city is somewhere they can find pride. Carencro joins Lafayette, Broussard, Scott and Youngsville in partnership with Parish Proud. Parish Proud is a nonprofit organization working to clean-up Acadiana one city at a time by focusing on eliminating litter and encouraging beautification.
» In December Garden View Assisted Living introduced a new team to its residents and the community. Lauren Barras, named the facility’s Executive Director, is a graduate of University of Louisiana Lafayette and is a Licensed Nursing Facility Administrator. She has worked in the long-term care industry for 10 years, during which time she has received multiple healthcare awards, including Iberia Parish Healthcare Heroes Best Social Worker/Case Manager. Debra Savoie joins Garden View as Community Liaison. Savoie is a ULL graduate and has more than 25 years of marketing experience in the healthcare industry. She is well known in the community for her work with non-profit organizations. Lastly, Tom Jennings was introduced as Garden View’s new Dietary Manager. He has spent the last 28 years in the culinary and restaurant industry and has designed menus, built kitchens, and trained many cooks and kitchen management teams. Having been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at an early age, Jennings understands food and its effect on the body.