If you were to ask anyone who knew him, there were not enough to describe the friend and person Mike Barras was and because of that, he is still remembered by so many.
A New Iberia resident, Barras was a fixture in his hometown for his contributions to numerous corporations. He died in May at age 80.
Barras, who worked in radio and television broadcasting for more than 50 years, was part of Lafayette Crime Stoppers for over 20 years and one of its founders and served as president.
After his retirement, he wanted to form a Crime Stoppers of New Iberia and through years of work for his community, Barras made countless friends, including Barry Guillotte, an original 2017 member of the Crime Stoppers in New Iberia.
Guillotte is a semi-retired real estate developer for the Teche Area and like Barras, he wanted to find a way to help his community in whatever way he can.
“I had the time when they (the board) called me to serve on the board,” Guillotte said “I said, ‘OK, sure, I’ll do something good for my community.”
Guillotte has served on many boards for many different organizations but Crime Stoppers of New Iberia was different for him.
“It was the first organization that I belonged to that I thought was really making a difference,” Guillotte said. “This is the only one I really belong to.”
New Iberia Crime Stoppers, now coming up on its fourth year, is a non-profit organization that provides a venue for the general public to be able to call and report on any crime a member of the community may have knowledge of.
Crime Stoppers works as a bridge between the public and the police.
“We really would have never existed without Mike,” Guillotte said. “Mike was the catalyst for making this happen. It was a shock to us when he died.”
For more than 40 years, Guillotte and Barras knew each other and developed a friendship that Guillotte still holds close to him to this day.
“Mike was involved in many community things,” Guillotte said.
That included serving as the National Vice President for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, being a member of the National Board of Directors for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and hostingthe local broadcast of the annual MDA Labor Day Telethon for over 30 years.
His legacy will forever be known for what he did for others, Guillotte said.
“Some people have this availability to a lot of things, and Mike was one of those guys,” Guillotte said. “He was energetic, he had a lot of energy.”
That passion for helping others led to the New Iberia Crime Stoppers starting a silent online auction and fundraiser called the “The Annual Mike Barras Memorial Auction” which will be put on every year on Aug. 26, which is Barras’ birthday and will end Oct. 2 this year at 10 a.m.
To contribute to the online auction, visit https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/auctionhome.action?auctionId=341695802.
Under normal circumstances, Guillotte said the group would hold a pool tournament, but due to restrictions with COVID-19, they had to turn it into an online auction.
This year is the first of many fundraisers in honor of Barras and they choose a silent auction because it is a safe, non-human way to raise money for their cause, Guillotte said.
“All of the proceeds benefits Iberia Crime Stoppers,” Guillotte said. “It’s worked out really, really well and I think we are going to do this year, the online auction.”
Though he died on May 28 of this year, he will remembered for what he did to help out his community, doing his best to make it a place that people call home.
“Every community should have a Mike Barras,” Guillotte said. “I knew the man for over 40 years and he was a great human being.”