Eunice Economic Development Board

Board meets on the first and third Thursday of each month.

The Eunice Economic Development Board was created in November 2007 by city appointment. The original board consisted of 12 members. The original members included: Anthony Baltakis, Clifton Clause, Andre Soileau, David Lance Pitre, Margaretta Frey, LeeEdwards, Johnny Reed, David Papillion, Fred Landry, John Guillory, James Bergeron, Jr., and Tom Dischler.

Created and presented an economic devolopment plan before the mayor and city council seeking the city's directive as to which aspects of the plan needed attention.

Since inception, it has been the goal of the board, with the assistance of the City and the Chamber of Commerce, to promote our City for economic growth and to retain the wonderful businesses that have made Eunice home. This goal is to be acheived while keeping in mind our desire to maintain our unique identity as a superb small town in Acadiana.

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  • South Louisiana music is commonly called “Cajun” and “Creole” music today, but almost all of it shares common roots in a Louisiana French musical tradition that found its fullest expression on the prairies of south Louisiana. Most of the “name” musicians — black and white — who made the early records and kept the music alive came from the prairies and shared the same repertoire, if not always the same interpretation of a song. One of those legendary musicians was accordionist, vocalist, and composer Joe Falcon, who was born on Sept. 28, 1900, in Roberts Cove, Acadia Parish. When Joe was seven years old, his father, a sharecropper, agreed to buy him an accordion, but only on the condition that he played it outside the house. “We couldn’t play it in the house, so we went to the barn,” Falcon told writer Lauren Post many years later. “We had the biggest trouble over there with the cattle. They wanted to come in with us. I kept banging on the accordion until I struck a tune. It was so many years ago I forgot what tune it was, but I stayed with it and before I turned it loose I kinda started something.” Indeed he did “kinda start something.” Lots of folks credit he and his wife, Cléoma Breaux, with the spread of Cajun music into the popular culture. In 1928, they issued the first recording of a Cajun French song, Allons à Lafayette, which appeared under the Columbia label. Cléoma came from a musical family. Her brothers, Amédé on accordion, Ophé on guitar, and Cléopha on the fiddle, played together as the Breaux Frères. She played guitar with them on one of the earliest recorded versions of Jolie Blonde, which they recorded under the title of Ma Blonde Est Partie. The brothers were apparently almost as famous for their fights as for their music. Jay Miller of Crowley, who played his first dance with the Breaux Brothers at ’Nest Lemaire’s Dance Hall at Cow Island, said in an interview some time later, that his strongest memory of that night was of the Breaux Brothers arguing among themselves throughout the dance and “fighting like dogs at the end.” Music historian John Broven wrote, that [Amédé] Breaux was considered “one of the great Cajun musicians, although [he] did have a tendency, when drunk, to pull accordions apart in exuberant acts of showmanship.” Broven was charitable enough to omit the fact that Amédé also had a tendency to be drunk pretty regularly. The Cow Island dance hall where they and Miller played was owned by Ernest Lemaire, whose daughter-in-law Thelma Lemaire told me several years ago that the band rode the train to Kaplan, where the Lemaires picked them up. They’d play that night, stay over in Cow Island, and be driven back to the train the next day. She said the club sold 25‑cent bowls of gumbo and nickel cones of homemade ice cream in addition to the usual libations, and that reports that things could get a little rough were apparently true. Ernest was a big man, she said, about 6½ feet tall, and “he tried to talk to people when they got out of hand, but if they didn’t listen, he’d use a stick.” She said she’d kept the bouncer’s stick he used and that it looked like it would have done the job quite well. You can contact Jim Bradshaw at or P.O. Box 1121, Washington LA 70589.

  • NEW ORLEANS, LA. -- Submitted Story Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation along with St. Landry and St. Martin parishes hired the New Orleans consulting firm Ardyn M. Thriffiley & Associates to develop the first phase of a cultural master plan for the town of Arnaudville. Along with an assessment of cultural assets, Ardyn M. Thriffiley & Associates will prepare a facility and business plan for the vacant St. Luke Hospital for use as a French immersion center and cultural business incubator. The business plan will include usage guidelines and policies, as well as an operational matrix. Assessments of cultural assets shall include: surveys of artists, French speakers, cultural nonprofits, culturally-related businesses and businesses whose employees speak French. Consultants are also charged with the engagement of community participation and input, especially among those who are traditionally left out of city and economic development planning. The 25,000-square-foot vacant St. Luke Hospital building is located in the heart of Arnaudville, and both St. Landry Parish President Bill Fonteont and St. Martin Parish President Guy Cormier are supportive of the concept to repurpose the facility for cultural use. Both parish presidents served on the selection committee for this hiring. In addition, a number of partners have already self-identified, including Louisiana State University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Tulane University. Students with LSU and Tulane have and continue to conduct French immersion and linguistic research/study programs in Arnaudville. Currently, there is no central location for these students to learn or stay, which is why the plan will focus on “centralizing” the program at the St. Luke facility. Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation serves as a catalyst for the development and enhancement of distinct cultural industries of Louisiana by promoting the economic health and quality of life of its cultural economy workforce. The final and complete cultural master plan will integrate the various components of the area’s cultural assets, programs, attractions, education and workforce, real estate, tourism destinations and development opportunities into a unified strategy to ensure the sustainability and vitality of Arnaudville’s cultural offerings. The full plan will be a coordinating tool to increase and deepen cultural participation, guide the work of community partners, and connect government entities and cultural business developers in a new and unique way. LCEF fully expects this plan to provide a road map to new economic opportunities by creating and leveraging innovative collaborations. The Arnaudville Cultural Master Plan is funded by a National Endowment for the Arts grant and matching funds through St. Landry and St. Martin Parish governments. Master plan phase one completion is set for June 30. (From Eunice news)

  • Funding for a Eunice master plan is hold, Mayor Rusty Moody said. “The way the economic situation is right now, we need to kick back and take a look at the revenue coming in and what we are putting out,” he said. Don Reber announced at a recent Eunice Economic Development Committee meeting that the master plan funding had stalled. “Rusty is not against this, but Rusty doesn’t want to go against the council,” Reber, committee chairman, said. “If the council is saying not to do this you got to assume the city doesn’t, but I don’t think the people in the city understand this.” Launey Griffith, a member of the economic committee, said at the April 2 committee meeting, “I like to look at the master plan as kind of a business plan. You wouldn’t start a business and hope to get a loan without a business plan.” At the committee’s March meeting Reber said he expected to present a proposal to pay South Central Planning and Development Commission over 18 months to develop a master plan at a cost of $95,000. At the time Moody said, “I think it is needed if are going to continue to grow. Eunice already has a lot of positive things going for it. I think this would just put the icing on the — matter of fact it would put another layer on the cake and the icing to boot. It is needed. We are sort of like the flag flopping in the wind.” Reber suggested the economic committee become linked to the Eunice Chamber of Commerce. The move would help the chamber achieve a stronger voice in economic development, he said. Reber said economic growth in the Lake Charles area is affecting Eunice and the city should develop a plan. “On the good side, all this stuff is going to come sooner or later,” he said. Moody said city finances are not as healthy as they were last year, however, he added, “Come July when we redo the budget, we’ll see.” Economic Development Committee members include Reber, Celeste Gomez, David Pulling, Francine Hughes, Dr. J. D. Miller, Kenneth Elliott, Lance Pitre, Launey Griffith, Lloyd Antoine, Missy Grimmett and Tony Baltakis. ( from Eunice news MASTER PLAN FUNDING SAID TO BE ON HOLD Sun, 2015-04-12 08:56 Harlan Kirgan)

  • Timeline PhotosThe 30th Annual World Championship Crawfish Etouffee Cook Off winners: (Cooking Division): Club/Organization: 3rd Place- Progressive Tractor 2nd Place- St. Landry Homestead 1st Place- Rotary Club of Eunice Amateur: 3rd Place- Devillier House Movers 2nd Place- The Eunice News 1st Place- Double Action Sports Professional: 2nd Place- Cleco 1st Place- LAS Fire & Safety People's Choice Award: Charles Jagneaux, Clerk of Court — with Graham Hillman and 2 others at Northwest Community Center.

  • 30th Annual World Championship Crawfish Etouffee Cook Off2015

  • Timeline PhotosIn honor of the founders of the Crawfish Cookoff, here is a picture from the 1980s [possible the inaugural year]. Feel free to name the peeps, I know that Joann Derouen is center and Lois Miller is to far right. Marthe Guemple (sp?) is second from left.

  • Parish development paired with regional approach By Harlan Kirgan harlan.kirgan OPELOUSAS — The newly-formed One Acadiana was greeted as another development path for St. Landry Parish at a meeting of the St. Landry Parish Economic Development District Tuesday. Bill Rodier, the district’s executive director, said, “This is a collaborative effort. This isn’t an adversarial type of situation.” Jim Bourgeois, recently named executive director of business development at One Acadiana, and Rebecca Shirley, director of Acadiana Economic Development Council, spoke during the district’s board meeting in Opelousas. One Acadiana will support local economic developers such as Rodier, Bourgeois said. “It is going to work with Bill to identify what is it that we can add more resources to,” he said. “The business community in Acadiana has come together to recognize the importance of all the regions being able to get their fair share of the pie,” Bourgeois said. “We are really going to get together with them to identify the assets, identify the opportunities, identify the weaknesses and see what we can to improve the situations. We are going to continue the great work that AEDC has done marketing the region on the national and international level.” One Acadiana was formed from the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and announced in February as an umbrella agency to lead economic development in nine parishes. The regional includes the parishes of Lafayette, Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion. Existing business, economic development and chamber of commerce organizations will continue to work independently, but most have indicated they will work with One Acadiana. Also announced in February was that a fundraising effort met a goal of $15 million to operate One Acadiana for five years. Jason El Koubi is the president and chief executive of One Acadiana. Bourgeois is the first business development professional hired by One Acadiana. “We are really going to build the program from the ground up,” he said. Shirley praised the St. Landry Parish economic development effort. “People around the region are talking about the great things happening in St. Landry Parish,” she said. “The exciting thing about One Acadiana coming about is to have this full-force staff where previously you had two people doing marketing, recruitment, business retention visits, site development and that whole host of things,” Shirley said. “Now, it is going to be a much larger better funded team to be able to do so much in the region.” Outside the meeting, Bourgeois said completion of Interstate 49 is One Acadiana’s top transportation priority. Shirley said, “We can make it all day, but we have to take it where it is going to be sold. That’s what is key for us.” One of the U.S. 90 choke points is the Lafayette area. “The competition we have to deal with nationally may not have a Highway 90 going through Lafayette with multiple traffic lights,” she said. Patterson to Morgan City on U.S. 90 also needs to be upgraded, she said. Other business included announcing a March 31 deadline for applications and nominees to the Crowne Parc Joint Commission, a development off I-49 at the Harry Guilbeau exit. There are seven commission seats open. Three are to be appointed by the mayor of Opelouas, two by the St. Landry Parish president and two by the St. Landry Parish Council. “No matter what happens in this district it is going to affect all of St. Landry Parish and north Acadiana,” Rodier said. Applications are available at Landry Parish Economic

  • City panel moving toward master plan EUNICE, LA. -- The Eunice Board of Aldermen by April may have a contract before them that would launch an 18-month process and provide a map to the city’s development. The Eunice Economic Development Committee, a volunteer group of citizens, were presented a proposed agreement for the city with South Central Planning and Development Commission. Mayor Rusty Moody, said, “I think it is needed if are going to continue to grow. Eunice already has a lot of positive things going for it. I think this would just put the icing on the -- matter of fact it would put another layer on the cake and the icing to boot. It is needed. We are sort of like the flag flopping in the wind.” Don Reber, chairman of the committee, presented the proposed agreement, which outlines the process for developing a comprehensive plan. The plan would include infrastructure, public safety, utilities, neighborhoods and business development. “All of this stuff needs to be tempered with the $85 billion and growing that is being invested in southwest Louisiana and down the Mississippi River,” he said. Other factors for consideration include the completion of Interstate 49 from Lafayette to New Orleans and changes of La. 13. Reber stressed it is a plan that will, in part, spring from citizens. “It really needs to be a plan put together by the citizens in the city of Eunice and community of Eunice, which would go beyond the city limits,” Reber said. The proposed agreement has a $95,000 price tag, but that would be spread over the 18-month production period. Reber said a steering committee of up to 18 months would be needed for the project. Bill Rodier, executive director of St. Landry Parish Economic Development, said Sunset is paying $225,000 for a master plan, but he said South Central Planning and Development is hungry for success stories. “I feel like the timing is really good,” he said of Eunice’s effort. “In a year or two they may not need this win.” Rodier cautioned, “One of the ironies in economic development is everybody wants growth and everybody wants progress, and everybody wants jobs, but only as long as there is no impact to them.” Rodier said one focus of the newly formed One Acadiana, a regional chamber of commerce, is to push for shovel-ready, certified development site. Some sites have been identified, including in Eunice, and the state has money to pay for certification work, he said nclude Reber, Celeste Gomez, David Pulling, Francine Hughes, Dr. J. D. Miller, Kenneth Elliott, Lance Pitre, Launey Griffith, Lloyd Antoine, Missy Grimmett and Tony Baltakis. Courtesy Eunice News

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