Monday, June 24, 2013

KLFY TV is Louisiana Media Partner for the Jefferson Awards for Public Service.

KLFY played a key role in making this honor possible for Father Louis Richard for the Jefferson Awards for Public Service. They are the Louisiana Media Partner for the Jefferson Awards for Public Service, and they open a nomination process each spring, asking viewers to submit nominations of people in the Acadiana community who have made the area a better place to live.  They receive hundreds of nominations each year, and the process of choosing a single local winner is a difficult one.

Blue Rolfes is KLFY’s coordinator of the Jefferson Awards; she choose the nominee based on the nomination letter, and the impact that the nominee has had on the community.  The Jefferson Awards recognizes individuals who have identified a previously unmet need in their community, frequently because of a personal or family tragedy, and who then build an infrastructure to meet that need and an accompanying 501(c)3 organization to provide the service that solves the problem.  Past Acadiana nominees have included Marcel Citron, founder of FoodNet;  Dr. Chuck Wyatt, who created the Community Bystander CPR program “Heartstarter” and Hank and Debbie Perret, who created the Miles Perret Cancer Services Center in memory of their son Miles, who lost his life to brain cancer. 

KLFY's annual Media Partner dues underwrite the entire cost of round-trip airfare for the nominee to Washington, DC for the national ceremonies, all meals, hotel accomodations and spending money to underwrite expenses such as taxis and tips. 

Thank you for sharing all of this and this role model to follow.

"We took on this project many years ago because we felt it would be an effective way to encourage volunteer service in our community, and to provide much-deserved recognition to the many 'unsung heroes' who devote their lives to helping others.   Please help us help everyone in our community recognize the critically important role our volunteer activists play in making Lafayette, and Acadiana, the greatest place on earth to live."
--Blue Rolfes

Hospice of Acadiana Founder Receives National Jefferson Award

Acceptance Speech to talk about Hospice of Acadiana at the 2013 Jefferson Awards in Washington D.C.
 Incredible visit with Professor Elie Wiesel who shared his reflections on life and peace at the Jefferson Awards in Washington D.C.  This was a moving event.
 Joyce and Father Louis.
Receiving the 2013 Jefferson Award in Washington, D.C. for Community Service in helping to found Hospice of Acadiana 30 years ago.  This program has been a real gift to our community, serving now over 18,000 people.

It all began with the death of a beloved grandmother.  On the day of his graduation from college in 1977, Fr. Louis Richard’s grandmother was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.  Seven months later, she succumbed to this illness, while he was away in Belgium, having begun his graduate theological studies for the priesthood. 

The following month in Belgium, Fr. Richard attended a symposium on “Death and Dying” by a British physician named Dr. Ciceley Saunders, who is the founder of the modern day Hospice movement and a contemporary of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.  Dr. Saunders invited Fr. Richard to come spend his next summer working at St. Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham, a London suburb.   Dr. Saunders said that so often when people are diagnosed with a terminal disease, they are “given up on” since there is nothing to cure them.  She says that is when “care must truly take over”.

Working at St. Christopher’s was the experience that galvanized Fr. Richard’s commitment to care for the dying.  He resolved to return to the States and upon ordination work with others to establish a similar program in the Lafayette community.  Meeting with other community volunteers, Fr. Richard helped to found Hospice of Acadiana in 1983.  It’s philosophy and mission has not wavered in these past thirty years: all dying people and those close to them should have access to appropriate and highly professional care and support, when they need it, wherever they need it and whoever they are.  While there are many other for-profit programs in the country today, Hospice of Acadiana remains the oldest program in Louisiana and one of only two non-profit programs that accept all patients, regardless of ability to pay.

Fr. Louis Richard, a Roman Catholic priest, is currently pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Broussard, La.  He also serves as Chancellor of St. Thomas More Catholic High School and St. Cecilia School.  Among his other volunteer activities, he has been the chaplain for Acadian Ambulance Service for 30 years.

He recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to receive the 2013 Jefferson Award for Public Service, going there as Louisiana’s ambassador for community involvement, in recognition of his efforts to help found Hospice of Acadiana.

Permission to use any of the pictures from the Awards Ceremony-Fr. Richard’s Facebook account.  Better quality pictures are available:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

We made a foodie city.

Lafayette highlights 73 restaurants in eat local push

The city of Lafayette has launched its eat local campaign. EatLafayette is in its ninth year of promoting the mom-and-pop restaurants that have put Lafayette on the map as a foodie town. Ben Berthelot, executive director of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, has found that over the years more and more local restaurants have pulled together for this campaign.
Credit Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission
“We went from 19 restaurants in a two-week campaign nine years ago, to this year we have basically a three-month campaign and 73 restaurants participating," Berthelot said.
Berthelot said his tourism bureau spent about $150,000 on advertising it last year, and the reach will extend even farther outside the region this year. Lafayette was recently recognized as a top 10 "Foodie City" in company with the likes of Madison, Wis., and Berkeley, Calif. Berthelot said it’s Acadiana’s locally-owned restaurants that earned them this distinction, and they deserve support.
“From a [restaurant's] manpower standpoint sometimes it’s a challenge. Meeting their bottom line – they have very small margins," Berthelot said. "Anything that we can do to help our locally-owned restaurants be successful and help us to continue our great reputation as a 'Foodie City' I think is important, and that’s what EatLafayette is all about.”
A Taste of Lafayette kick-off event will be held tomorrow night. The EatLafayette campaign runs through Sept. 2, and organizers will give away a four-day cruise as part of the promotion.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Third Time Is The Charm for EatLafayette by Lafayette Travel and Fly Lafayette Club

For Immediate Release
Media Contact:
Julie Calzone
Lafayette Travel Contact:
Kelly Strenge
(Lafayette, La.) – It is year nine for EatLafayette™ by Lafayette Travel and year three for title sponsor Fly Lafayette Club. This year’s edition of the campaign that celebrates and markets Lafayette, Louisiana’s one-of-a-kind locally owned restaurants signed up 71 participants, a record number.
It was a simple concept of helping locally owned eateries attract customers that has grown to a multi-media campaign that now spans 11 weeks beginning June 17. The campaign is funded by sponsorships, registration fees, Lafayette Travel and support by local media groups.
Past campaigns have been touted as the reason why summer months that are typically the slowest in the restaurant business are now some of the busiest months for participants.
The Fly Lafayette Club is the Lafayette Regional Airport’s way of thanking travelers for using the airport for their flights. Members have the opportunity to win great rewards from sponsors. Gifts include free meals from some of the EatLafayette restaurants, merchandise, gift certificates from local merchants and more.
“We have thousands of Fly Lafayette Club members,” said Greg Roberts, director of aviation for the Lafayette Regional Airport. “Every year we sign up hundreds of new fans through EatLafayette events. It is a great combination of programs that have people who are passionate about all things ‘Lafayette’.”

“It is really partnership of three organizations (Lafayette Travel, Fly Lafayette Club and EatLafayette) that market the best of what Lafayette has to offer to the community and travelers.” Said Ben Berthelot, executive director for the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission. “Lafayette is the heart of Louisiana's Cajun Country and home to Cajun and Creole music, food and culture. Our locally owned restaurants and airport are gateways to the amazing flavors and experiences of our community. It is what sets us apart.”
Lafayette is known for its distinct culinary identity that is a combination of generations old restaurants and creations by new, young chefs who are creating a town of “foodies.”
“With raising costs and shrinking margins it becomes a challenge to bring customers in without deep discounts,” said Tim Metcalf, president of Dean-O’s Pizza. “EatLafayette is the perfect opportunity to bring in new faces without huge costs. By encouraging locals to keep their hard earned dollars local and visit Lafayette’s best restaurants it’s a cost effective marketing plan. Dean-O’s uses EatLafayette as the centerpiece of their summer ad campaign. In simple terms ‘It Works’.”
For more information, contact the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission at 337.232.3737 or visit the EatLafayette website at