New and returning directors were installed by Judge Jim Cunningham and awards were presented during the 2012 annual membership banquet of the Rayne Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture Thursday, Feb. 9, at Chef Roy’s Frog City Café.
A highlight of the banquet was the presentation of awards to the Outstanding Business Person of the Year and Outstanding Employee of the Year.
Drusella “Rose” Schexnider, the manger of People’s Credit Union, was named the outstanding business person.
Josie Henry, advertising manager of the Rayne Acadian-Tribune, was honored as the outstanding employee.
Also recognized were Tiffany Thibodeaux and Danny Melancon, nominated for the business person award, and Suzette Leonards and Wanda Istre, nominated for the employee award.
The awards were presented by Miles Boudreaux, the Chamber’s executive director.
Sworn in as new directors of the Chamber were Colin Burnum, Michelle Guidry-Johnson and Timothy Prevost, elected secretary-treasurer. Returning to the board were directors Byron Foote, president; Troy Kibodeaux, vice president; Jimmy Prevost, member-at-large; Robert Credeur, and Nikki Link.
Guest speaker Mayor Jim Petitjean, assessor-elect, said his years as mayor were a blessing and a humbling experience.
He was highly complementary to the citizens and the 130 city employees. At one point, he said, “It’s not the city of Rayne, but the people of Rayne.”
Petitjean outlined major projects he will focus on in the remaining ten months as mayor, among which are:
• New recreational trails between the four ballparks near Gossen Drive.
• The overlay of Hwy. 90 from the Lafayette parish line to Zaunbrecher Road, crediting Sen. Jonathan Perry and Rep. Jack Montoucet for their support of the $3.5 million project.
• Overlay of American Legion Drive and a new bridge, along with the overlay of Zaunbrecher Road by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, after which the city and Acadia Parish Police Jury will acquire ownership and maintain the respective roadways.
• The second phase of downtown improvements to Adams Avenue from South First Street to the railroad tracks at an expected cost of $500,000.
• Negotiations for the sale of city property adjacent to the police station to a business prospect.
• Improvement to the water department’s filtration system.
“The waterpark is still in the works.” he said, predicting, “It will come to fruition.”
Design work on an Interstate 10 interchange at Hwy. 98 is continuing, as he revealed plans to go to Washington, D.C. to seek legislative support for the $20 million project.
As parish assessor, Petitjean said he would strive to catalog and gather information to assist existing and new business and industry to expand in Acadia Parish.
In his report to the Chamber members, President Byron Foote said,”It has and will continue to be fun, exciting and productive,”
He added, “Any and all suggestions on how to make our Chamber better will not be ignored and Miles (Boudreaux) and the Board are here to help you.”
Talking about the third annual Wheelin N Peelin car show on May 12, Foote called for sponsors and volunteers, saying his goal was to “make this one of the largest car shows in South Louisiana.”
He also commended Nikki Link and her committee for the success of the Mardi Gras Ball “that will surely be a tradition in Rayne every year and will benefit this community directly.”
Cheryl Richard served as mistress of cermonies and Deacon Daniel Besse gave the invocation.