Sunday, August 10, 2014

Museum Dedicates Presentation Room

Museum Dedicates New Room
The Jeanerette Museum recently dedicated its new Presentation Room, connected to the annex building. The new room will be used to host local exhibits, talks, and other presentations. On hand for the ceremony were various members of the Jeanerette Museum Board, past and present, community leaders and the public. Shown cutting the ribbon are Andre Rosamond, Museum Board Chair; Gail Garcia, Museum Board Vice Chair, Katie Landry, Iberia Recreation; Phaedra Perkins, Jeanerette Chamber of Commerce; Mayor April Foulcard; Alice Bodin, Jeanerette Chamber officer; Leroy Jones and Freddie Migues, Iberia Parish Recreation Board members and Oscar Vargus, Jeanerette Beautification Committee.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cooper Street Coffee Now Open

A love of small town life and a good cup of coffee led to one local couple opening an unique coffee house in Jeanerette. Anatole and Jennifer Robin Larroque opened Cooper Street Coffee to give the community a place to gather.
"We like coffee and we thought we needed a meeting place and gathering place in town," Anatole said. The new coffee house opened recentedly in the historic Louisiana Public Service Company building. The building was lovingly restored to keep true to its historic features. All the windows were reopened  and the original beams were sandblasted. The coffee house features a full commercial kitchen and tables that were crafted by a local wood worker from reclaimed cypress boards. The lumber industry was part of Jeanerette's early history and the little details to restore the building have made it a true showplace.
The building has been owned by the Larroques for over ten years and was used for storage until the idea of opening a coffee shop came into action.
"We researched coffee shops a couple of years ago but what we found wasn't what we wanted to do," Anatole said. He explained that most coffee houses are in college communities and didn't quite fit into the small city atmosphere of Jeanerette. The Larroques decided that they wanted to open a coffee house that would appeal not only to working people but to people of all ages that enjoyed gathering for good conversation.
The new coffee house will serve fresh brewed coffee, cappuccino, latte, mocha, expresso, tea, homebaked biscuits and pastries.
"We serve premium coffee," Jennifer said. "Coffee beans are from small batch roasters that get beans from all over the world. They try to find the best beans." "Everything is fresh," Anatole added.
Cooper Street Coffee is currently open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Doors open on Saturday at 7 a.m. and on Sunday at 10 a.m. Future plans will include special events, and acoustic music.
"We hope others will reinvest in our community," Anatole said. "It's beautiful here. It's what you make of it. I like small town life."
The Larroques hope that more businesses will locate in the city and are looking forward to hearing the stories that will be told in their new home, Cooper Street Coffee.

Paddlers Arriving for Annual Paddle Event

Paddlers attending the first Sugar Mill Paddle sponsored by the Jeanerette Chamber of Commerce ten years ago have made their way back each year.  Through the years, paddlers from 40 states and over 10 different countries have visited Jeanerette and our local waterways. As many as 200 paddlers a year, enjoy the culture of our area, the natural beauty, and the waterways surrounding Jeanerette.
Members from the first group from Texas have stayed in Jeanerette each year to attend the spring paddles that are held in the southern part of the state.
This year these paddlers along with new paddlers will once again enjoy paddling in Louisiana as Paddle Scenic Louisiana is held. Paddlers still have time to join in the April event. Paddle Scenic Louisiana will be held from April 7 to the 13 to give Louisiana visitors an opportunity to enjoy Louisiana's waterways, environment, and cultural activities whether coming for a week or a few days. This year's event will travel in the Atchafalaya Basin, Grand Avoille Cove, Bayou Teche, Bayou Portage, Yellow Bayou and other areas. The paddles are free of charge providing that participants have their own boat, equipment and supplies. Paddling experience is also required.
To join in the event email for an entry form and information.Paddlers planning to participate in this year's event are from Florida, Wisconsin, Texas, and Mississippi. Local paddlers from Louisiana are also expected to attend.
Those attending the weekday paddles from April 7-9 will experience paddling pass antebellum and historic homes, sugar mills and cypress trees while enjoying the native birds and wildlife. This group paddle is self supported and free to join in however you must provide your own boat, paddle equipment, food, snacks and camping supplies. Tent camping is available at a private home on the bayou or paddlers can stay at a local bed and breakfast or one of the many hotels within a ten mile area. The paddle trips are between 10 and 15 miles with longer trips available. Paddlers are also invited to attend a special history film event on Louisiana dancehalls being held on April 9 at the Jeanerette Museum so they may learn more about the culture of our area.
The fun continues as part of the Bear Festival on April 11-12 as paddlers paddle part of the historic Bayou Teche and the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge. Entertainment, food and restaurants will be plentiful. Canoes are available to rent for the Bear Festival Paddle at a small fee on a first come, first serve basis. For Bear Festival information visit For more information on any of the paddle events email

Sugar City Growers Coop Producing Veggies

The new Sugar City Growers Coop is now producing fresh vegetables and other plants to provide products for the local Farmers Markets in the area.
The co-op is part of Phase II of the BestLife Iberia Gardens Project. The Sugar City Growers Co-op will bring year ...round vegetable production to Jeanerette through its hydroponic garden.

Steel Monkey Offers Custom Motorcycle and Repairs

Some times a dream really comes true. For owners of Steel Monkey, a new custom motorcycle and repair shop, what began as talking about their love for motorcycles turned into a full time business adventure.
Owners of the new business located at 1400 Main Street in Jeanerette are Joey Motto, Dusty Vallot, Chad Duhon and Kevin Prejean.
"We always had a love for bikes," said Dusty Vallot.
"One day we said let's open a bike shop."
After Vallot asked his father who owns several businesses for advice, it wasn't long before plans were underway to open up the new motorcycle shop in Jeanerette.
The building offers a showroom, secure shop, and many work areas where motorcycles can be customized. Service work will include oil changes and othermaintenance on motorcycles, four wheelers, dirt bikes and recreational and work items.Customizing motorcycles will be the focus of the business. Joey Motto will manage the business while other owners lend their talents.The owners are excited about being a part of the Jeanerette community since many of their family members are from Jeanerette and Grand Marais. For more information on Steel Monkey LLC visit them at their shop or call them at 337-428-5047.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Inside the Life of Jeanerette's Outstanding Citizen, Kenneth Kern

His family always told him that business and politics don't mix, however, this became the perfect mix for Kenneth Kern who was named as Jeanerette's Outstanding Citizen by the Jeanerette Chamber of Commerce.
Along with a deep tradition in business, Kern has successfully served the community through volunteer work and politics.
Tradition and a love of Jeanerette is important to Kern. In fact, Kern still lives in his family home where his father was born.
He grew up at a time when Jeanerette had about 2,000 more people, he said but the community remained close.
"It was different than it was now," he said of the city. "I think people knew everyone more than what they do now. I've always loved Jeanerette. I would never want to live anywhere else."
Kern's early years were filled with music, sports and school. He was one of 30 to graduate from Jeanerette High School. "Everything that took place you kind of had to participate or they wouldn't have had enough people. I took part in the band and loved music," he said.
His love of music and playing the trumpet gave him the opportunity to attend college on a music scholarship; however he decided to pursue another interest.
"I finished high school in '54 and we had a band. We played dance halls all over this area," he said.
Kern remained in the band until his junior year of college, at what is now ULL, when his studies in chemistry and mathematics required more of his time. He also met the love of his life, his wife Betty Charpentier, around that timeI was in college when she (Betty) was working in Franklin. She was from Adeline but I didn't know her until I had a blind date," Kern said.
He was introduced to Betty by June Rivette. They dated from that first date until they married two years later.
Kern said the secret to a long relationship was "to always say yes." "You can't go wrong," he smiled.
Entering into business was also an easy choice for Kern whose family owned Jeanerette Electric since 1924.
"My father needed me and I liked working here but being in business was the furtherest thing from my mind at the time," Kern said.
Kern began working in the business right after he left the U. S. Air Force and decided to take over the family business after his father died several years later.
"It was a family business. The Eskinds were partners with my grandfather and then me. They (the Eskinds) offered and I bought their interest in the business," Kern said.
Even though Kern had a taste of life outside of Jeanerette when living in Fort Worth while he served in the U. S. Air Force, he never wanted to live anywhere else. Being in business allowed Kern to raise a family of four sons in the community that he loved.
"It think being raised in Jeanerette is an ideal situation," he said.
Kern's love of the city eventually led him to pursue politics, although he was hesitant at first. He was elected to the Jeanerette City Council where he has served three terms.

"I do speak my peace for better or worse," he admits. "I've always tried to lend my opinion."
Kern loves that Jeanerette has maintained its small town appeal throughout the years and hopes that this will continue to attract residents.
"The thing I love the most about the city is I know just about everybody and everybody knows me," he said.
Kern would like to see the city limits expand and is proud of the accomplishments of the city.
Kern said that there was no secret to being an outstanding citizen, "it's just in the trying."
"I feel fortunate to have grown up in Jeanerette," he said.

Jeanerette Chamber Honored Outstanding Achievers

The Jeanerette Chamber of Commerce honored outstanding achievers to the city of Jeanerette  during its 58th annual banquet to be held at 6 p.m. on Feb. 7 at the Ward Eight Recreation Center.
Kenneth Kern has been named as the Outstanding Citizen and was honored along with other category winners at the banquet.
The categories and award winners are as follows: Outstanding Citizen ~ Kenneth Kern; Professional ~ Jacques Larroque; Senior Citizen ~ Mae Willow Jean-Batiste; Educator ~ Maria Robicheaux; Student ~ Madison Switzer; Public Servant ~ Fernest Martin; Volunteer ~ Ron Sovine; Couple ~ Darlene and Wilton Gibson.
MAE WILLOW JEAN-BATISTE has been named as the Outstanding Senior Citizen. She worked as a health unit aid for over 30 years at the Iberia Parish Heath Unit in Jeanerette. She also served as a certified nursing assistant at various health agencies including Complete Home Health Care and AB Family Agency of Lafayette.
Ms. Jean-Batiste is the co-founder of the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary Court No. 184 where she has actively served as secretary and former grand lady. She has participated in the planning and fund raising for her church; has served as the Eucharistic minister chairperson, Altar Society secretary, Legion of Mary chaplain and has taugt CCD for 15 years.
Her involvement in the community includes working with the March of Dimes, Labor Day Telethon, Ministers' Allaince Prayer Breakfasts, and Food Pantry distributions.
She has also served on the Council of Aging for 23 years; Iberia Parish Jail Ministry and is a member of the Dauterive Hospital Volunteer Organization.
Ms. Jean-Batiste has received the Martin Luther King Jr. Service Award from the Lafayette Diocese and a 50 year certificate of membership from the National Office of the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary.
RONALD SOVINE has been named as the Outstanding Volunteer. He has been an active member of the community serving on many boards. He is a certified local government coordinator for the City of Jeanerette, serve as chairman of the Jeanerette Historic Advisory Commission where he has been a commissioner since 2005 and serves on the Board of Directors of the Jeanerette Bicentennial Park and Museum. His dedication to the community has led him to serve in many non-profit organizations including serving as a Board of Director since 2005 for the Jeanerette Historic Preservation Foundation and serving as a Board of Director and treasurer of the Jeanerette Landmark Society.
Sovine is currently employed as an I.T. Consultant for the Oil and Gas Industry and was employed as an I. T. Prfessional by Atlantic Richfield Company.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from Louisiana State University and a Master of Science degree in computer science from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He is a graduate of Woodlawn High School of Baton Rouge and is married to Elizabeth Bourgeois Sovine. The couple has three children and two grandchildren.
JACQUES BURKE LARROQUE has been named as the Outstanding Professional. He currently is a pharamist at his family business, Larroque Pharmacy.
Larroque has worked at many pharmacy's including Lydia Pharmacy, Baldwin Drug, Frere's, Dees Pharmacy,  and Standard as well as other places of employment.
Larroque presently serves on the Board of Community Advisers for the Jeanerette Rural Health Clinic. He is a member of the Louisiana Pharmacists Assoiation, the Louisian Independent Pharmacists Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association.
He is Grand Knight ofthe Knight of Columbus Coucil 1425 of Jeanerette, a member of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church and the Jeanerette Chamber of Commerce.
Larroque is a former member of the St. John the Evangelist Parish Council, Jeanerette Museum Board of Directors, Jeanerette Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is is the former treasurer of the Jeanerette Landmark Society.
Larroque graduated from the College of Pharmacy at Xavier University in New Orleans and is a graduate of St. Joseph Catholic School.
FERNEST MARTIN has been named as the Outstanding Public Servant. He currently serves as Jeanerette City Marshal and served as president of the Marshal Association.
He serves as Lead Drill Instructor for the Alternative Center for Education in New Iberia and has mentor students while assisting teachers. He has served as a School Resource Officer and was lieutenant as a criminal patrol officer for the Iberia Parish Sheriff Department.
Martin served as the Policy Council President for Smile Head Start/Early Head Sart and was head football coarch for ten years for the Youth Football League.
Martin has received the Pace Setter Award from First Church of God and Christ; the Magnificent Men of Jeanerette Public Service Award and the Sterling Fatherhood Initiative Award.
Martin is majoring in criminal justice at South Louisiana Community College and has majored in criminal justice at both McNeese State University in Lake Charles and the College of Eastern Utah. He is a graduate of Ovey Comeaux High School.
MARIA ROBICHEAUX has been named as the Outstanding Educator. She currently teaches at Catholic High School where she has served as an elementary teacher for the past six years.
Mrs. Robicheaux served as a middle school teacher for nine years at St. Joseph Catholic School where she was named Teacher of the Year. In addition to her teaching duties at Catholic High, she is the lead teacher for the social studies department for the elementary and middle school.
She also serves on the Academic Awards Committee, is the Hospitality Committee Chairperson and is the moderator for the 4H Club for grades 4-12. She is a volunteer for the 4H horse shows at the parish and district levels. She has also served as a moderator/volunteer for the 4H Summer Camp and is a member of the International Society for Technology in Education.
Mrs. Robicheaux attended St. Joseph School, is a graduate of Jeanerette Senior High School and the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now ULL). She is married to Brent Robicheaux and is the daughter of Linda and Al Carlos.
DARLENE AND WILTON GIBSON JR. have been named as the Outstanding Couple. They are active members of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church where they serve as Eucharistic Ministers, members of the Liturgical Committee and in many other capacities within the church.
They are members of the Knights of Peter Claver and past board members for the Teche Central District III Committee. They have received the Silver Award from the Knights of Peter Claver for over 20 years of service and the Teche Central District III Board Members Award.
Wilton Gibson Jr. is a superintendent for McDermott Inc. where he has been employed for 38 years. After 32 years of service, he retired as Command Sergeant Major with the Louisiana Army National Guard. Darlene Gibson has been a Para-Educator for 12 years with the Iberia Parish School Board.
In 2006, Darlene and Wilton reigned as King and Queen Ezana XIII for the Jeanerette Mardi Gras Association. Wilton Gibson Jr. is a member of the Masonic Lodge No. 31 and is a Metric Rider. Darlene is a Catechist for the First Communion class.
The couple has three children, Dwan Gibson, Dawn Gibson and Wren’nel Gibson.
MADISON SWITZER  has been named as the Outstanding Student. She will also be presented with the Arthur L. Verret Memorial Scholarship.
Madison is the daughter of Matthew Switzer and Amanda Buteau. She is currently a senior at Catholic High School where she holds a GPA of 4.0. She plans to attend college in the fall where she plans to major in marketing management.
She is a member of the BETA Club and the National Honor Society. She has earned many academic letters, received the highest average award in Religion III and Chemistry Honors, awarded the Principal’s Honor Roll; placed fifth in District Literary Rally in Algebra I, third in the Catholic High Social Studies Fair, and received the highest average award in Algebra I Honors and Fine Arts Survey.
Madison has received the Torch of Knowledge Award and has received the Serviam Medal during her freshman, sophomore and junior years. She currently serves as Student Body President and has been a member of the Homecoming Committee; has planned the annual fundraiser, is a member of Alive Campus Ministry Team, and is a catechist, lector and Eucharistic minister at St. John the Evangelist Church in Jeanerette.
Madison has also served as Student Body Vice President, President of the Octagon Club, is a member of the Kiwanis Key Club, member of the Light Ministry Team and has participated in events to raise funds for the American Cancer Society and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.