Benny Cenac, Business Owner, and the SLCC Open House

On Friday, October 26, 2018, the sun was shining and the smell of a fresh Boucherie was in the air as members of the Benny Cenac business, Cenac Marine Services, attended a celebration for a partner in maritime education.  South Louisiana Community College (SLCC) and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) celebrated their new and recent partnership at the Maritime and Corporate Training Center in Houma.

SLCC hosts a Marine Operations program within their Continuing Education outpost of their Corporate College to support the needs of businesses and industries throughout South Louisiana. The Marine Operations program provides specialized Coast Guard-approved classroom instruction and practical training to prepare students for many jobs available in the field.

SLCC administrators along with area dignitaries shared remarks and then later enjoyed the afternoon over delicious food and a discussion of what exciting things are to come in the future for both parties as they partner together.

The program began with a warm welcome from Mr. Anthony Baham of SLCC and was followed by fellow representatives of SLCC:  Dr. Craig McClain and Dr. Kristine Strickland.  Also in attendance were Mr. Gordone Dove, Parish President, Mr. Jerome Zeringue, Represented of District 52, and Ms. Beryl Amedee, Representative of District 51.

The SLCC Maritime training program is enhanced from the refurbished barge donated by Benny Cenac, business leader and philanthropist.
The dedicated barge is an exact replica of a standard Cenac Marine Services tank barge and will allow for the highest quality education and training.

Mr. Walt Cenac with the Benny Cenac Towing Company was in attendance of the open house for CEO and Owner, Benny Cenac. The company donated a fully refurbished barge to SLCC’s Maritime Training program back in November 2017. The dedicated barge, which measures 158 feet by 40 feet, is an exact replica of a standard Cenac Marine Services tank barge with all the bells and whistles. The barge is located in Munson Slip in Houma, just off the Houma Navigation Canal. These updated real-life barge features now allow for the highest quality education and training for those that attend the program that are set to be the next generation of maritime industry leaders.

Cenac’s donated fully refurbished barge has everything a current Cenac employee would work with on a daily basis. Benny Cenac, Houma business owner, proudly announced that it is the most state-of-the-art training barge in Louisiana, and likely the most advanced of its kind within the Gulf Coast.

Cenac Marine had donated the barge to the state years ago for use in workforce development. Members of the board of supervisors of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System approached Benny Cenac to see if his towing business would partner with the area schools to modernize the training barge. Mr. Cenac jumped at the chance to aid local students and interested professionals committed to training and strengthening the local maritime workforce.

Benny Cenac, Business Leader and Philanthropist for Education-Related Causes

Benny Cenac, business magnate from Houma, has long supported higher-education programs throughout the state of Louisiana. Mr. Cenac understands the value of education and dedicates his resources to supporting those who love to learn. Benny Cenac’s business successes at Cenac Marine Services has prompted his support for maritime-focused training programs to ensure a continued and thriving maritime industry within his home state.

Benny Cenac, business owner and philanthropist, celebrated with their partner for maritime education at the Maritime and Corporate Training Center in Houma.
Benny Cenac, business owner, at a related event

Workforce development is always at the top of Benny Cenac’s list business priorities—and community partnerships like this one are crucial for orchestrating workforce development systems in such vital industries.

“Terrebonne Parish is and always will be near and dear to our hearts here at Cenac as our birthplace,” explained Cenac. “This company will always invest in continuing to produce the best marine personnel in the business. This also assists in making training more readily available to the area. We are all for supporting maritime education, especially so close to home.”

Cenac noted that students and existing mariners in the Terrebonne area were forced to travel for certain classes to less-convenient areas like Slidell, LA, east of New Orleans.

“Now our employees will be able to have a place right in their backyard to do this,” Cenac said.

The very first open enrollment SLCC Maritime Training class began in August. Depending on the size of the class, hands-on barge training can last approximately eight hours long. The goal of the South Louisiana Community College and their Maritime training program is to offer the class every two weeks, depending on instructor availability. They currently have two Cenac Boat Captains serving as tankerman instructors during their off time.  The Cenac instructors have been certified through the state of Louisiana to teach the course. It takes a total of 32 hours to complete the tankerman training course. After completion of the course, they are required to complete basic firefighting training before they can become a certified Tankerman.

Benny Cenac stated, “From the very start of this project I have been excited about what we can offer to the community and to those interested in becoming Tankermen. My company and I are fortunate to have the opportunity to provide a hands-on learning experience to many people for years to come.”

The Benny Cenac Towing Company was very proud to be a part of the open house that took place at the Maritime Training Center. The event was perfect and closed out with words from Mr. Stevie Smith in place of Mr. Vinny St. Blanc, Louisiana’s Community and Technical College’s (LCTCS) Board of Supervisors.

“When you look at higher education where we’ve had so many budget cuts, and a man steps up and offers equipment or a simulator in support of our community technical college, it speaks to his love for his community and his state,” Willie Smith said. “We appreciate you, Mr. Cenac, and all that you’ve done for us in support of the community and technical college.”

The barge dedication ceremony featured a benediction from Father Mark Toups from the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux and a prayer from the Rev. Simon Peter Engurait, vicar general of the diocese and pastor of St. Bridget Church in Schriever, La. The ceremony concluded when representatives from SLCC and the Cenac family shattered bottles of champagne over the bow of the tank barge.

To learn more about South Louisiana Community College and its Maritime training offerings, please visit, http://www.solacc.edu. More information on this inaugural class was featured on Workboat’s website.  To read about the barge dedication that took place in 2017 please see this article.

Read More about Benny Cenac’s Education and Philanthropic Activities:

https://arlenbennycenac.com/benny-cenac-houma-donates-oh-la-la-theatre-series-nicholls-state-university

https://cenac.com/benny-cenac-houma-donates-golf-carts-nicholls-state/

https://arlenbennycenac.com/benny-cenac-jr-funds-ed-white-progress

Benny Cenac Jr., CEO of Cenac Marine Services, Sponsors TFAE Run for Excellence

On Saturday, May 11th, more than 755 racers and nearly 2,500 individuals from all over Terrebonne Parish braved the stormy weather and came out for the Terrebonne Foundation Run for Excellence 5K and its famous after-party in downtown Houma. Benny Cenac Jr., CEO of Houma business Cenac Marine Services, has always valued education and childhood-development and was pleased to support  Terrebonne Parish public education and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Cenac Marine sponsored both the volunteer t-shirt and the Terrebonne ARC Food Booth, which served delicious gumbo to guests. The event is the primary fundraiser for the Terrebonne Foundation for Excellence (TFAE) and has raised over a million dollars over the past nineteen years for local educators to fund their programs through grants. The all-you-can-eat-and-drink after-party was the pinnacle of the day—and people came from all over to taste the delicious Cajun specialties offered by forty local vendors and dance to THE FLAMETHROWERS, the number-one party rock cover band in Louisiana.

“Since our inception, TFAE has given more than $1 million in grants to our local public-school teachers through our grant program,” said Kate Portier, the TFAE executive director. “In this current school year alone, TFAE will have funded nearly $95,000 in supplies, innovative projects, and classroom initiatives. We provide grants for new teachers and for innovative projects to engage their students.” Grants this year have included the Houma Junior High School “Girls Who Code – Breaking Down STEM Barriers” program to purchase Chromebooks and other materials, Montegut Elementary School’s “We Are the World News Club,” where students will receive boxes each month that contain snacks, art, literature from different countries that they are studying about, and for $500 worth of classroom supplies to twenty-three new teachers in the parish.

Ainsley’s Angels, a group that pairs children and adults with disabilities with a running partner at events across the nation, sent fifteen participants to the 2019 Run for Excellence. “They work together to enjoy the race and cross the finish line,” Portier said. “It’s a great organization that shows the power of teamwork and inclusion.” Avid philanthropist Benny Cenac Jr. has contributed thousands of dollars to charities such as the Terrebonne Association for Retarded Citizens and Make-A-Wish Foundation, and other organizations that specifically benefit children and individuals with special needs. “I am very fortunate and pleased to continue my support of regional, national, and international organizations all working to better the lives of children everywhere,” said Benny Cenac Jr., “I am deeply invested in the success of the Southeastern Louisiana region and overjoyed seeing my Houma community come together for such a worthy cause.”

Benny Cenac Houma Business Owner Sponsors Run for Excellence
More the 2, 500 Terrebonne Parish residents came out for the TFAE Run for Excellence for the 5K and all-you-can-eat-and-drink after-party.

Benny Cenac Jr., a third-generation Houma native himself, always looks forward to the Run for Excellence and appreciates the support of the community in joining to fundraise for the Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence and the local children.

Benny Cenac Jr.: From Business Owner to Avid Philanthropist

Benny Cenac Jr. often sponsors events around the community and regularly donates to schools and organizations within Southeastern Louisiana. A proud alum of Nicholls State University, Benny Cenac Jr. is most fond of his involvement with the Nicholls State University College of Business Advisory Board, Nicholls State University Foundation, the Bridge to Independence Program, and the Nicholls State University Culinary School.

Over the years, Benny Cenac Jr. has contributed to organizations within his parish, the state of Louisiana, and dozens of other national and international causes. These include organization such as the Houma-Terrebonne NAACP, O.N.E./C.H.A.N.G.E., Terrebonne Association for Retarded Citizens, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Benny Cenac Jr., who continues to operate multiple businesses out of Houma, is proud to see his small fishing town along the Intracoastal Waterway grow into an economic center and cultural landmark for future generations and is happy to offer his continued support for the tremendous efforts by the TFAE and local education leaders as they instruct the next generation of Houma leaders.

Benny Cenac of Houma Donates to the Oh La La Theatre Series at Nicholls State University

Benny Cenac, CEO of Cenac Marine Services of Houma, Louisiana, was happy to announce a donation to Nicholls State University’s second annual popular Oh Là Là theater series. The event, which has attracted a variety of audiences in the region, includes music originating in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s from the beaches of California to the heart and soul of Motown, all held at the Mary and Al Danos Theater.

Thanks to the gracious gift by Benny Cenac, a Houma native, the donations were puts towards several funds and projects necessary to make the show a reality, including renovations on the Mary and Al Danos Theater totaling upwards of $9.6 Million. In addition, Benny Cenac, who has always been a major proponent for the arts and education, was grateful to see the growth of the event that started the year prior.

In a statement by Dr. Bruce Murphy, Nicholls State University President, the name Oh Là Là is an homage to Al Danos, who enjoyed conversing in French. The Danos family, whose parents graciously donated $1 million toward the theater’s renovation, released a statement in support of Nicholls’ upcoming series.

“Mom and Dad would have loved this and attended every show,” The Danos family said. “Oh Là Là is exactly what Dad had in mind when he started raising money for the theater.”

Benny Cenac: Supporter of the Arts & Conservation Efforts in Houma

Benny Cenac, who is a graduate of Nicholls State University himself, expressed his gratitude to his alma mater in putting on this incredible event for the community members of Houma, and is always grateful for the opportunity to contribute to events that bring the community together. Benny Cenac has also served on the Nicholls State Foundation board, Nicholls State College of Business Advisory Board, and previously donated golf carts to the Nicholls State University Bridge to Independence Program.

Benny Cenac Houma donates to Nicholls State Oh La La Theater Series in Louisiana
The first half of the Series began in October of 2018, featuring Sail On: The Beach Boys Tribute, The Victory Belles, and The Diamonds who performed an incredible holiday

The first half of the Series began in October of 2018, featuring Sail On: The Beach Boys Tribute, The Victory Belles, and The Diamonds who performed an incredible holiday show. The second half of the series will kick off with The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. Then it’s The Chipper Experience: Where Comedy and Magic Collide at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 13 before the series closes with Shadows of the 60’s: A Tribute to Motown at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 16.

According to an article by Nicholls State University, The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is a full-scale symphonic orchestra located in New Orleans. Founded in 1991, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is the oldest full-time musician-governed and collaboratively-operated orchestra in the United States.

Chipper Lowell brings his popular show, the Chipper Experience, which combines clean, but edgy, comedy with quirky magic and hilarious banter with audience members. His shows, which have been admired by many, have been known to include a flying turtle, juggling medieval weaponry, tossing body parts, bizarre stunts, mind-reading and zany inventions. Lowell’s television appearances include Masters Of Illusion, Don’t Blink, The Tonight Show, Disney Channel, Empty Nest, The MDA Telethon, Show Me The Funny!, General Hospital, America’s Funniest People and Everybody’s Talking.

As an avid philanthropist and Houma native, Benny Cenac is always fortunate for the opportunity to support the arts and educational inspirations of those in his beautiful community of Houma. In addition to managing several local businesses, Benny Cenac also manages his own refuge in Houma where he cares for a variety of different animals at Golden Ranch Farms – Louisiana’s largest privately owned animal refuge.

In addition, Benny Cenac has also donated to conservation efforts in Houma, where he has taken a leading role in protecting the states’ pristine coast from coastal erosion. Even on several of his own properties in Houma, Benny Cenac has instilled these conservation efforts as he continues to protect the land with flood control structures.

In regard to this incredible event, upper-level season tickets are available for $150 and single tickets are $30, while lower-level season tickets are $180 and single tickets are $35. To purchase tickets for the upcoming series, call Jeanne-Morgan Gernon at 448-4270 or email at [email protected]

For more on Oh La La, click here.

To learn more on Benny Cenac philanthropic efforts, click here.

To learn more about Benny Cenac’s conservation efforts, click here.

The Top Threes of Houma You Won’t Want To Miss

Regional Military Museum

The Regional Military Museum is the perfect day spot to visit in Houma. Experience the history of the brave women and men who have fought to defend our country. The museum strives to remember the sacrifices all those women and men endured; past present and future.   

The Regional Military Museum is still expanding so if you have already gone, there is probably something new waiting for you. The best part is the tours; there are many hands on exhibits. You can even schedule a LCVP ride (Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel) just like the ones that were used to storm the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.

The museum also offers a Memorial Brick Program, giving people the option to engrave a brick that will be put in front of the museum’s new building. This is a great gift to remember a family member or friend who helped defend our country.

Southdown Plantation

The Southdown Plantation also known as The Terrebonne Museum is not only a museum but it can also be used as a venue. The museum offers guided and unguided tours. Established in 1828, the plantation has a rich history of a sugar plantation; over 10 different exhibits inhabit the museuming. So that means there is something for everyone.

The Southdown Plantation also offers it’s guest the availability of booking venues as well. Who wouldn’t want to host a dinner or a wedding on a plantation that beautiful.

Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge   

Maybe Museums aren’t your thing; Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge  gives the adventure a perfect escape. This refuge, established in 1996, is over 4,000 acres of leves, man-made canals, and freshwater marsh which is all divided by the Intercoastal Waterway. Louisiana is famous for its marshland so why not experience it in full force.

The best part about the refuge is the amount of activities you can enjoy. This is the perfect place to take that old boat out. Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect place to enjoy a boat ride. Or what about those old fishing poles? Pack up the tackle box and head out there.

Don’t own a boat? Don’t worry, the refuge offers an amazing nature trail that is only accessible during the day. The trail passes thru the many different habitats that make up this beautiful state. The refuge also offers its guest the option of hunting.

Make sure you check out the rules and regulations and the permits before visiting the refuge. You don’t want to get there and then have to turn back because you forgot something!

3 Places to stay

A Chateau on the Bayou Bed & Breakfast

Need a place to stay but you don’t want the traditional hotel? Look no further than A Chateau on the Bayou Bed & Breakfast, just 15 minutes away from Houma. This Bed and Breakfast is in a central location making activities endless. Enjoy the relaxing stay on the bayou.

The best part about this Bed and Breakfast is that they have so many options and packages for you to choose from. You can even plan a girls trip! Check out their website for more awesome options.

Waterproof Plantation

Traveling with an RV and need a place to park it? Hideaway Ponds is a RV resort that is located in Gibson, Louisiana, just 20 minutes from central Houma. Hideaway Ponds has their own map which can be printed out and used by their guest to find the activities on the sight.

Some of the amenities include: a dog park, a fishing pond, a catfish pond, a pool, a club house, a laundry station and paddle boats. The resort is a vacation in itself!

Courtyard by Marriott

Want to go for the more traditional route? Courtyard by Marriott offers many amenities for those who are seeking. The Bistro at the hotel has many food and drink options for its guest. There is wifi throughout the hotel, free of course. There is even an outdoor and indoor pool.

Need to host a business event? Courtyard offers more than 4,000 square feet of meeting space. Completely equipped with “state of the art audio visual equipment with multimedia capability”.

3 Places to Eat

Cristiano Ristorante

Cristiano Ristorante offers northern Italian cuisine; using only local and fresh ingredients. Located in Houma, this restaurant gives you some italian heritage while still experiencing southern hospitality. Their menu offers endless options, they even offer brunch and a brunch menu.  

Big Al’s Seafood Restaurant

Wanting a more cajun casual restaurant? Big Al’s Seafood Restaurant has exactly what you’re looking for. Offering boiled and fried seafood dishes. Even alligator is a huge hit on their menu. Recently they added Charbroiled Oysters and guest can’t stop asking for them. They even cater!

Bilello’s Cafe

Craving a Poboy? Bilello’s Cafe has almost anything you could think of. Not a fan of Poboys? Their menu also offers pasta.  All you have to do is check out their Gallery page to see some of their delicious meals. But make sure you have eaten before you look because you might end up driving to Houma to get a taste.

For more Louisiana related articles, click here.

Benny Cenac, Houma Philanthropist, Supports Local Foundation

Benny Cenac, Houma philanthropist and owner of Cenac Marine Services, has always been a big supporter of the Bayou Community Foundation (BCF). Rightfully so, as it has invested more than $1 million in grants for critical community needs since 2013. Cenac had a large part in the creation of the foundation as he secured the initial funding given from The Gheens Foundation totaling upwards of $250,000 which was used to jumpstart it.  The Gheens Foundation, Inc. was established in 1957 by C. Edwin and Mary Jo Gheens to continue their lifelong interests in education, religious programs and human services.  Mr. Gheens, a Louisville native whose father and uncle were successful in the wholesale grocery business, was the owner of a large, successful candy manufacturing company in Louisville.  The family also owned a working plantation in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana which was rich in mineral resources.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Gheens were leaders in their church and active in other philanthropic, educational, and cultural endeavors in Louisville.  After Mr. Gheens’ death in 1961, Mrs. Gheens selected several friends to serve as Foundation Trustees. The trustees continued to oversee the work of the Foundation after her death in 1982.  At that time, foundation assets were valued at approximately $23,000,000.

The Gheens Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in Kentucky.  The Trustees oversee approximately $6.5 million in grants annually. Most of the grants are made in the Louisville area and support a wide variety of endeavors, including public education, economic development, medicine, the arts and social/health services.  The Gheens Foundation has distributed over $118,000,000 in charitable grants since its inception and today is valued at approximately $147,000,000.

Their mission? Much like Arlen “Benny” Cenac, Jr.’s mission for his community: “To improve the quality of life for all citizens and institutions of Metropolitan Louisville and Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes in Louisiana by creative grant-making and philanthropic leadership to meet the present and emerging needs of our communities.”

Since the initial securement of funds by Cenac from The Gheens Foundation, Mr. Benny Cenac, Houma businessman and philanthropist, has donated $10,000 yearly to help ensure the program has what it needs to continue serving the community.  As an avid community enthusiast, Mr. Cenac was thrilled when the BCF announced “grants totaling $230,000 to 29 non-profit organizations working in Lafourche, Terrebonne, and Grand Isle as part of the foundation’s largest grant program to date.”

“Today is an awesome day of celebration for BCF as we award grants for nonprofits that are changing people’s lives for the better and making our entire Bayou Region an even better place to live and work. We always say that Lafourche, Terrebonne and Grand Isle are special communities, and these 29 grant awards demonstrate the care and compassion we have for our fellow residents and our commitment to strengthening this unique place we call home,” said BCF Chairman Dr. James Leonard.

Benny Cenac, Houma entrepreneur has had a passion for supporting services, education, workforce development and coastal preservation for years.  He is known for donating resources to these causes both personally and professionally.  Therefore, the Bayou Community Foundation holds a very high level of importance to the Houma, LA based entrepreneur.  Since the birth of BCF in 2012, the foundation has been focused on building and sustaining our Lafourche, Terrebonne and Grand Isle communities by supporting local nonprofits that help our neighbors in need, provide educational opportunities to residents, and work to preserve our valuable coast.  This year’s grants will fund innovative programs that fill critical needs in our community by providing mental health care and addiction recovery programs, food and medicine for the poor and elderly, advocates for children in foster care, and tutoring and mentoring programs for at-risk youth, just to name a few.

Gifts from the Gheens Foundation, local family foundations, and other generous local donors support BCF’s grant-making program, focused on addressing the region’s most critical needs. Since 2013, BCF has awarded $1,012,270 in competitive grants to local nonprofits working in human services, education, workforce development, and coastal preservation.  The organization also conducts workshops for nonprofit organizations, coordinates the “Give Bayou” online giving effort, and conducts other programs designed to sustain and strengthen local nonprofits and our precious coastal community.

For more information on the BCF, click here.

Benny Cenac Towing Co. Presents Fall Fest

Benny Cenac and Cenac Marine Services Presents Houma Downtown Fall FestBenny Cenac, Houma Philanthropist, recently donated to the first annual Downtown Houma Fall Fest.  Downtown Houma was able to successfully host its First Annual Fall Festival over the weekend.  Presented by Cenac Marine Services and filled with a variety of local bands, the fall festival was a huge hit throughout the town.  Cenac Marine Services owner and philanthropist Arlen Benny Cenac, Jr. jumped at the opportunity to help support this event as he is always an avid proponent of arts, music, and community and believes the incorporation of arts in a community significantly increases the strength of the community.

The vision that the creators of Fall Fest had in mind was brought to life as they received support from local companies, vendors and the very talented native music community.  As stated on Downtown Fall Fest’s website, “Downtown Fall Fest, in its infancy, was an idea forged from the minds of local musicians, yearning to rebuild a local music scene that has largely been dormant the past few years. The idea gained traction quickly and began to grow as more individuals gave their input. Within days, a simple comment grew into an idea, then a concept revolving around building support for local musicians, while also giving back to the community.”  All proceeds from the Downtown Fall Festival will benefit local music programs for the purchase and repair of musical instruments.

Music has been shown to significantly increase the strength of a community since prehistoric times.  Music was one of the earliest forms of communication so it was not only inseparable from early communities, but was absolutely integral to positive community relationships. In fact it’s now been proven that early cultures with a strong musical tradition thrived whereas cultures without a musical tradition struggled to survive.  One reason for this is because music evokes strong emotions and since music coordinates their emotions, it helps important messages to be communicated and motivates individuals to identify with and to support other members within their community. Recent research has shown that when an individual feels positive, relaxed and confident they are much more able to integrate with other members of their community which increases their capacity for social integration. This in turn strengthens the community as a whole because when all the members of a community are fully integrated each individual is able to contribute a diverse and unique set of skills and talents to that community.

There are two major benefits of incorporating music into the community- it improves the social development of the individual by increasing their feelings of well being and connectedness, and it also increases that individual’s ability to then integrate within their community which results in a stronger community for all of its members.

Residents, along with Mr. Benny Cenac, are hopeful that more affordable arts events will be brought to the area.  There was free admission to all stages of the festival except for the Brick House Stage which was only $5.  Local residents were able to enjoy their favorite local bands including Sheauxdown, Southern Cross, Category 6, and much more. The festival also includes a jambalaya cook off, BBQ cook off, craft booths, and more.

To read a full article on the events, click here. To learn more about Mr. Cenac’s philanthropy efforts and community involvement visit here.