Arlen Benny Cenac Jr. Sponsors TARC Gumbo Booth at Annual TFAE Run for Excellence

Arlen “Benny” Cenac Jr. and the Cenac Marine Services team proudly sponsored both the Terrebonne Foundation for Excellence (TFAE) 5K run and the Terrebonne ARC Foundation food booth after the run.

On Saturday, May 9th, more than 600 runners and nearly 3,000 individuals from all over Terrebonne Parish came out for the Terrebonne Foundation Run for Excellence 5K and “the best after-party” in downtown Houma. Arlen Benny Cenac Jr., CEO of Houma business Cenac Marine Services, has long valued academia and childhood-development and was pleased to support  Terrebonne Parish public education and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Cenac Marine sponsored a TARC booth, which served their famous chicken and sausage gumbo to guests.

The event is the primary fundraiser for the Terrebonne Foundation for Excellence (TFAE) and has raised over a million dollars in nearly two decades 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 have gone for 300 South Terrebonne High School English students to visit the Shakespeare Festival at Tulane University and see Macbeth, for Ready Reading workbooks for students at Acadian Elementary School ahead of the English Language Arts portion of the LEAP test, 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,

Ainsley’s Angels, a group that pairs children and adults with disabilities with a running partner at events across the nation, sent a cohort to the 2018 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 Arlen 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 individuals with special needs and children. “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 Arlen Benny Cenac Jr., “As a local resident and business owner, I am deeply invested in the success of the region and pleased to support so many worthy causes happening and helping right here in Houma.”

Arlen Benny Cenac Jr. sponsors Terrebonne ARC gumbo booth at TFAE Run for Excellence
Arlen Benny Cenac Jr. sponsors Terrebonne ARC gumbo booth at TFAE Run for Excellence

Arlen Benny Cenac Jr., owner of Cenac Marine Services, has been a longtime supporter of TFAE and Terrebonne ARC and expressed just how grateful he is to have taken apart in such a worthy cause—and participate in an awesome day of celebration in the Houma community. “The TARC group is made up of some of the most kindhearted and giving people you will ever meet. I’m always privileged to work with them.  It was a joy and honor to know my team was able to provide them with what they needed to succeed to have a wonderful time at the TFAE Food Fest.”

Terrebonne ARC was founded in 1953 and remains a pivotal organization within the greater parish community. TARC provides innovative services, the opportunity for community inclusion and the enjoyment of a meaningful life for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in Terrebonne Parish. They pride themselves on promoting advocacy empowerment and full participation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Terrebonne Community. The organization operates a number of vocational programs and services throughout Terrebonne Parish: four Cedar Chest Thrift Boutiques and their donation sites, Bon Appetit Cafeteria, TARC’s Buy-U Beads, Cajun Confections, Houma Grown Salsa and Pepper Jelly, Bayouland Yard Crew, Krewe of TARC, Grand Designs printing company, Lagniappe Cleaning Company, and TARC Restaurant and Gift Shop. ARC offers a myriad of employment options, Options Plus (Day Habilitation), Supported Independent Living, and Personal Care Attendant services. The organization hosts an array of other programming including a day program, family support, health services, transportation services, a wellness center and gum, and arts and music therapy. To learn more about Terrebonne ARC or know of someone who may want to participate in the organization, please visit their site at

Arlen Benny Cenac Jr.: Business Owner, Philanthropist, Gumbo Lover

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.

Arlen Benny Cenac Jr. and Cenac Marine sponsors TARC gumbo booth
Arlen Benny Cenac Jr. and Cenac Marine sponsor TARC gumbo booth at TFAE Run for Excellence

Over the years, Mr. Cenac 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.

Arlen Benny Cenac Jr. is already excited for next year’s Run For Excellence! Mr. Cenac 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 well as the hard-working members of Terrebonne ARC, as they mold and instruct the next generation of Houma leaders.

To read more about Arlen Benny Cenac Jr.’s Philanthropic Activities see:

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

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

Cenac Towing and Son Rise Music Fest

32 Classic New Orleans Recipes for Mardi Gras


Last week, Southern Living featured a stovetop crawfish recipe. This week, the New Orleans theme continues as they feature 31 more classic Mardi Gras recipes from this article. These 31 recipes range from Shrimp Malacca with Rice to Chicken Andouille Gumbo (all favorites of any Louisianan) but our personal favorite we wanted to share this week is a delicious seafood gumbo recipe, which you can also find here.

This recipe is perfect for the chilly weather we have coming in and it is also easy to make for a large group of people who you may be celebrating Mardi Gras with over the next few weeks. Whoever you choose to make it for, let us know how yours came out and if you decided to add anything extra to it!


  • 1 pound fresh lump crabmeat
  • 3 pounds medium-size raw shrimp (with heads)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 2 pounds frozen sliced okra, thawed*
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, divided
  • 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can whole tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped, liquid reserved
  • 1 pt. oysters (between 2 dozen and 3 dozen)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Hot cooked long-grain rice

How to Make It

Step 1

Pick crabmeat, removing any bits of shell.

Step 2

Remove shrimp shells and heads. Cover and refrigerate shrimp, and place shells and heads in a large stockpot. Add 8 cups water and a generous pinch of salt, and bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered, 1 hour. Cool 30 minutes; pour stock through a fine wire-mesh strainer, and reserve for use in Step Discard shells and heads.

Step 3

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, and add okra. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt, and sauté 10 minutes. Set aside okra, and wipe out skillet. Heat another tablespoon of oil in skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté andouille about 8 minutes or until brown. Set aside.

Step 4

Heat remaining 3 Tbsp. oil in a large heavy pot over high heat. Add flour, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes or until roux is a medium-to-dark brown. Add yellow onions, celery, and bell pepper, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic and 1/2 cup green onions, and cook 3 more minutes. Stir in tomato paste and next 7 ingredients. Stir in tomatoes and 1/3 cup of their liquid; gradually stir in shrimp stock. Add reserved sausage and okra. Bring to a boil over high heat, and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes.

Step 5

Stir in shrimp and remaining green onions, and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in crabmeat, oysters, and parsley, and simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. Taste and add salt, if desired. Serve over rice.

Step 6

* Fresh okra may be substituted for frozen.