Terrebonne Parish Council Honors Atchafalaya National Heritage Area with October Proclamation

During their routine meeting on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, the Terrebonne Parish Council made a momentous declaration, designating the entire month of October as “Atchafalaya National Heritage Area Month.” As per this articlefrom The Houma Times, this proclamation strongly encourages the local community to immerse themselves in the wonders of the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area and its Basin, unveiling the secrets of this exceptional national treasure.

In essence, this official proclamation acknowledges the unique and distinguished status of the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. This territory, established under Public Law No. 109-338, Subsection B, is one of the 49 exclusive heritage areas officially recognized by the United States Congress. It covers the expansive Atchafalaya Basin, an iconic locale celebrated as the largest river swamp in the United States, often affectionately referred to as ‘America’s Foreign Country.’ The Atchafalaya National Heritage Area encompasses 14 parishes, including Terrebonne Parish, each woven into the tapestry of unique culture and rich history derived from life in and around the Atchafalaya Basin, making it an extraordinary and unparalleled Heritage Area in the nation.

Furthermore, the proclamation acknowledges the Atchafalaya Basin as an incredibly productive swamp, contributing substantially to the economic prosperity of Louisiana. It also underscores the critical role played by the Atchafalaya Basin and the parishes within the Heritage Area as essential wetland ecosystems, acting as a natural shield against the perils of storm surges.

This proclamation emphasizes the abundant opportunities presented by the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area for education, recreation, and tourism. These activities are integral to the economies of both the State and the parishes within the Heritage Area. The Office of Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism, and the Commissioners of the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area are committed to promoting a plethora of recreational, educational, and visitor experiences throughout the month of October. The objective is to raise awareness regarding the wealth of resources, distinctive culture, and recreational marvels nestled within this remarkable Heritage Area. It’s noteworthy that Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has also officially declared October 2023 as ‘Atchafalaya Month’ in the State of Louisiana.

In light of these considerations, the Terrebonne Parish Council, representing Terrebonne Parish Government, collaborates with Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Atchafalaya Trace Commission to declare October 2023 as “Atchafalaya National Heritage Month.” The primary intent is to inspire residents of Terrebonne Parish to seize this opportunity, dedicating the month to explore the various points of interest within the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area and its Basin. This will foster a deeper connection and appreciation for this priceless national gem.

This proclamation highlights the critical importance of preserving and celebrating the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, not just for its historical and cultural significance but also for its substantial contributions to the state’s economy and its role as a natural barrier against storm surges. It emphasizes the need for education, recreation, and tourism as key components in both promoting the region and enhancing the economies of the State and the Heritage Area parishes. For those interested in learning more about the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area and planning a visit during this special month, please visit their official website, where you can access detailed information about the numerous attractions, activities, and events that await you in this unique and diverse region.

In conclusion, the Terrebonne Parish Council’s proclamation for “Atchafalaya National Heritage Area Month” marks a significant step in the continued preservation and promotion of this remarkable national treasure. It invites residents and visitors alike to delve into the rich history, culture, and natural beauty of the Atchafalaya Basin and its surrounding areas. This October, make it a point to explore this incredible region and experience its wonders for yourself.

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Bayou Community Foundation Awards Funds to Local Nonprofits

Recently, over thirty nonprofit organizations that provide social services to the communities of Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Grand Isle were awarded grants totaling over $300,000 by the Bayou Community Foundation, according to this feature article from Houma Today.

In total, The Bayou Community Foundation (BCF) awarded $327,100 in grants to 32 nonprofit organizations that have been working diligently in the wake of Hurricane Ida to provide social services to local communities.  These grants come from the Foundation’s 2022 Annual Grants Program, and the awarded grant money is used to fund the distribution of food and medicine, resources for baby supplies and parenting, housing for the homeless and women in crisis, mental health counseling, addiction recovery programs, education and job training for at-risk youth, and plenty of other services that assist residents who were most impacted after Hurricane Ida.

Henry Lafont, the President of the Bayou Community Foundation Henry Lafont spoke on the importance of awarding these grants by saying, “faced with unimaginable challenges in the wake of Hurricane Ida, nonprofit organizations are working harder and shining brighter than ever before. Today, Bayou Community Foundation celebrates the local nonprofits that work tirelessly to help the neediest among us and demonstrate the compassion and resiliency of our unique Bayou community. Thanks to the amazing generosity of our donors, BCF is delighted to fund $327,100 in grants to 32 organizations that are feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, protecting the vulnerable, and making our entire community an even better place to call home.”

This year’s awarding of $327,100 in grants adds to the grand total of $1.97 million that has been distributed across 242 grants since 2013. These grants have been awarded for the past 9 years as a part of the Foundation’s Annual Grants Program. This year, the Program received donations from many individuals, families, and businesses local to Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Jefferson Parishes, including The Callais Family Fund, The Gheens Foundation, and Chevron.

The Public Affairs Manager for Chevron’s Gulf of Mexico Business Unit, Leah Brown, spoke about the business’s donating by saying, “at Chevron, we believe in contributing to the communities where we live and work. We’re proud to support the Bayou Community Foundation and its mission to build and sustain Lafourche Parish, Terrebonne Parish, and Grand Isle. We look forward to seeing the positive impact these grants will produce in the near term, as well as what we can continue to accomplish together in the future.”

One specific nonprofit organization that received an award grant was Lifted by Love, an organization that will use its $14,000 grant to help to provide transitional housing for 25 young mothers who are aging out of foster care with their children. Lifted by Love’s executive director Amanda Oden was able to put the organization’s grant award into logistical terms by saying that the BCF “grant will support our current efforts to provide housing for mothers and their babies, and fund our new Diaper Bank to distribute diapers, wipes, and formula and fill basic baby needs that are costly and in short supply.”

In total, 32 organizations received award grants from the Bayou Community Foundation during a ceremony that was held at the Larose Civic Center in July 2022. The full list of award winners can be found here.

The Executive Director of BCF Jennifer Armand talked about the significance of the awarding ceremony, “this is truly the most wonderful day of the year for Bayou Community Foundation as we witness the power of philanthropy at work! With generous gifts to our Grants Fund and Bayou Recovery Fund, donors have opened their hearts and pocketbooks to help sustain these critical nonprofit programs and support our community on our road to recovery. We thank our grantees for their important work and our donors for making today’s grants possible. Giving makes great things happen!”

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