Local Businesses Celebrate Chamber and Community Resiliency
On July 29th, over 400 Chamber members, business leaders and elected officials met at Bayou Oaks Ballroom for the largest business event in the region- the 2021 GICC Annual Banquet. For the first time in almost a decade, the Chamber was able to host its banquet in the parish, thanks to the recent re-opening of Bayou Oaks Ballroom and presenting sponsorship from Iberia Medical Center.
The evening started out with something everyone has been missing- in-person networking. Attendees mingled in the newly renovated ballroom as they stopped by twelve different tasting stations that highlighted some of the best food in the parish. Banquet Chairperson, Denise Broussard, got the evening started by welcoming everyone to the event and introducing this year’s guiding theme- resiliency. Broussard said, “because of Iberia Parish’s resiliency, the entire world can be resilient.”
One of the main functions of the event was recognizing businesses and individuals alike for their contributions through the awarding of the Outstanding Civic Service and Business Impact Awards. The 2020 Retail Business Impact Award was presented to Southern Sass Boutique, the 2020 Business Impact Award was given to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette New Iberia Research Center, the 2020 Outstanding Civic Service Award was awarded to Natalie Bernard Broussard, and a special recognition went to Dr. Moses Kitakule of Iberia Medical Center. All of the awards highlighted Iberia Parish’s ability to thrive in difficult situations through community and inspire resiliency.
Keynote speaker and former director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, Malcolm White, gave a rousing address where he shared some of his own personal successes and spoke to Iberia Parish's resiliency. "All the things that other towns wish they had- year-round programming, tourism attractions, and a strong community- you guys have," White said. White thanked the crowd for their warm welcome and congratulated everyone on the success of Iberia Parish throughout the past year.
The night also featured three of the twelve restaurants who were chosen by the audience to receive first, second, and third “plate” trophies for their tastings. Taking home third plate was MISFITS Dine & Drink, in second was Guidry’s Cake Shop, and the coveted first plate went to Jane’s Seafood.
2020 Chairperson Mark Boyance discussed the Chamber’s outreach in 2020 to minority-owned businesses and ability to keep the community informed and connected through the pandemic, while 2021 Chairperson Wendell Verret discussed the Chamber’s successful programs like Positively Iberia! and the global sensation, the World Championship Gumbo CookOff. Verret also introduced the Chamber’s new CEO, Mr. Thomas Falgout, who stated he was eager to continue the great work of the Chamber and thanked everyone for their warm welcome.
The Chamber is looking forward to a busy and successful second half of the year. Keep up with it all at iberiachamber.org and facebook.com/iberiachamber.
Dr. Moses Kitakule, of Iberia Medical Center, accepts the 2020 Special Recognition Award for his contributions to public health throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Co-owners Tammy White (right) and daughter Breigh Breaux (middle), accept the 2020 Retail Business Impact Award for Southern Sass Boutique.
Jane Fontenot (right) and François Villinger (middle), accept the 2020 Business Impact Award for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette New Iberia Research Center.
Natalie Bernard Broussard accepts the 2020 Outstanding Civic Service Award.
2020 GICC Chairperson Mark Boyance receives recognition for his contributions while serving as the Chamber Chairperson through the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The highly coveted first plate was awarded to Jane’s Seafood & Chinese for their signature combination fried rice.
Guidry’s Cake Shop took home second plate with their delectable red velvet petit fours.
Misfits Dine & Drink took home third plate by serving a savory chicken speziato.