The Bayou Industrial Group gathered tonight to honor local business leaders

The group held its annual banquet at the Wellness Center at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center.

The event honored outstanding members of the community and welcomed guest speaker Phillip May, president and CEO of Entergy Louisiana, who shared some of his thoughts on local business.

“It is great to be here tonight with a group of people who share our passion in the developments of the communities we live in and serve," May said. "Developing our communities and ensuring we have thriving communities is the most important thing we can do  to ensure that we are successful. If we want to be successful, the communities we serve have to be successful."

The awards presented at the banquet, the BIG Achiever Awards, recognize members whose volunteer activities exemplify the organization's mission to grow and strengthen the Bayou region through education, coastal restoration and protection, infrastructure and economic development.

Winners of the BIG Achiever Award 2018 are:

Stella Lasseigne, 2018 BIG Individual Achiever.
Eatel Business, 2018 BIG Company Achiever.

"I think that it is very important that we extend ourselves to as many organizations and people as we can, because I think this is our way of life here in the bayou region," Lasseigne said.

The two winners were presented by 2017 winners Francis Richard and MidSouth Bank.

The focus of BIG is the scholarship program and the annual fundraisers to support it. The group says it has been able to provide $45,000 in scholarships to students in the past five years, thanks to the Crawfish Crawl events. BIG's budget for this year's scholarships is $13,000.

The 2018 Bayou Industrial Group Board of Directors was also announced. The members are are:

Monique Crochet, Nicholls State University, president.
Michael Duplantis, John Deere, executive vice president.
Lori Leblanc, Lori Leblanc LLC, vice president.
Henri Boulet, LA 1 Coalition, secretary and treasurer.
Denny Borne, Bollinger Shipyards, past president.
Jodie Arceneaux, LaPorte CPAs and Business Advisors.
Greg Berthelot, MidSouth Bank.
Eddie Callais, Eatel Business.
Andree Cortez, T. Baker Smith.
Deanna Lafont, Entergy Louisiana.
Ben Malbrough, Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District.
Joni Tuck, Greater Lafourche Port Commission.

Crochet, new president of the board, offered from one of her favorite books, "Together is Better": "Working hard for something we don't care about, it's called stress. But working hard for something we love, it's called passion."

She closed by saying, "I'm thankful to be your president this year, and I am thankful for your support."

Staff Writer Andrea Mujica can be reached at 857-1148 or Follow her on twitter @CationM.