LSU AgCenter receives federal award for innovative efforts after 2005 hurricanes

Frances Gould, Merrill, Thomas A.  |  10/9/2008 8:13:16 PM

News Release Distributed 10/09/08

The LSU AgCenter is being recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its innovative efforts after the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

A team of faculty members and administrators from the LSU AgCenter have been selected to receive the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service’s Partnership Award for Innovative Program Models. The award will be presented Oct. 21 in Washington, D.C.

“Although we named certain people who played key roles in our hurricane recovery efforts in this award material, the award really recognizes the efforts of all our faculty and staff members across Louisiana who responded valiantly after the 2005 storms,” said Dr. Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor and director of its Extension Service. “This award is a credit to all of them and their work.”

The USDA/CSREES partnership awards were instituted in 2007 and recognize excellence among state partners in the nation’s land-grant university system for recognized excellence in mission integration, multistate efforts, innovative program models and effective and efficient use of resources.

The innovative program models award to the LSU AgCenter recognizes its “innovative responses despite personal and professional obstacles ‘after the storms.’” Among those responses was the initiation of hurricane task forces following Katrina and Rita to assist with program planning and implementation and the ongoing work of those groups during the following three years to assist Louisianians in the rebuilding and recovery process.

“The LSU AgCenter was uniquely positioned to be the vehicle to respond to the hurricane recovery and rebuilding process through its network of offices and faculty across the state of Louisiana,” Coreil said. “But we had to look for innovative ways to make strategic plans quickly and to carry those plans out efficiently.

“Our hurricane task forces helped to drive that process, and they’re still looking ahead and helping us address such issues as disaster preparedness in the future, sustaining the recovery process and looking at emerging issues in rebuilding our communities and our state’s economy.”

Although the issues addressed by the LSU AgCenter are far too varied to list them all, some examples include farm and family financial management; building stronger, safer and smarter homes; disaster recovery for various agricultural and natural resource industries; coping with after-storm stress; rebuilding child-care businesses; and a variety of youth development efforts.

LSU AgCenter agents and task force leaders Mark Schexnayder of Metairie and Cynthia Richard of Lake Charles will represent the AgCenter in accepting the award during the Oct. 21 ceremonies in Washington – along with Coreil and LSU AgCenter Communications Director Frankie Gould.

The official list of LSU AgCenter team members recognized in the award nomination was limited to 35, and they, their titles and their work locations are:

  • Mandy Armentor, assistant agent, Abbeville.
  • Linda Benedict, associate director and professor, LSU AgCenter Communications, Baton Rouge.
  • Rex Caffey, associate professor (seafood economics), Baton Rouge.
  • William Carney Jr., coordinator, LSU AgCenter’s Callegari Environmental Center, Baton Rouge.
  • Hallie Dozier, associate professor (urban forestry), Baton Rouge.
  • Beth Gambel, agent (Crescent Region), Metairie.
  • Albert “Rusty” Gaudé, associate agent (fisheries), St. Bernard, Plaquemines and Orleans parishes (Belle Chase).
  • Dan Gill, professor (urban horticulture), Baton Rouge.
  • Cheri Gioe, extension associate/instructor (child-care/child-care business operations), Baton Rouge.
  • Frankie Gould, director and professor, LSU AgCenter Communications, Baton Rouge.
  • Kurt Guidry, associate professor (farm economics), Baton Rouge.
  • Gary Hay, professor (dairy science), Baton Rouge.
  • Tom Hymel, agent (fisheries and storm surge mapping), Jeanerette.
  • Joan King, associate professor (food processing), Baton Rouge.
  • Mark Legendre, chief financial officer, Baton Rouge.
  • Carolyn Leperi, agent, Chalmette.
  • Alan Morgan, professor (entomology), Baton Rouge.
  • Ellen Murphy, associate director and professor (family and consumer sciences), Baton Rouge.
  • Christina Navarre, professor (veterinary science), Baton Rouge.
  • Claudette Reichel, professor (housing) and coordinator of LaHouse, Baton Rouge.
  • Cynthia Richard, agent and Hurricane Rita Task Force coordinator (Southwest Louisiana), Lake Charles.
  • Johnny Saichuk, professor (rice specialist), Crowley.
  • Dearl Sanders, professor (weed science and wildlife) and coordinator of LSU AgCenter’s Bob Jones Idlewild Research Station, Clinton.
  • Kevin Savoie, agent (fisheries – Southwest Louisiana), Lake Charles.
  • Mark Schexnayder, agent (coastal advisory/fisheries) and Hurricane Katrina Task Force coordinator (Southeast Louisiana), Metairie.
  • Bruce Schultz, assistant communications specialist (writer and photographer), Crowley.
  • Tommy Shields III, agent, Lake Charles.
  • Mark Shirley, agent (fisheries and wetlands), Abbeville.
  • Pat Skinner, extension associate (disaster education/emergency preparedness), Baton Rouge.
  • Mark Tassin, department head, 4-H Youth Development, Baton Rouge.
  • Rich Vlosky, professor (forest products), Baton Rouge.
  • Jeanette Tucker, professor (family economics/finance), Baton Rouge.
  • Jerry Whatley, agent and parish chair (Calcasieu), Lake Charles.
  • Gary Wicke, associate agent and parish chair (Cameron), Lake Charles.
  • Becky White, professor (child development), Baton Rouge.


Contact: Frankie Gould at (225) 578-5679 or 
Writer: Tom Merrill at (225) 578-5896 or

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