The Greater Southwest Louisiana Black Chamber of Commerce hosted its 19th annual Trailblazer and Scholarship Gala in April 2019, after much publicity in the run-up to the event via local news outlets.

Hosted at the Cajundome venue, Lafayette, Louisiana, and carrying the motto ‘Sharing Our Past, Shaping Our Future’, the Gala featured the much-loved actress Denise Boutte as its keynote speaker. The event was a chance to celebrate excellence and achievement from within the community, with Vernon Duck Jenkins picking up the Businessman of the Year award and Natasha Leday winning Businesswoman of the Year.

Corey Frank, president of the Greater Southwest Louisiana Black Chamber of Commerce, opened the ceremony by stating the importance of the Greater Southwest Louisiana Black Chamber of Commerce to its community and region. He underlined the key values of the organisation, saying: “Within our mission, we focus on diverse cultural, economic, educational opportunities to create the unparalleled quality of life.”


Jazmin Thibodeaux, the news anchor on News15, was the Mistress of the Ceremony. After an introduction from Jazmin, Elder Terry Jones of Spirit of Faith Church led the audience in prayer.

Representing parishes from across South West Louisiana, the Greater Southwest Louisiana Black Chamber of Commerce continues to protect the welfare and promote the prosperity of businesses, all over the region, which are African American owned. Its motto of ‘DIVERSITY. OPPORTUNITY. COMMUNITY’ was certainly in evidence at the 19th annual Trailblazer and Scholarship Gala, which was a joyous coming together of members to celebrate both the achievements of others, and the enduring strength of the organisation.

The event concluded with music, giving guests a chance to strut their stuff on the dancefloor!