Our Club History
The Rotary Club of Houma was organized on October 20, 1921 and admitted to membership in Rotary International on November 1, 1921. The club was sponsored by the Rotary Club of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Seventeen local businessmen were charter members of The Houma Rotary Club, they included President L. H. Jastremski, Vice President Calvin Wurzlow, Secretary Tris B. Easton, Treasurer Charles A. Ledet, and Sergeant-at-Arms D. M. Kilpatrick. The additional members were: S. P. Achee, H. L. Bourgeois, William Cenac, J. E. Clayton, Herman A. Cook, T. Baker Smith, Hugh Paul St Martin, M.D., Xavier St. Martin, J.H. Thatcher, Wiley E. Thibodaux, Julius Dupont and Ernest Dupont.
The formation of the Rotary Club of Houma marked the beginning of a new era of service in the bayou region of South Louisiana. Over the years, the Club members have been influential in the growth and development of the community and served as outstanding leaders not only in our community and our country.
1921 – The Houma Rotary Club was successful in moving Dr. George Arceneaux, County Agent, to Terrebonne Parish. Dr. George Arceneaux became a Rotarian nine months after our club was chartered.
1928 – Our Rotary Club sponsored the formation and provided the leadership for the Boy Scout program under the direction of Judge Robert B. Butler. Stephen T. Kenney became the first paid director. Each year Rotarians were active in Fund Campaigns for both Boy and Girl Scouts. Rotarian Gibson Autin reorganized the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce with Rotarians providing leadership all through its history.
1934 – Rotarian Madison L. Funderburk initiated a movement to develop a deep-water channel to the Gulf of Mexico.
1936- Under the leadership of Rotarian Robert B. Butler our club co-sponsored with the Rotary Club of Plaquemine, the Rotary Club of Thibodaux, chartered on May 21, 1936. We also sponsored the chartering of the Rotary Club of Morgan City on December 21, 1936.
1942 – Under the leadership of Dave Norman, our club sponsored the formation and chartering of the Rotary Club of Lockport. Dr. Guy Jones was the first President.
1944 – Under the leadership of Dr. George Arceneaux, our club sponsored the development of the first Rural Recreation Program in the United States, embracing recreation activities for rural people of all ages. Dr. Arceneaux was instrumental in hiring its first paid director Rotarian Stephen T. Kenney who resigned as Boy Scout Director.
1961 – The Houma Rotary Club, under the leadership of Hartwell A. Lewis, actively promoted the construction of the Houma Tunnel under the Intracoastal Waterway was dedicated in 1965.
1968—1969 — Rotary Foundation Study Groups from Belgium, England, Wales, Australia and New Zealand visited Houma. We co-sponsored with the Thibodaux Rotary Club the Rotaract Club at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
1971—1972 — A member of the Houma Rotary Club, George Arceneaux, served as District Governor for District 6200. We celebrated our 50th Rotary Anniversary during this year. Hartwell A. Lewis, Chairman, minted doubloons with District Governor George Arceneaux’s name in silver, bronze and aluminum. The sale of the silver and bronze netted enough funds to purchase 10,000 aluminum doubloons. At the Rotary International Meeting in Houston, Rotarian Robert McCormick gave the majority of the doubloons to visitors from around the Rotary World. Houma Rotary Club President Don Weidenbacher and DO George Arceneaux sponsored the LaRose Rotary Club that existed for five years.
1978 – President Richard E. Turner established our club members as certified members of The Terrebonne General Hospital Blood Bank. Under the leadership of Rotarian Dr. William T. Summerlin, the Houma Runners Club was sponsored. In 1978, in response to the demands of the community for a fundraising leader, Rotarians organized The United Way for South Louisiana with many Rotarians serving as officers and board members through the years.
1979 -Our Club sponsored the organization and chartering of the Rotary Club of Houma-Terrebonne. Rotarian Wells Long served as the District Governor’s Special Representative during the provisional period of the club’s existence. Rotarian Richard E. Turner was selected Rotary District 620 Governor’s representative to lead the District 6200 Group Study Exchange Team of six District members to Sydney Australia. Under the leadership of Rotarian William T. Sumrnerlin, a luncheon for the YMCA Organizing Committee was sponsored. The Houma-Terrebonne Family YMCA became a Houma Rotary Club project with many Rotarians serving as officers and board members throughout the years.
1983 – Rotary International President Hireji Mukasa and his wife Kivoko of Japan visited the Houma Rotary Club as a personal courtesy to our late friend, then Rotary International Vice President George Arceneaux. While in Houma, President Mukasa participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for The Houma-Terrebonne Family YMCA. In 1983 Dr. George Arceneaux, a Rotarian since 1922, returned to live in Houma after traveling and living all around the world. Dr. Arceneaux was proposed and installed as an Honorary Member.
1984 – Under the leadership of PDG Billy Foster our club established The Doug Stire Memorial Fund, in memory of Rotarian Doug Stire who died of Hypothermia. The Memorial Fund established survival courses for resident sportsmen.
1990 – Under the leadership of William R. Foster our club made history when Brenda Faucheux became our first female Rotarian. Brenda went on to be President for 2003-2004.
1991 – Under the leadership of Kenneth J. Trahan, the Houma Rotary Club assisted The Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence to bolster education in Terrebonne Parish Public Schools. Our monetary contribution of $15,000 was the catalyst for receiving a $7,500 grant from the Community Coffee Foundation, this seed money began the foundation endowment that now exceeds $1.7 million and continues to grow. Our club has donated more than $50,000 to the foundation’s endowment fund. Annually, grants are awarded in the name of the Rotary Club of Houma to public school teachers in memory of two former members of our club, Doug Stire and Ron Gautreaux.
1992 – Rotary District 6200 exceeded it’s $25,000 goal to establish the George Arceneaux Endowment in the Rotary Foundation, with the membership of The Houma Rotary Club donating over $4,000 in remembrance of our club’s international emissary. Under the leadership of Rotarian James J. Buquet, Leadership-Terrebonne was established with an intense fund campaign to raise the necessary hinds. Leadership-Terrebonne, through creative relationship-building exercises, participants learn more about each other, and ways they can work together for the betterment of our parish.
1996 – The Houma Rotary Club declared September 11, 1996 as “Buster Olivier Day” to celebrate Christian Louis Olivier, Jr.’s 50 Years in Rotary. Booklets were printed detailing Buster’s service in Rotary’s Four Avenues of Service; community leaders made presentations in appreciation of his service.
2003 – Under the leadership of Rotarian L. J. Folse and Rotarian Travis Lavigne a Community College for Houma became a reality. Received a Lend-a-Hand Presidential Citation.
2004 – Established the Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence endowment. Built first Habitat House for Terrebonne.
2005 – Published the commemorative history book of the Rotary Club of Houma 1921-2005 by Hartwell Lewis.
2009 – Brought EarlyAct and subsequently interact Programs into Terrebonne Parish Public Schools.
Our Past Presidents
|L. H. Jastremski||1921-22|
|T. B. Easton||1923-24|
|Henry L. Bourgeois||1924-25|
|William L. Blanchard||1926-27|
|Louis J. Derbes||1927-28|
|J. Louis Watkins||1928-29|
|Charles A. Ledet||1930-31|
|Allen J. Ellender||1932-33|
|Madison L. Funderburk||1934-35|
|Morris A. Lottinger||1935-36|
|Robert B. Butler||1936-37|
|Gardiner L. Tucker||1937-38|
|Gordon Y. Millet||1938-39|
|Lewellyn E. Lapeyrouse||1939-40|
|Raoul C. Toups||1940-41|
|Robert B. Butler||1945-46|
|A Dupre Vaeth||1946-47|
|Clyde L. LeBlanc||1947-48|
|Victor A. Maunn||1948-49|
|John B. Gordon||1949-50|
|Christian L. Olivier||1951-52|
|L. Philip Caillouet||1952-53|
|Hayes J. Whitney||1953-54|
|John C. Pittman||1954-55|
|Russell M. Ramp||1956-57|
|Claude B. Duval||1957-58|
|Arnold A. Autin||1960-61|
|L. Lloyd LeBlanc||1964-65|
|A. J. Buquet||1965-66|
|George Arceneaux, Jr.||1966-67|
|Henry F. Brien||1967-68|
|Harry A. Mey||1968-69|
|William L. Manning||1969-70|
|Donald H. Weidenbacher||1971-72|
|James J. Buquet, Jr.||1972-73|
|A Jerome Cain||1973-74|
|Robert H. Marmande||1974-75|
|Carroll D. McKey, Jr.||1975-76|
|William Ziegler, Jr.||1976-77|
|Bernard B. Saxon||1977-78|
|Richard E. Turner||1978-79|
|Alva J. Eschete||1979-80|
|Richard R. Torbert||1980-81|
|John M. Knife||1981-82|
|Claude E. Bergeron||1983-84|
|James H. Claudet||1984-85|
|William B. Bisland||1985-86|
|Donel C. Autin||1986-87|
|Richard J. Ennis||1987-88|
|J. Warren Cooke||1988-89|
|Joseph P. Mayet||1989-90|
|William R. Foster||1990-91|
|Gregory A. Whitney, Sr.||1993-94|
|F. Travis Lavigne, Jr.||1995-96|
|Robert Butler III||1996-97|
|Dale Thompson, Sr.||2004-05|
|J. Louis Watkins, III||2005-06|
|L. J. Folse||2007-08|
|Mary Lynn Bisland||2013-14|