“This is not about us,” said Skyra Rideaux. “It’s about amplifying and elevating those organizations who are already making a difference.” The Keep Lafayette Beautiful and Project Front Yard director was beaming in UL’s Lite Center Wednesday afternoon as she and local business icon Matt Stuller unveiled what they hope will prove to be an instrument of change in the place we call home.
On its surface, Parish Proud is a new beautification initiative that will figuratively and (hopefully) literally change the visual landscape of, not only Lafayette, but also the municipalities of Broussard, Carencro, Duson, Scott and Youngsville. But in addition to being an ‘initiative’, Parish Proud will also serve as an organization that supports the area’s many amazing partners that—day-in, day-out – are out there making Lafayette Parish’s aesthetic appeal match the intrinsic beauty of its people.
Bayou Vermilion District. Scenic Lafayette. The Azalea Trail. UL’s Sustainability Department. Those are just four of the aforementioned partners who will continue their amazing work, but will now know that Parish Proud, a Keep Lafayette Beautiful-endorsed movement, will be out there helping them connect the dots when needed. “We are honored and excited to partner with Parish Proud,” said UL Sustainability Director Gretchen Vanicor. “We’ve already done some amazing things on campus, and this will only make us stronger.”
Stuller-- who not only talks the anti-litter talk, but also walks the walk and picks up trash along the streets that border his Stuller, Inc. facility—said Parish Proud will focus on seven primary sources of litter: (1) Fast food packing; (2) Garbage trucks; (3) Open-containers (beverage cups and cans that end up on streets and in yards); (4) Cigarette butts; (5) Trash that flies from the backs of pickup trucks; (6) Illegal signs; and (7) Illegal dumping. “We are doing some great work in these areas, but we still must do so much more,” said Stuller.
Other speakers during the 90-minute unveil included Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux, McComb-Veazey Neighborhood Director Tina Shelvin Bingham and city-and-parish law enforcement leaders, Police Chief Toby Aguillard and
Sheriff Mark Garber. Attendees included business and civic leaders from throughout Lafayette Parish, plus representatives from some of the 14 elementary, middle and high schools who have shown their support for Parish Proud.
Parish Proud has a number of ways businesses, nonprofits and residents can further the mission, and its website (www.parishproud.org) provides the perfect entry point for those who want to become partners and make donations, too. “Awareness and education will be key,” added Stuller, “and each and every one of us can make a difference.”