JFA hosts annual Christmas Party; Names Nora Lee Ricca Award recipient

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

The Jambalaya Festival Association hosted its annual Christmas Party at the St. Amant Recreational Center on Saturday, Dec. 6. The celebration saw its largest attendance in years including several dignitaries present. Parish President Tommy Martinez, State Representative Johnny Berthelot, and JFA Founder Steve Juneau were on hand along with many volunteers and Association Members to kick off the holiday season.

After partygoers mingled and served plates of fried fish and shrimp, potato salad, gumbo, brisket and much more, the awards ceremony began.

Two awards were given to outstanding Association members and friends of the Festival for their volunteerism and dedication to the Jambalaya Festival and its causes. JFA Vice President, Tammy Guillory, welcomed the attendees, noting the great turnout, and thanking everyone for being apart of the JFA before handing over the microphone to JFA Secretary, Meredith Conger, who presented the awards.

Conger also welcomed attendees and thanked Parish President Martinez for attending and remaining a huge supporter the JFA.

The first award of the night was given to Mr. Jimmy Berthelot for his support of the JFA throughout the years. As the Association continues with plans to build its new home, monthly meetings have been held at Berthelot’s Hall in St. Amant since the demolition of the JFA’s previous festival building. The Association is grateful for the use of Mr. Berthelot’s facilities and recognized him for his continued support of the Festival.

The second award of the night is one given each year at the Christmas Party, the Nora Lee Ricca Award. Nora Lee Ricca served as the Treasurer of the JFA for many years before serving as President 1980. While serving in office as President, Mrs. Ricca suddenly passed away. Each year since her passing an award has been given in her honor to the Association member who has most exemplified the call of volunteerism and service to the Jambalaya Festival and who has shown a great dedication to it’s mission. The 2014 Nora Lee Ricca Award was presented to Mrs. Brenda Taillon.

Taillon has been involved with festival for over 15 years serving on numerous committees and working nearly every booth at the festival. She serves on the Christmas Parade Committee, works alongside husband, Gilbert Taillon, in the Daiquiri booth at the Swamp Pop Festival each year and is always willing to do any task needed to help the Festival. Taillon is a dedicated Association member and displays a deep commitment for service not only to the Jambalaya Festival but also to the Ascension Parish community. The Association Board of Directors would like to congratulate Mrs. Brenda on her award and thank her for her many years of dedication.

Following the presentation of awards, Mike Broussard, Steve Broussard and the All Star Band had the dance floor packed with their classic Swamp Pop tunes.

The JFA would like to especially thank the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office for providing security for the event, the All Star Band, Tammy Guillory, Vanessa Blair, Todd Blair, Mike Berthelot, Rodney Savoy, Blue Forstythe and all volunteers who made the event a great success.

Below is a list of the Nora Lee Ricca Award Recipients since it’s first year:

  • 1981          Pie Lanoux
  • 1982          Dalton Marchand
  • 1983          Mary Ann Keller
  • 1984          Elsie Walker
  • 1985          Mac Daigle
  • 1986          Cobby Walker
  • 1987          Darlene Reulet
  • 1988          Ernest “Beaver” Cubbage
  • 1989          Frank Frederic
  • 1990          Anita Young
  • 1991          Pat Austin
  • 1992          Carol Frederic
  • 1993          Ed “Mike” Daigle
  • 1994          Eladee Chauvin
  • 1995          Robert A. Pitre, Jr.
  • 1996          Pearl Reed
  • 1997          Wally Taillon
  • 1998          Estelle Carpenter
  • 1999          Ruby Corrent
  • 2000          Frank Corrent
  • 2001          Solly Boudreaux
  • 2002          Lucia Smithey
  • 2003          Freddie Hurst
  • 2004          Mike Daigle
  • 2005          Carlos Braud
  • 2006          Gilbert Taillon
  • 2007          Carbett Bercegeay
  • 2008          Valmon & Rita Bercegeay
  • 2009          Tammy Guillory
  • 2010          Robert Jackson
  • 2011          Mike Gonzales, Sr.
  • 2012          Mike Berthelot
  • 2013          Shane Martinez
  • 2014          Brenda Taillon