Geismar Community Center renamed to honor Richard Brown

Brandie Richardson

Dozens of local officials, family members and community residents gathered at the Geismar Community Center on April 28 for a day of dedication and remembrance of the late Richard "Coach" Brown, a man who touched the lives of countless people. Gonzales Police Chief Sherman Jackson was the Master of Ceremonies for the dedication.

Numerous people spoke about the impact he had on them, with the common theme being that he was a selfless, caring man who dedicated his life to helping others. Brown was a former teacher, coach, administrator and school board member in the Ascension Parish School System and was known for his activism and mentorship.

"All you had to do was show interest in helping others and Richard's face would light up," said guest speaker James Moore. "Helping others was his mission. He was someone we took for granted who would be around much longer. Coach had faith that every child and every adult, given the opportunity, would be a successful and productive citizen in society. He knew that if he gave each and everyone that opportunity they would live on and be someone."

Moore also spoke about Brown's passion for his program, the Young Men of Character and Young Women of Character. Each month mentors from the group visit with various schools in the parish to teach the students about possible career paths and provide them with encouragement, teamwork and leadership skills.

"He was so proud of that program because he was always trying to give to others," he said. "With that program he helped appreciate not what young me could do but what young men should do.

"His love and affection for his family, God and his church and the community was immeasurable," said guest speaker Roy Quezaire. "When it came to children Richard wore a Superman cape and always flew in the wind of the children for he was their super mentor and super role model."

Mark Dearman and Shannon Arceneaux from Rubicon Chemical Plant presented Brown's wife Beverly and son Terrance with a plaque of Richard, which will be hung on the front of the center, along with a proclamation from Parish President Kenny Matassa declaring the renaming of the Geismar Community Center to The Richard Brown Community Center.

"He was a great man and I am very humbled and honored to be apart of this," Matassa said before reading the proclamation.

Brown's son Terrance closed out the ceremony thanking everyone who was in attendance and briefly looking back on the legacy his father left and how he helped shape him into the man he is.

"It doesn't feel like six or seven months have gone by, to me it feels like yesterday," he said. "As sure as the wind is blowing he is still here. This dedication physically shows that and in our hearts and mind and actions it should show that. I know my dad is looking down."