ABBEVILLE, La. (KLFY) – A Vermilion Parish business, D&T Crawsfish, was one of seven Louisiana companies honored with the 2022 44th annual Lantern Award.

The ceremony was held at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

Lantern Award recipients are selected by Louisiana’s Regional Planning and Development Districts based on the overall contribution of the manufacturers to their communities, including investments in employment growth and facility expansions as well as public service activities with employee participation.

Honorees must have been in operation for at least three years prior to their nomination to demonstrate sustainability.

“In 2022, Louisiana manufacturers and their employees contributed mightily to the resurgence of our state`s economy and the resilience of our communities,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. “In the north and south, east and west, and central regions of Louisiana, these honored manufacturers have distinguished themselves by combining business acumen and community service. I`m proud to recognize them with Lantern Awards, one of LED’s highest honors, as they are a shining example for all businesses in our state.”

Don Benoit, the business owner, said, “We’re very honored to get this award as any award. Also humble.” He added, “It’s a good reflection of the parish.” 

Benoit’s business has been serving the Abbeville community for 27 years. He said he learned everything from his parents and transitioned to his own business but credits his team for their success. 

“It’s really an attribute to my employees and all the hard work and efficiency in which the manner that they work,” Benoit said. 

The company sells alligators and crawfish. Benoit said they do all aspects from the farming, to the distributing, to the processing and the alligators. He said the number of his employees varies from 50-150 because the work they do is seasonal. 

“If the company can make a few dollars and we can get employees working and keep the customers happy, that’s what we’re going to do,” Benoit said.

The other winners included: 

  • Capital Region: Swamp Dragon LLC, Baton Rouge
  • Central Region: Drax Biomass, Urania
  • Northeast Region: WestRock, Hodge
  • South-Central: Cospolich, Destrehan
  • Southeast Region: MECO, Mandeville
  • Southwest Region: Ingevity, DeRidder