The Lafayette International Center Foundation, advisory board to Lafayette International Center, presented the 17th International Achievement Award to former Lafayette Mayor Dud Lastrapes and former Lafayette Director of Community Development Phil Lank.
Lastrapes served as mayor from 1980 to 1992 and Lank served as community development director from 1977 to 1992.
A ceremony took place Thursday at the Festival International Artist Hospitality Suite at Jefferson Street Pub. The even was sponsored by Lafayette Economic Development Authority, Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission and Festival International de Louisiane.
“Though the accomplishments of both men were numerous, the one that is so meaningful is the establishment of the International Trade division and of Le Centre International in 1989,” IAA Chair Leslee Haseltine said. “Their initiative strengthened the distressed 1989 economy by maximizing Acadiana’s existing cultural, industrial and educational ties into international opportunities for commerce and tourism. Their vision coupled with our matchless U.S. culture and industries has given Acadiana a huge business advantage in the international arena.”
Lastrapes’ tenure as mayor included the design and construction of the Cajundome, the public approval of the funding for the future Camellia Boulevard Bridge, and the expansion and strengthening of Lafayette ties with its sister cities among other accomplishments.
His former assistant Bertha Bernard accepted the award on his behalf.
Lastrapes was unable to attend because he is recovering from surgery for a broken foot.
“Congratulations to the board of Le Centre International on the continuing activities to build our relationship with French-speaking countries,” Lastrapes said in a telephone interview with The Daily Advertiser. “I appreciate the recognition and I’m sorry couldn’t attend. But there were just a lot of good people involved in this thing and that adds to the appreciation. The Le Centre International board continues their efforts to promote Lafayette and keep programs and contacts going. There are so many good people involved. The festival turned out to be an outstanding example of the kind of work they do.”
Lank was instrumental in creating the very first Festival in 1987 and has numerous other accomplishments including helping to expand the Lafayette Municipal Auditorium — now the Heymann Performing Arts Center — the Senior Center Section, the Acadiana Recovery Center, the Acadiana Park Nature Station, the Lafayette Natural History Museum and Planetarium, to name a few.
“This is very special and I’m very humbled and proud of it,” said Lank. “Especially because I knew a lot of the past recipients. This was a big surprise, and I was very appreciative.Today is our anniversary celebration of 30 years of Festival.In my opinion, what its does best is help elevate Lafayette to a world class city.”
The International Achievement Award was established in 1988 to honor an outstanding individual, company, or organization that has significantly enhanced the international reputation of Acadiana through economic development, tourism, art, and music or goodwill ambassadorship.
Past recipients of the award have included: Louis J. Michot Jr., Robert J. Angers Jr., Zachary Richard, J.S. “Si” Brown III, Warren A. Perrin, Enrique L. Herrera, Matthew G. Stuller Sr., Dailey J. Berard, C & C Technologies Inc., Margaret McMillan, Festival International de Louisiane, Frank’s Casing Crew and Frank’s International, LAGCOE, Gary P. LaGrange and Eugene J. Schreiber, Oil Center Research International, and Festivals Acadiens et Créoles.