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About Rotary - Houma Rotary History
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November 1, 1921  ~  Charter No. 1020

Rotary District 6200



Rotary Club of Houma Membership: 90

(As of October, 2016)





Current Number of Clubs Worldwide: 35,247

Current Rotary Members Worldwide: 1,235,100



(Figures as of May, 2016 ~ The Rotarian Magazine)






Some people think of Rotarians as a stodgy group of elderly men in suits.  The Rotary Club of Houma is far from that image!  We have a wide diversity of ages (23-95), male and female, along with different ethnic races, a good mixture of business professionals who bring a wide range of knowledge and life experience to our club, as well as a new generation of enthusiastic young people who have recently joined the work force and who are looking to volunteer and make a difference.


Meetings are held at the Ramada Inn


on Wednesday at 12 Noon

(Please check our Meeting Information for directions)





• On November 1, 1921 only sixteen years after Paul Harris and friends chartered Rotary International, Rotary traveled to the little community of Houma, Louisiana with less than 3,000 citizens. The Rotary Club of New Orleans, Louisiana sponsored The Houma Rotary Club, the names of New Orleans Rotarians responsible for organizing The Houma Rotary Club are not known.


• Then came more information: Rotarian Christian Louis Olivier, Jr., who joined our club in 1946, knew all Charter Members except one. Seventeen local businessmen were charter members of The Houma Rotary Club, they included President L. H. Jastremski, Vice President Calvin Wurzlow, Secretary Tris B. Easton, Treasurer Charles A. Ledet, and Sergeant-at-Arms D. M. Kilpatrick. There were seventeen founding members:  S. P. Achee, H. L. Bourgeois, William Cenac, J. E. Clayton, Herman A. Cook, T. Baker Smith, Hugh Paul St Martin, M.D., Xavier St. Martin, J.H.Thatcher, Wiley E.Thibodaux, Julius Dupont and Ernest Dupont.


• Meetings were on Wednesday at Noon at the Elks Lodge. Other meeting places for our club were the Sea Breeze Hotel, Booty's Southern, Red Carpet Inn, the Plantation House and The Holiday Inn.


• Since our founding members operated in a most informal manner, written records do not exist giving a written rational for establishing our Rotary Club.





• Our socials include an Annual Crawfish Boil, Annual Bar-B-Q, Annual Christmas Party, Installation Banquet and Christmas at SEC with Santa arriving by helicopter.


• The Houma Rotary Club is blessed with excellent leadership preparing for the future of Rotary. Our Board of Directors appointed committees to prepare a Website to be used as a recruitment tool and to prepare to print our seventy-five-page history in a hardcover book to be distributed to our members and area libraries. A membership development committee is actively seeking prospects for new Rotary Membership as we continue to develop our club programs which serve our community very well. Current projcts are: Christmas at S.E.C., Southdown Marketplace Coke Booth, Interact Club, EarlyAct Club, Annual Blood Drive, Food Partner with TFAE 5-K Run, Annual Dictionary Project for all 3rd Grades in Terrebonne Parish, Flag Project, Food Drive for local Food Bank, and Reach Out and Read Project. Our future plans include construction of a Centennial Rotary Park near our Public Library and expansion of our Group Study Exchange Program.




• 1921 - The Houma Rotary Club was successful in moving Dr. George Arceneaux, County Agent, to Terrebonne Parish. Dr. George Arceneaux became a Rotarian nine months after our club was chartered.


• 1928 - Our Rotary Club sponsored the formation and provided the leadership for the Boy Scout program under the direction of Judge Robert B. Butler. Stephen T. Kenney became the first paid director. Each year Rotarians were active in Fund Campaigns for both Boy and Girl Scouts. Rotarian Gibson Autin reorganized the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce with Rotarians providing leadership all through its history.


• 1934 - Rotarian Madison L. Funderburk initiated a movement to develop a deep-water channel to the Gulf of Mexico.


• 1936- Under the leadership of Rotarian Robert B. Butler our club co-sponsored with the Rotary Club of Plaquemine, the Rotary Club of Thibodaux, chartered on May 21, 1936. We also sponsored the chartering of the Rotary Club of Morgan City on December 21, 1936.


• 1942 - Under the leadership of Dave Norman, our club sponsored the formation and chartering of the Rotary Club of Lockport. Dr. Guy Jones was the first President.


• 1944 - Under the leadership of Dr. George Arceneaux, our club sponsored the development of the first Rural Recreation Program in the United States, embracing recreation activities for rural people of all ages. Dr. Arceneaux was instrumental in hiring its first paid director Rotarian Stephen T. Kenney who resigned as Boy Scout Director.


• 1961 - The Houma Rotary Club, under the leadership of Hartwell A. Lewis, actively promoted the construction of the Houma Tunnel under the Intracoastal Waterway was dedicated in 1965.


• 1968—1969 — Rotary Foundation Study Groups from Belgium, England, Wales, Australia and New Zealand visited Houma. We co-sponsored with the Thibodaux Rotary Club the Rotaract Club at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana.


• 1971—1972 — A member of the Houma Rotary Club, George Arceneaux, served as District Governor for District 6200. We celebrated our 50th Rotary Anniversary during this year. Hartwell A. Lewis, Chairman, minted doubloons with District Governor George Arceneaux*s name in silver, bronze and aluminum. The sale of the silver and bronze netted enough funds to purchase 10,000 aluminum doubloons. At the Rotary International Meeting in Houston, Rotarian Robert McCormick gave the majority of the doubloons to visitors from around the Rotary World. Houma Rotary Club President Don Weidenbacher and DO George Arceneaux sponsored the LaRose Rotary Club that existed for five years.


• 1978 - President Richard E. Turner established our club members as certified members of The Terrebonne General Hospital Blood Bank. Under the leadership of Rotarian Dr. William T. Summerlin, the Houma Runners Club was sponsored. In 1978, in response to the demands of the community for a fund raising leader, Rotarians organized The United Way for South Louisiana with many Rotarians serving as officers and board members through the years.


• On June 15, 1979 our Club sponsored the organization and chartering of the Rotary Club of Houma-Terrebonne.


• Rotarian Wells Long served as the District Governor*s Special Representative during the provisional period of the club's existence. Rotarian Richard E. Turner was selected Rotary District 620 Governor's representative to lead the District 6200 Group Study Exchange Team of six District members to Sydney Australia. Under the leadership of Rotarian William T. Sumrnerlin, a luncheon for the YMCA Organizing Committee was sponsored. The HoumaTerrebonne Family YMCA became a Houma Rotary Club project with many Rotarians serving as officers and board members throughout the years.


• May 1983 - Rotary International President Hireji Mukasa and his wife Kivoko of Japan visited the Houma Rotary Club as a personal courtesy to our late friend, then Rotary International Vice President George Arceneaux. White in Houma, President Mukasa participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for The Houma-Terrebonne Family YMCA. In 1983 Dr. George Arceneaux, a Rotarian since 1922, returned to live in Houma after traveling and living all around the world. Dr. Arceneaux was proposed and installed as an Honorary Member.


• 1984 - Under the leadership of PDG Billy Foster our club established The Doug Stire Memorial Fund, in memory of Rotarian Doug Stire who died of Hypothermia. The Memorial Fund established survival courses for resident sportsmen.


• 1990 - Under the leadership of William R. Foster our club made history when Brenda Faucheux became our first female Rotarian. Brenda went on to be President for 2003-2004.


• 1991 - Under the leadership of Kenneth J. Trahan, the Houma Rotary Club assisted The Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence to bolster education in Terrebonne Parish Public Schools. Our monetary contribution of $15,000 was the catalyst for receiving a $7,500 grant from the Community Coffee Foundation, This seed money began the foundation endowment that now exceeds $1.7 million and continues to grow.  Our club has donated more than $50,000 to the foundation's endowment fund. Annually, grants are awarded in the name of the Rotary Club of Houma to public school teachers in memory of two former members of our club, Doug Stire and Ron Gautreaux. 


• 1992 - Rotary District 6200 exceeded it*s $25,000 goal to establish the George Arceneaux Endowment in the Rotary Foundation, with the membership of The Houma Rotary Club donating over $4,000 in remembrance of our club*s international emissary. Under the leadership of Rotarian James J. Buquet, Leadership-Terrebonne was established with an intense fund campaign to raise the necessary hinds. Leadership-Terrebonne, through creative relationship-building exercises, participants learn more about each other, and ways they can work together for the betterment of our parish.


• 1996 - The Houma Rotary Club declared September 11, 1996 as "Buster Olivier Day" to celebrate Christian Louis Olivier, Jr.'s 50 Years in Rotary. Booklets were printed detailing Busters service in Rotary*s Four Avenues of Service; community leaders made presentations in appreciation of his service.


• 2003 - Under the leadership of Rotarian L. J. Folse and Rotarian Travis Lavigne a Community College for Houma became a reality.


• The Robert McCormick Award honors "The Outstanding Rotarian of the Year, a Rotarian who has shown the dedication and leadership that typifies the ideals of Rotary International, the Houma Rotary Club and every Rotarian who wears the Rotary emblem. The winners of this prestigious honor include the following:


1982 William Bisland,Jr.;  1983 Richard Torbert;  1984 Donel Autin;  1985 Robert McCormick; 1986 Jude Laperouse; 1987 Alva Eschete;  1988 Wells Long; 1989 George Arceneaux, Jr.,   1991 Christian Olivier, Jr.;  1992 Hartwell A. Lewis;  1993 William R, Foster; 1994 Warren Cooke;  1995 Gregory Whitney;  1998 Brenda Faucheux; 1997 Travis Lavigne;  1996 Ronald Gautreaux;  1999 Ken Trahan, 2000  Lisa Ferrell;   2001 Daniel Doiron,   2002 J. J. Buquet,  2003 Darrin Guidry;  2004 J. Louis Watkins, III;  2005 Dale Thompson, Sr.;  2006 Thomas Hassell;  2007 Tim McNabb;  2008 Sybil Webb, 2009 J.B. Daigle,  2010 Pete Benoit, and  2011 Mark Lee.




• The Group Study Exchange (GSE) program of the Rotary Foundation has strong support in the Houma Rotary Club. Two of our Rotarians provided leadership:


(1.) In 1974, Alva Esthete was appointed our representative on The Rotary District 6200 Group Study Exchange Committee. In 1979 President Alva Eschete had the privilege of having Richard Torbert selected as Group Leader for a Group Study Exchange with Australia which departed from the Baton Rouge Airport. Alva served as Chairman of the District 6200 Group Study Exchange Committee under District Governor Orleans Pitre.


(2.) In 1990, Rotarian Gregory A. Whitney was selected to be the team leader to Brazil (Minas Gerais — District 620) beginning a fourteen year "GSE Career". Greg served as chairman in the Houma Rotary Club and on Rotary District 6200 committees, assistant chair to district committee, district chairman, district team trainer and club chairman. Our club has had team leaders to Australia, Brazil and New Zealand. From the early days, through the service of Rotarians Dick Torbert, Alva Eschete, Greg Whitney and Jodie Teuton, our club has had a presence on the GSE Committee helping to mold, direct and observe so the Group Study Exchange could thrive in Rotary District 6200 and the Houma Rotary Club.




• The Houma Rotary Club Membership through the years has a long list of celebrities who served our club, Rotary International, the City of Houma, Terrebonne Parish, the State of Louisiana and the United States Government with honor and distinction.


• The most outstanding Rotarian was our 1966 Past President George Arceneaux, Jr. who served as 1971 District Governor and 1991 Rotary International Vice-President.


• The Honorable William R. Foster served as Houma Rotary Club President in 1990 and District Governor for District 6200 in 1997.


• Our Past President Allen J. Ellender (1933) served as Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives in the 1930*s and was elected to the United States Senate in 1936. He served for thirty-six more years, ending his career as President Pro Tem of the Senate the third man in tine for the Presidency of the United States.


• Our 1926 Past President, the Honorable Morris A. Lottinger, served in the State of Louisiana House of Representatives becoming Speaker of the House in 1948-1949-1950.


• Our 1941 Past President, the Honorable Leon Gary, was elected Mayor of the City of Houma in 1948 serving for sixteen years.


• Our 1957 Past President, the Honorable Claude Duval, served in the Louisiana Senate with distinction.


• Our Honorable Elward Brady served in the Louisiana House of Representatives.

  • Our Honorable Michel Claudet serves as Parish President of Terrebonne Parish.
  • Our Honorable Norby Chabert serves as State Senator representing District 20.


A Commemorative History -- Eighty-Four Years of Rotary Service and Success  ~ Published in Conjunction with The 100th Anniversary of Rotary International compiled by Hartwell A. Lewis. Copies of complete history available in a hard-cover publications: Hardcover History Book send $50 to Rotary Club of Houma, P.O. Box 811, Houma, La. 70361.