At one time, Lafitte had its own auditorium. A place for the community to come together for celebratory events, where many happy occurrences took place and memories were made. However, after being flooded by numerous hurricanes and storms, the toll had been taken on the building. It literally came crashing down.

Finally, after many years, ground was broken on a new facility in April of 2013, and recently Lafitte residents were invited to share in the grand opening of the new Lafitte Auditorium.

This new building is just part of the town resiliency plan called Jean Lafitte Tomorrow that included a week-long meeting among stake-holders. One of the conclusions of the meeting was that Jean Lafitte should focus on developing the heart of the town, and the new auditorium is a crucial step in that development.

The thinking behind the auditorium and its design is that it will help create a more walkable town center, while encouraging private sector development and improving the quality of life for residents.

So, on the evening of Dec. 9, Lafitte residents gathered in their new, 18,000-square foot auditorium featuring a lobby with a box office, a covered porte chochere at the entrance to facilitate covered entry from a vehicle, a 13,000-square foot assembly area, two bars, a state of the art catering kitchen, and three separate bridal areas.

Jambalya and gumbo were served, and residents were able to tour the facilities to see the beautiful new addition to their community. Later, speeches were made and the band Category 6 entertained the crowd.

Councilman Chris Roberts welcomed the guests and residents he described as unique, having overcome 13 natural disasters.

“The former auditorium flooded five separate times, and it is the efforts of the council and Mayor Tim Kerner who raised the money to have this new auditorium built,” he said.

Mayor Kerner spoke next, thanking the many people and agencies who had helped along the way.

“It’s been a long road, but every time we hit a snag in funding, we contacted Ricky Templet or Chris Roberts. Both have been so good to us. I thank God every day to have a town council who wants to do great things for the Town of Jean Lafitte,” Kerner said.

The mayor ended by thanking the residents, who he says are the biggest reason that Lafitte doesn’t look as if a hurricane ever hit.

“We work hard together, and we came back,” he said, adding, “Not many people can say that they did for 25 years exactly what they wanted to do, but I have. For 25 years now, I have served you.”

After the mayor, Councilman Ricky Templet spoke shortly, emphasizing what a great asset to the community the auditorium will be.

“Look at this building. Look around folks, because this is yours. This is $6 million invested in your backyard, enhancing your community,” Templet said.

To reach Lafitte Lagniappe Columnist Lara L. Arceneaux, email, or text 225.276.1559.