THIBODAUX, LA — The South Louisiana Economic Council (SLEC) has contracted Emergent Method, a Louisiana-based management consulting firm, to develop a strategic plan which will assist SLEC in accelerating the economic recovery of Louisiana’s Bayou Region post COVID-19 and Hurricane Ida.
SLEC’s goal for the strategic plan reflects an understanding of the impact the pandemic and storm have had on the regional economy, specifically the Assumption, Lafourche, St. Mary, and Terrebonne parishes. Key areas the strategic plan aims to assess include:
- Identifying changes in the regional economy
- Pinpointing the best approach to support emerging industries
- Determining the approach to support operational changes within existing businesses
- Conducting an overall analysis of economic activity in the region
- Developing a focus on collaboration between EDO’s and key partners
The plan will also conduct a review of services, programs, and initiatives SLEC provides. This portion of the plan will allow SLEC to identify its organizational structure and funding needs moving forward.
“The trials to industry brought about initially by the pandemic and then exacerbated by the devastation of Hurricane Ida have tested the businesses within our region. We are proud of the adaptation and perseverance exhibited by local businesses and SLEC continues to adapt to better support them,” said Vic Lafont, President & CEO of SLEC.
The research and development process will directly involve community leaders. More specifically, local economic development officials from each of the Bayou parishes will provide recent and real-time data in order to accurately portray the current state of regional economic conditions.
“The past few years have been some of the most challenging for the people and businesses of the Bayou Region. As we focus on recovery, I am excited and proud to be a partner with SLEC in making a proactive plan to bring new, sustainable opportunities to the people and communities of St. Mary, Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes that will ensure a robust economic recovery,” said Evan Boudreaux, MPA, Director of Economic Development, Policy, and Public Affairs for St. Mary Parish Government.
SLEC anticipates the data collected will result in proposed funding and partnership initiatives as a means to accomplishing new goals.
“Given everything our region has endured over the past few years, now is a perfect time to assess our current situation and determine the needs of the future. One of the purposes of economic development is to ensure our existing industries, as well as future partners, have the best possible business environment in which to thrive. This strategic plan provides an opportunity to reevaluate how the parishes work together for the betterment of our businesses and ultimately our citizens throughout the entire region,” said Kristi M. Lumpkin, Director of Grant and Economic Development for Lafourche Parish Government.
Partnership considerations SLEC is likely to consider include those with local government officials to advocate for policy changes and those with regional businesses to pursue funding that would allow the implementation of new and relevant programs and services.
In recognition of the individual needs of the parishes SLEC serves, the strategic plan will outline parish-specific solutions that ultimately advance the region as a whole.
“The effects of both the pandemic and multiple natural disasters have been devastating for our bayou community. However, the resilience and work ethic our people have shown is incomparable. Moreover, this is the ideal moment in time to bring about a strategic plan to better grow, develop, and progress our local region into an economic upswing,” said Leonard Ledet III, Economic Development and Grant Coordinator for Assumption Parish Police Jury.
The initiative began in October of 2021 and will be completed by October of 2022. The finalized plan will follow a 12 month implementation phase in which SLEC welcomes full community involvement and feedback. For updates on the planning and implementation as SLEC defines a path forward for growth and resilience, please visit www.bayouregion.com.