Ryan Perque | Executive Director, Friends of Bayou Lafourche
Tell me about your work:
What is the best part of your job?
We pride in ourselves for being a results driven organization that creates new opportunities along Bayou Lafourche. Bringing these new programs and projects to fruition is the best part of my job and motivates me on a daily basis. A great deal of our residents recognize that Bayou Lafourche as an underutilized hidden gem, and I am grateful to be in a position to revitalize this waterway as a scenic and recreational destination.
Additionally, the outreach component of my job is a lot of fun. Having the opportunity to speak with individuals and groups about Bayou Lafourche comes easy to me and our “product” (Bayou Lafourche) is an easy pitch. Bayou Lafourche is the lifeblood of our community. Many life-long residents do not realize that we rely on the bayou as a source of drinking water for 300,000 people and as freshwater diversion to protect our vulnerable wetlands. The bayou also plays a critical in our region’s economy for the area’s agriculture and oil & gas industries.
What is the hardest?
Prioritization. The potential for what Bayou Lafourche could be is limitless so it is easy to get distracted with new and great ideas. However, we have aggressive but attainable goals for the bayou. Strategically prioritizing my tasks to reach those goals can be quite challenging, but it is necessary for Friends of Bayou Lafourche to succeed.
Why should someone get involved with Friends of Bayou Lafourche?
The change that we are enacting will hopefully be around for generations. Bayou Lafourche has come along way since being an oversized drainage ditch, and we are in a great position to continue its revitalization. Our volunteers assist with various functions. From events to outreach efforts, volunteers are able to help as little or as much as they would like.
What’s on the agenda for Friends of Bayou Lafourche for 2020?
2020 is going to be a big year for Friends of Bayou Lafourche. We are going to be turning dirt on some projects that have been in the works for several years now. Notably, we’ll start construction on the Nicholls State University Bayou-Side Project which will create a new multi-use trailhead on the University’s batture project. The area will be open to the public and will include off-street parking, boardwalks, docks for paddlers, new walking trails, a pavilion, and more.
Relative to programs, we will be hosting the 3rd annual St. Patrick’s Day on the Bayou event on Saturday, March 14th in downtown Thibodaux. This family friendly event will include paddle races, cardboard boat dashes, a 5k run, live music, interactive activities for kids, and much more. We are also partnering with BTNEP on this year’s Paddle Bayou Lafourche which is a three day paddle trip from Donaldsonville to Raceland. Participants can paddle one day, two days, or all three days and that event is scheduled for April 2nd – 4th.
What’s one leadership skill you feel everyone must learn?
I believe a strong work ethic is key to not only professional success but also at life in general. We all have strengths and weaknesses, but a strong work ethic is within our control and is valuable in any role. Whether it is with your professional career, your family, or volunteer efforts, I believe that dedicating oneself will bring good results.
Tell me about yourself:
As a child, what did you see yourself doing as a career?
Honestly, I don’t ever recall having a specific career in mind. Even through college, I never considered public service or non-profit work, but that is what a majority of my career has been in, and I’ve enjoyed it.
What was your very first job?
Baseball umpire for the Thibodaux Recreation Department.
What time to do you wake up and how do you start your day?
Every day is different for me so I do not have a set routine which I like. Some days start early while others end late, but each day starts with 2-3 snooze buttons.
What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?
My wife, my family and my friends. I absolutely could not do everything I do without them.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Fishing and being out on the water with family and friends
Favorites/This or that:
Favorite potato chip:
Golden Flake, Sweet Heat Barbecue
Favorite vacation spot:
Grand Isle or any beach (extra points for cocktail umbrellas)
How do you take your coffee?
1 creamer, 3 sugars
Favorite ice cream?
Blue Bell, Pecan Pralines & Cream
Pen or pencil?
Early bird or night owl?
Whatever is necessary, but typically a night owl •