The purpose of the Hache Grant Association is to fund specific, measurable, and actionable revitalization initiatives that will enhance the quality of life in Terrebonne Parish.
Through multiple fundraising events over the course of the last few years, the organization raised the money to take on their first project: The Bandstand. Once upon a time, a gorgeous bandstand existed in the downtown Houma area. It was a gathering spot for our community to listen to music, speakers, and more. The new bandstand will be located on the corner of Church Street and Main Street, in the front corner of the grassy area of the Courthouse. In partnership with the Houma Downtown Development Corporation and Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government, once the bandstand is built, it will be turned over to the Parish. The groundbreaking for this project was held in June, with the goal of having it complete by October 2022.
Founded in 2021, the board consists of officers: President, Noah Lirette; Vice President, Ryan Page; Treasurer, Jason W. Bergeron; Secretary, Dr. Natalie Lirette; and Executive Director, Manny Merlos. Board Members include Daniel Babin, Mitch Trahan, Chad Guidry, Rodney Lirette, Tyler Harrington and Nick Hebert. The Hache Grant also recognizes the numerous volunteers and supporters of their events and fundraisers who give of their time and money to support their worthy cause.
While the first “official” project was the bandstand, the Hache Grant Association stepped up in a big way last year after Hurricane Ida. Noah said hurricane relief wasn’t anything they actively decided to do, it just played out that way. They started receiving questions from people about where they can send donations. With help from individuals such as Nick Hebert and the ELH Group, they were getting an influx of supplies ready to be distributed to those in need. Noah, who is also one of the owners of Bayou Terrebonne Distillers in Downtown Houma, said they were able to use the distillery as a depot for supplies.
This kick-started hurricane relief efforts for the group. One of the first initiatives was the “Bayou Terrebonne Grocery” where supplies were set up in a grocery store fashion. People were handed bags upon entry, and they were able to “shop” for supplies they needed, free of charge. Once Houma started to get a little on their feet, Jason and Noah said the group then focused on running supplies down the bayou to the areas hit hardest, which meant a lot of driving.
They said that it was tough especially when all communication was down. They would have to drive to areas, tag in with people they knew such as Jonathan Foret with the Helio Foundation and State Representatives Tanner Magee and Jerome “Zee” Zeringue. They would learn what was needed in what areas, collaborate with individuals and organizations, and find a way to get them what they needed. At first, they traveled to POD sites and delivered supplies, slowly continuing to push further south into the communities that were hit the hardest. “We all have our strengths,” Jason said, “and we all pulled together and pushed forward. We wouldn’t take no for an answer; we knew there was a way to figure out how to get supplies into these communities.”
Through donations and fundraising efforts, the association was able to expand its lending hands. Jason spearheaded the PAC Camp Project in Pointe-aux-Chenes that provided residents with showers and laundry appliances. This simple gesture of running water and showers meant the world to those struggling without.
Noah said he believes that downtown is the heart of Houma and the community is losing a lot of cultures and that if we don’t preserve the building and history, we’re going to be in dire straits. He shared, “We want to actually see things change, and believe that we can do something to make a difference.” Remember, Lache Pas La Patate!