The South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center unveils “Lis Nouveau” sculpture, commemorating the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Ida

TPCG announces road and bridge closures
August 29, 2023
Chaisson Appointed to National Leadership Position on Environment, Energy and Land Use
August 29, 2023

The South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center hosted their dedication of “Lis Nouveau,” a sculpture by Hans Geist and Kevin Brown to commemorate the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Ida, on August 29, 2023, in front of dozens of local politicians, artists, and community members.

The dedication ceremony hosted an impressive array of guest speakers, including Louisiana’s Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, Louisiana Division of the Arts Executive Director Susannah Johannsen, Atchafalaya National Heritage Area Director Justin Lemoine, Greater New Orleans Foundation President and CEO Andy Kopplin, Nicholls State University President Jay Clune, Fletcher Technical Community College Chancellor Dr. Kristine Strickland, Chairman of the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce Nicholas Hebert, Director of Planning and Zoning for Terrebonne Parish Chris Pulaski, and artists Hans Geist and Kevin Brown. Also in the audience were several members of the Terrebonne Parish Council, Senator Mike Fesi, and more.

“A huge thank you has to go out to everyone who helped put this event together for us today,” began South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center Director Jonathan Foret. “I think we would all agree that our lives looked a lot different two years ago, and we are here to celebrate the work we have done as a community to recover from the impacts of Hurricane Ida, while acknowledging all the work we have left to do. We also acknowledge the power of art to heal and inspire a community, especially after undergoing catastrophic destruction. Creating this permanent art structure is a reminder to us of our tenacity and our love for southern Louisiana.”

“Lis Nouveau” is supported in part by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, and the Rougarou Fest. As a nod to local heritage, this monument is created from original nutria pelt stretchers used to dry fur in the 1950s. These stretchers were donated by Alvin Dominique and Raymond Gros in honor of Wilma Cressonie. This work will be a permanent art installation on display in the waters of the Wetlands Event Center.

“I am so proud of the arts community here and all the work they do,” said Lieutenant Governor Nungesser. “I tell people that there is something in the soil of Louisiana that grows great talent, and today these artists have shown that with their great creation. This lotus flower is one that thrives in difficult environments, and to see this community come back this strong after so many disasters is what makes our community special.”

“It is such a privilege and honor to be here,” followed artist Hans Geist, accompanied by Kevin Brown. “When I first saw the call for this project, I really didn’t know what it would be about– but after brainstorming and praying about the idea, God revealed a vision in my heart to do something that would represent the rebirth of our community. We are still in the process of rebuilding even two years later, but for me, I wanted to create something that showed that we are restarting from the ground up. This lotus represents that. Thank you all for being here and supporting this project.”

Summer Skarke, a local educator who taught at Lacache Middle School for 25 years, then approached the microphone and read an emotional and profound self-written poem about her personal and communal experiences before, during, and after Hurricane Ida. Proclaimed “the Poet Laureate of Chauvin” by Jonathan Foret, Skarke captured the essence of perseverance, strength, and rebirth in her poem, which reflected the morals of the “Lis Nouveau” sculpture.

To see the new “Lis Nouveau” sculpture, please visit 86 Valhi Boulevard in Houma. For more information, please visit the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center Facebook or website.