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The Creole Classic Fishing Tournament board could have canceled the 2022 event, but that would have also meant that local charities wouldn’t have their support. After Grand Isle sustained damages from Hurricane Ida, the annual event at Bridge Side Marina wasn’t going to happen. United by the organization’s long history of supporting local charities, the board members rallied, and created the Creole Fest. “Local charities needed financial support more than ever,” said Kevin Bonvillain Creole Classic Fishing Tournament President.
“The majority of the Creole Classic Fishing Tournaments have been held at Bridge Side Marina in Grand Isle. We have every intention of returning to the island in 2023,” said Bonvillain. While the 2022 event was totally different, it didn’t stop the board from hosting an annual event that has been making a difference since 1984.
“We knew that our beneficiaries needed the support, so we had to come up with another plan,” Bonvillain explained. The board came together, got to work, and successfully hosted Creole Fest in September, at the Harang Auditorium in Thibodaux. The group organized a day of fun including a cornhole tournament, cook-off, live music, live auction, as well as Nicholls and LSU watch parties. “Our sponsors, and the community really showed support at Creole Fest, even though it was not our traditional event. Because of their support, we were able to give generously to the 2022 beneficiaries,” said Bonvillain.
In addition to the 2022 beneficiaries, the Creole Classic Fishing Tournament was able to give a donation to Grand Isle as well. “We knew we wanted to do something for the island, but felt the island could use the money immediately for rebuilding rather than waiting until after the Creole Fest,” Bonvillain explained. In July, a check in the amount of $10,000 was given to Grand Isle.
The organization recently distributed checks to the 2022 beneficiaries. Including the donation to Grand Isle, the Creole Classic Fishing Tournament has given over $50,000 to local organizations in 2022 including the following recipients:
- The Jackie Bartels’ Kids Conservation Fest – $14,700
- Bless Your Heart Foundation – $6,325
- The Virtual Academy of Lafourche- VAL Robotics – $9,450
- Friends of Bayou Lafourche- $6,400
- Friends of Beyond the Bell – $5,900
- The Town of Grand Isle – $10,000
“We are planning to expand events in the future with the intent to help the community even more. To continue sharing our passion, and to pass it on, we are talking about hosting events for kids that will be educational and fun,” Bonvillain said. Composed of approximately 20 men, the Creole Classic Fishing Tournament board includes Chancy Rhodes, Kevin Bonvillain, Seth Thibodaux, Hunt Ray, Philip Peltier, Doug MacDiarmid, Brad Benoit, Michael Bourgeois, Dustin Dubois, David Constant, Jeremy Leblanc, Clem Robichaux, Benton Leblanc, Blake Thibodaux, Jordy Chauvin, Kevin “Frog” Authement, Lane Pitre, Ryan Perque, Drew Hebert, Brent Barker and Matt Rivere. In addition to future events, the board is actively planning the 2023 Creole Classic Fishing Tournament in Grand Isle the weekend after Father’s Day. Follow the organization online for upcoming event details and applications for the 2023 beneficiaries.