The Tri-parish area is blessed with a solid economy – statistically one of the strongest in the United States.
So it’s only natural that our area’s businesses are serviced by a long-standing chamber of commerce.
Now with close to 100 years in service, the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce is aiming to boost the area’s economy so citizens can enjoy a better standard of living.
Located on 6133 La. Highway 311 in Houma, the chamber touts that it aims to make sure that Terrebonne Parish is a more attractive area to both its current residents and also people looking at the area as a possible relocation destination.
“We are dedicated to improving the quality of life for the area,” said Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Carlos. “We do this by building a strong economy through promotion of services to members, partnerships and alliances, legislative advocacy, economic development and other programs of action and value to sustain a prosperous and vibrant community.”
The Houma Chamber has roots that date back to the early 1900s – right around World War I.
Its official beginnings are a few years later with an official start date as July 1, 1918.
“We have paperwork that shows the beginnings of the organization in 1914,” Carlos said. “However, the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office documents that the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce officially began on July 1, 1918.”
The chamber has also moved around a couple of times in its history before nestling at its current location, where it has been for the past several years.
“The chamber was previously located at the end of St. Charles Street close to Bayou Black Drive. And then we moved to our present location here,” Carlos said. “Before that, it was located downtown on Belanger Street behind the present Whitney Bank.”
But no matter the location, it’s local businesses that come first.
The chamber collects memberships from local businesses, which serves to create sort-of a family or team-like feel with the purpose of fostering growth in the area’s economy.
The chamber also frequently hosts meetings and gatherings to keep folks updated on the happenings and trends within the economy.
“We host various events throughout the year that help to inform our membership of the current issues that affect their business and the community,” Carlos said. “That gives them opportunities to network with each, which allows them to increase the exposure of their business in the community.”
Carlos said what has allowed the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce to succeed is a strong membership core, a capable board of directors and also a staff that the president described as “the best.”
“Altogether, these are good, hard working people who care about what they do and the community in which they live, work and do business,” Carlos said. “We love what we do. We respect each other, and treat others with respect and consideration. It makes it easy when you are fortunate to have great people who work with you.”
So with nearly 100 years in the books, Carlos said the Houma-Terrebonne chamber already has eyes on the future.
The president said that the coming years will be important to the area’s future sustainability, as we make advances in hurricane protection – most notably the Morganza to the Gulf protection system.
Carlos said the chamber would be keeping a close eye on developments so that Terrebonne Parish can stay among the leaders in business.
“Issues that are still on our agenda for the year are the North-South corridor for hurricane evacuation, flood protection, flood insurance rates, improving education, and the affects of the Affordable Healthcare Act,” Carlos said.
“We are also striving to increase our membership so that we may strengthen our members and our community even more.”
Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce Events and Communication Coordinator Betsy Breerwood (left) and Administrative Assistant Chantell Pepper smile while looking through the chamber’s directory on Monday morning. The chamber has been available for decades with a goal to grow local business.