A multitude of thanks this holiday season

With another Thanksgiving behind us the Bayou Region now rushes headlong toward Christmas, and all that it entails.

Although last Thursday is the official day of thanks here and throughout this nation, we see the entire season from now through the new year as a time when things we are grateful for can be mulled, meditated on, examined and dissected. As well they should be.

It is a hazard of this time of year that we spend so much time readying for it all that we sometimes don’t get a chance to reflect on these blessings.

There is much that can be said in anger, with shades of negativity, about what we wish to see in our communities or what we think is done wrong.

But it is good to sometimes really take the time to think about what’s right.

We can start with the folks who are bringing Christmas to downtown Houma, literally as this is being written.

Members of boards don’t get a while lot of praise even though they try to do good things. This board deserves more medals than can be pinned on one shirt.

Shelly Ronquillo, Katie Portier, Bobby Arceneaux, Rhett Lecompte, Ronald Lirette, John Poiencot, Kim Chauvin, Dean Schouest and Anne Picou are the folks bringing us Christmas this year. And if this year’s celebration — starting Friday night, really — proves to be half as exciting as the advance materials and interviews indicate, then we should be in for one heck of a show.

From Midnight Express on a giant screen to an animated tug and a parade planned for pure joy, this Christmas appears to have everything.

Yes, there are certainly tangible benefits to the business community from the attention Houma’s sometimes maligned and sometimes ignored downtown gets at this time of year. But it’s well deserved attention.

Houma’s downtown is an underutilized resource and every potential for its growth should be encouraged.

For far too long the proliferation of law offices coupled with the imposing — yet certainly beautiful — Terrebonne Parish courthouse would have made it seem that criminal justice is the area’s biggest industry. In some ways perhaps it is. But there is too much of beauty and too much that is artistic and too much that is downright pretty in downtown Houma for that mistake to be made.

With the courthouse square and a variety of activities that the Downtown Development Corporation has helped make happen, coupled with the anchor status of the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum and its own various events, we here in Terrebonne Parish are doubly fortunate.

So now comes Christmas and the opportunity for more people than ever to take a walk around, familiarize themselves with businesses and features they might not otherwise have gotten a chance to see.

That means more potential for growth, and with a downtown area contagion is the key. A downtown neighborhood can decline one or two businesses at a time, or it can grow one or two businesses at a time. And we largely favor the latter.

The businesses that have pulled together to make this year’s festival are diverse, geographically and content-wise. Kim’s Shuga Shack, a relatively new business all the way down in Dulac, is among the sponsors. Flour de Lis, a bakery with the inventive name, is another generous benefactor. The list goes on.

We should also express thanks to Paris President Gordon Dove and the Parish Council, for their support of this festival.

Despite our challenges, despite an economy that has turned upside down, although it is said to be coming back, and despite so many other things we could be complaining about, we are grateful that so many people think enough of downtown Houma to pitch in for this Christmas celebration.

As Shelly Ronquillo said, the first priority of the Christmas celebration is the children who will have this holiday etched in memory. We agree wholeheartedly, and tip our hats to all who are making it possible. •