The work of the Lourdes Foundation can be seen through a number of health care outreach initiatives for Acadiana’s poor population. By Heather Miller
Beneath the sharp facade of Our Lady of Lourdes’ new hospital on Ambassador Caffery, the two-fold mission of the not-for-profit Catholic health system remains the same: provide a 21st century health care facility for Acadiana residents, and continue the more than 60-year tradition of providing health care outreach services to Lafayette’s poor.
Since its inception in 1949, the Lourdes Foundation, a branch of Our Lady of Lourdes, has dedicated more than 10,000 volunteer hours, secured hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of grants and, among its many other services, assisted in excess of 6,500 parishioners of Catholic churches in the area with medication, diabetes and kidney screenings, vaccines and health education.
Using the biblical passage, “Care for one another as I have cared for you,” as a guideline for its mission, the foundation’s work can also be seen through a number of new health care initiatives in Lafayette Parish, like the health and wellness center for students and staff at Northside High School, the first of its kind in any public school here thanks to a partnership with the school system under Superintendent Pat Cooper.
And when the Stella Maris Hygiene Center opened its doors on St. Joseph Street recently to provide showers, restrooms, laundry and other basic services to Lafayette’s homeless, the Lourdes Foundation was one of several agencies that worked behind the scenes to bring the much-needed center to fruition.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.