Exploring the Latest Updates on the Lanier Town Hall and Resilience Lab Projects in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana

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Welcome to the St. Mary Excel Local Interest Group meeting, where we discuss important community projects and initiatives. After a long break since August, we are excited to gather once again, this time virtually, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s meeting holds special significance as we honor the memory of Miss Donna Meyer, a cherished member of our community who made significant contributions to our work. Let’s dive into the key topics on our agenda for today: the Lanier Town Hall and the Resilience Lab projects.

Lanier Town Hall

The Lanier Town Hall is a project organized by the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. This project aims to highlight the unique attributes and potential of the Achafalaya region, positioning it as a suitable location for the Lanier. The Lanier Town Hall will consist of three meetings, two in-person and one virtual. The first meeting will be held at the Morgan City Municipal Auditorium, while the second in-person meeting will take place in New Iberia. Both in-person meetings will be streamed online for those unable to attend. The goal of these meetings is to engage with the community and present the vision of the Atchafalaya team for the Lanier.

The Atchafalaya team, led by the Lum Khan Director, has carefully evaluated the Achafalaya region’s potential as a locale for the Lanier. They will share their findings and engage with the audience during the first meeting. Additionally, the Sea Grant team will provide an overview of what the Lanier is and its significance. Finally, the Atchafalaya team will return to present their vision for the Lanier in our region. This segment will allow the public to gain insight and provide their valuable comments on the proposed plans. Your participation and feedback are crucial, as it helps shape the future of our community.

The Resilience Lab

Another important project we will be discussing is the Resilience Lab, which the Parish Council has been diligently working on. This project involves the utilization of federal funding and a partnership with the Water Institute to enhance the resiliency of our area. The Parish Council recently introduced the Resilience Lab as part of their plan for the federal funding. A public hearing was conducted in December to gather input from stakeholders and community members regarding the use of these funds. After the comment period ends and the Council approves the initiative, the Resilience Lab project will progress, involving more public engagement and concluding approximately a year from now.

Pushing Forward With Morgan City Bicycle Trail

Morgan City’s bicycle trail project continues to gain momentum, with significant financial support from federal and state sources. Various grants have been applied for, with many still awaiting approval. The project aims to enhance the city’s infrastructure and provide safe and accessible pathways for cyclists. As part of this discussion, a recent incident involving a pedestrian being hit by a car while crossing Brasher Avenue was addressed. Thankfully, steps are being taken to improve safety in the area by implementing pedestrian crossings with proper signage and resources. These efforts will ensure a safer environment for both pedestrians and cyclists alike.

Addressing Key Concerns and Future Steps

During the meeting, Mayor Duvall and other participants raised important concerns and potential initiatives related to the Lanier and bicycle trail projects. Mayor Duvall suggested the need for a pedestrian crossing to the center boulevard on Brasher Avenue, especially considering the number of tourists visiting the area. This suggestion was well-received, and it was noted that the proposed pedestrian crossings, as part of the grant, will allow easy access to desired locations. The discussion also emphasized the importance of collaboration with local universities such as Nichols, LSU, and UL to benefit the Lanier project.

The importance of the Achafalaya region’s diverse ecosystems was stressed by several participants. The connection to the heritage and basin, along with collaboration with organizations like the Chaffalaya National Heritage Area, could greatly enhance the Lanier’s potential. The meeting also highlighted the support received from Dr. Dusay, who provided a letter of support, reinforcing the region’s capability to lead this project successfully. It was acknowledged that politics play a role in decision-making, and efforts should be made to ensure our area’s influence and engagement in the Lanier project.


The St. Mary Excel Local Interest Group meeting shed light on the progress and future of the Lanier Town Hall and Resilience Lab projects. With the Lanier Town Hall meetings set to begin in February, it is crucial for community members and stakeholders to actively participate and provide valuable feedback. The Resilience Lab project’s comprehensive approach, fueled by federal funding and partnerships, aims to strengthen our area’s resiliency. The meeting also explored the ongoing efforts to develop the Morgan City bicycle trail and enhance pedestrian safety. The discussion highlighted the significance of collaboration, diverse ecosystems, and community engagement in ensuring the success of these projects. As we move forward, it is essential to stay informed and actively contribute to the development of our community.

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