Travel group names Berthelot vice chair

Ben Berthelot, president and CEO of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, was installed as vice chair of the Louisiana Travel Association's board of directors at its annual meeting.

“I am honored to be serving LTA and the 750 members the association represents throughout the state,” Berthelot said. “This organization has worked to lead and strengthen Louisiana’s tourism industry for 58 years, and I look forward to working with my fellow board members to keep the momentum going.”

Others installed include chair Janice Delerno Verges, with the Stockade Bed & Breakfast of Baton Rouge; independent consultant Kerry Andersen as secretary; Kyle Edmiston, with Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana CVB, as treasurer; and Travis Napper, with Ruston-Lincoln CVB as immediate past chair.

“Our executive committee and board of directors are responsible for helping us meet the needs of our members and making sure we accomplish our goals of providing educational and marketing opportunities while also advocating on the industry’s behalf,” said Jill Kidder, LTA president and CEO. “We are excited to be starting off another year with a great group of industry leaders that represent the entire state.”

Dean-O's Pizza opening in Carencro

Lafayette pizza eatery Dean-O's Pizza will open a Carencro location by the end of the year, president and CEO Tim Metcalf said.

Dean-O's will soon close on the property for the new location, which will be located on west side the I-49 Service Road just north of the Gloria Switch Road exit. The restaurant will offer the same menu as what's offered at the two locations in Lafayette, Metcalf said.

Unlike the other two locations, Carencro will be new construction, Metcalf said.

"It really looks like Acadiana's growing that way," he said. "Carencro is growing. However, we've always opened in existing buildings. My dad opened in this one (on Bertrand Drive), and the south location was opened in the old Casa Ole. So I really wanted to open one from the ground up."

The building will be about 65,000 square feet on a 10-acre development that Metcalf and his partners plan to develop around the restaurant for retail, office and medical space. The restaurant will seat 180 and employ 60-70, with a target date to open in either late November or early December.

Camelot Rehabilitation holds grand opening

Magnolia Estates, at 1511 Dulles Drive in Scott, held a grand opening Jan. 31 for its expansion of Camelot Rehabilitation at Magnolia Park.

The 28,000-square-foot expansion adds a post-acute transitional care and therapy center with 40 private bedrooms, a lobby, several gathering areas and a large dining area. The new facility's focus is on the rehabilitation and therapy for seniors after injury, surgery or illness after leaving the hospital. 

It also will include certified therapists who specialize in physical, speech and occupational therapy along with a therapy gym, a dining room and quiet areas such as sofas for reading, large porches and gardens.

Pizza Artista getting self-pour beer wall

Pizza Artista will install a 24-tap self-pour beer wall at its Lafayette location at 5409 Johnston St. in Time Plaza. 

Co-owners Scott and Cynthia McClasky and Kirk Miller approached iPourIt in November about installing a beer wall that was expected to be operating in time for the "create-your-own" pizza restaurant's fourth anniversary in February.

“The self-serve concept is a natural fit with a Pizza Artista’s create-your-own business model," Scott McClaskey said. "We chose to work with iPourIt because we were impressed with data reporting capabilities, including tracking sales, ounces poured, products poured and, most importantly, the ability to offer the most popular craft beers available. From the beginning, they were very easy to work with.”

Customers create a tab with a credit or debit card and are given a wristband to scan in order to pour a drink from the selection of 20 beers and four wines. Each customer is allowed a set amount of beer that they can pour and try at their own pace.

"I think a lot of businesses will start moving over to this because of the sudden service aspect," General Manager Aaron McClaskey said. "In this day and age that we live in, we want things now, and beer is becoming the same way. I think it'll be a lot of fun and I can't wait to see the reaction to the experience."

The beer wall will offer a rotating selection of local and regional craft beers and wine. The restaurant will remain open during installation.

Law firm moving to Kaliste Saloom office

Personal injury law firm Laborde Earles will move into a new 20,000-square-foot office on Kaliste Saloom next to Parc Lafayette in April.

The decision to build the new office began last year as the firm's staff outgrew its current building at 203 Energy Parkway. Partner and co-owner Digger Earles said the firm has been having to lease extra space to pick up the overflow of 40 team members since construction of the new building began in March 2018.

“In my opinion, it’s one of the best locations in Lafayette," Earles said. "It’s a high traffic area with high visibility. We had the opportunity to buy the land so we jumped at it and that’s where it went.”

Larborde Earles has offices in Lafayette, Alexandria and Marksville. 

Food truck owners starting Carencro restaurant

After five years out on the street, the Bus Stop Food Truck will open a restaurant in Carencro by the end of February.

Co-owners and brothers-in-law Jaymes Thornhill and Charles von Aspern will bring their menu items to the 17,000-square-foot Bus Stop Bistro at 3823 N. University Ave. The two also plan to expand the menu to include more hamburgers, salads, soups and plate dishes, along with some limited time items.

The two started in the food truck business with the goal of proving the concept of a future restaurant and opening their own place. Thornhill has years of experience at restaurants and bars across the region, and von Aspern has been a chef for more than 20 years and was trained at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.

"The food truck was a great way for us to get into the game and prove our concepts," Thornhill said. "The restaurant is an opportunity for me to serve more people, and for my brother, it's an opportunity for him to expand the menu and really put that culinary degree to good use and really use the extra space and help to get more food out to the people."

Thornhill said they are still open to suggestions from customers as to what they'd like to see on the menu. They also plan to keep the food truck, currently parked and serving at the Wurst Biergarten on Jefferson Street, and use it for events and catering.

Blue Dog Cafe gets restaurateur award

Blue Dog Cafe owner Jacques Rodrigue was named the Restaurateur of the Year by the Louisiana Travel Association during its annual meeting in Alexandria.

Rodrigue was one of the recipients of the group's 16 “Louey Awards” to honor individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to the Louisiana tourism industry.

“I am extremely humbled to receive this honor from the Louisiana Travel Association," Rodrigue said. "This award is a credit to how hard my team at Blue Dog Cafe works to ensure every guest is able to experience the very best of Louisiana culture — both in terms of our Cajun food and my dad (George Rodrigue)'s artistic legacy. My father loved sharing his heritage with the world, and I am so happy that our restaurant is able to continue the important work that he started.”

The honor comes after the restaurant underwent renovations and a menu overhaul and chef Ryan Trahan won the Louisiana and American Seafood King awards.

Acadia Parish chamber unveils new branding

Officials with the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce unveiled new branding for the organization to represent the two parish agencies that combined last year. 

Chamber Chairwoman Melinda Malmay and President and CEO Amy S. Thibodeaux revealed the logo during the inaugural Chairman's Breakfast Jan. 31. It marks the final step of the merger between the Crowley Chamber of Commerce and OneAcadia, which was finalized in June.  

"Two organizations have joined together, which has created stronger ties in all corners of Acadia Parish," Malmay said. “Where there is unity, there is always success."

The objective was to present a unified look that was respectful of the chamber’s voice and history but also reflective of its continued growth. It includes a stand-alone “A” that signifies a stronger, more dynamic organization and a rice stalk to represent agriculture, the economic engine of the parish.

The logo also maintains the blue theme to reflect trust, connectivity and productivity. Lafayette advertising agency Prejean Creative designed the logo.

Contractor seminar registration underway

Registration is available until Feb. 25 for construction industry professionals to sign up for the General Contractors Seminar by the Louisiana Contractors Accreditation Institute, offered in interactive, distance-learning sessions broadcast live to multiple locations throughout Louisiana.

The 10-week course will be offered March 11 through May 15 and provides technical knowledge essential for a general contractor working in the construction industry in Louisiana. Sessions will be on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Topics include blueprint reading; building calculations; site work, demolition and construction; foundations, formwork and retaining walls; finishes; roof structures; structural loads; steel construction; related trades; special construction and equipment; and safety codes.

Louisiana Economic Development, the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors and Louisiana Community and Technical College System developed the institute. Since 2016, 749 participants have graduated from the seminars.

The distance-learning locations in south Louisiana are Fletcher Technical Community College, Schriever campus; SOWELA Technical Community College, Lake Charles campus; LSU at Eunice; Baton Rouge Community College; River Parishes Community College, Gonzales campus; Delgado Community College, New Orleans City Park campus; Northshore Technical Community College, Lacombe campus; and Nunez Community College, Chalmette.

Registration is at and click the “Apply Now” link. Enrollment is offered online on a first-come, first-served basis. A $350 fee covers the cost of the course and materials.