For Lafayette and Acadiana generally, the ups and downs of the oil and gas industry have been huge swings, either boosting growth and employment or resulting in major surges in unemployment.
During 26 years at the helm of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, Gregg Gothreaux probably saw more booms and more busts than just about anybody in a comparable position in America.
He now leaves his position to Mandi Mitchell, formerly assistant secretary of the state department of economic development. We wish her well in building on the foundations laid by Gothreaux.
Among them are the growing diversification of Acadiana’s economy, with new tech businesses — CGI is a big one — and a tourism draw at the center of Louisiana’s Cajun heritage.
Oil and gas remains important, but the oilfield services sector, where most of the jobs are in the field, has been hard hit since 2015. That will change, as it always has, but the jobs future of Lafayette and Acadiana will, and must, be different from that of the past.