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Editor/Contributing Writer

 Lori Dupuis has plans to incorporate a bit of the past in order to increase the present and future viability of the St. Landry Chamber of Commerce.

Dupuis, the interim Chamber CEO, told members of the Opelousas Noon Rotary Club on Tuesday that she also envisions the organization becoming a vehicle for pride in the community.

That concept, Dupuis said, includes redrafting previous Chamber activities that once involved community participation.

“We want to go back to the time where everyone was happy. To do that, we are going to develop new programs as well as bring back others,” Dupuis told the Rotarians.

Dupuis is replacing outgoing Chamber CEO Lania Brickley, who Dupuis said has moved from Opelousas with her family.

At this point Dupuis considers the Chamber leadership to be involved in a transitional stage.

That means, Dupuis said, becoming more visibly active.

“What better way to feature a transition than to put my face out in the community,” Dupuis said.

Dupuis added that the Chamber will perhaps increase its role in promoting youth-oriented programs that include civic projects and scholarships.

In addition to providing scholarships for students who will attend college, Dupuis said the Chamber is looking at ways to provide financial help for students that are pursuing careers in vocational areas following graduation.

“One graphic that we want to look at is supporting those who are not going to college,” said Dupuis.

Dupuis said she is considering implementation of a five-year plan for the Chamber.

“What we are going to do is get the business community involved in this. We are still going to have the business excellence awards banquet in September this year,” said Dupuis about the annual event that will be held at the St. Landry Equine Center.

Business award recipients are ordinarily given to members of the Chamber, said Dupuis.

Base Chamber membership costs businesses $300 annually. The rather low membership fee includes a number of promotional Chamber website spots featuring businesses who are dues-paying members.

“If a business chooses to pay for a higher level, then the business is going to receive more promotional advantages,” Dupuis said.

The St. Landry Chamber office located at 109 West Vine in Opelousas, is open from 8 am to 5pm five days a week.