Herman Fuselier, left, will succeed Celeste Gomez as the St. Landry Parish Tourism Commission executive director. The appointment was announced Tuesday at meeting in Grand Coteau. (Photo by Harlan Kirgan)
Veteran journalist to head parish tourism
GRAND COTEAU — Herman Fuselier, a veteran south Louisiana journalist, will succeed Celeste Gomez as executive director of the St. Landry Parish Tourism Commission.
The appointment was announced Tuesday at the St. Landry Parish Tourism Industry Fall Luncheon held at Brent’s Catering in Grand Coteau.
Fuselier, 56, an Opelousas native, is the music and entertainment editor of The Daily Advertiser.
“To me promoting St. Landry Parish is something I’ve done all my life especially as a writer now,” he said. “We have so much music, culture and language where like nowhere else in the world.”
Fuselier will assume the position on Dec. 17 from Gomez who has served 21 years at the helm of tourism in St. Landry Parish.
Gomez announced her retirement in October.
“We’ve worked really hard and become a major player in the tourism industry for the state,” she said after announcing her retirement at the end of the year.
Fuselier said the job is a natural evolution from his reporting on the Cajun and Creole entertainment that marks south Louisiana. Besides his newspaper work here, Fuselier has a show on KRVS radio.
“I’ve written about it for years and got to know the movers and shakers that are involved in this. To me it was a natural fit where I could continue to promote all of the things we have here in St. Landry Parish,” he said.
“Zydeco music is really close to my heart, so I would like to see more promotion done with that at the visitors center,” he said.
There is a Cajun jam session held monthly at the center and Fuselier would like to add a zydeco jam session to the calendar.
“I still have some learning to do, but I mainly want to build on all of the great things Celeste has done already. She has been in the job a long time and built a lot of great relationships,” he said.
One of Gomez’s accomplishments is the visitors center on Interstate 49, which opened in 2011.
Fuselier said when he starts his job later this month it won’t be the first time he has worked for the tourism commission. After the visitors center opened, he worked part time there for about a year, he said.
Fuselier’s journalism career began as a sports writer at the Daily World in Opelousas in 1986. In 1989, he took a job with The Tuscaloosa News in Alabama, but returned to the Daily World in 1993 as sports editor. Fuselier joined The (Lafayette) Daily Advertiser in 2000 as a feature writer.
The Alabama job “made me appreciate home even more because I wasn’t around the food all the time and the music and the culture.”
He added, “I’m in this position to promote home even more.”
Fuselier is a 1980 graduate of Opelousas Catholic and 1984 graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in journalism.
Also announced at Tuesday’s luncheon was the appointment effective Dec. 10 of Mary Hawkins as the commission’s communication manager. Hawkins now works for the St. Landry Chamber of Commerce.