The Walking Ladies, from left, are Alice Morrow, Cathy Hebert, Cynthia Lormand and Susie Glowacki. (Submitted photo)
Walking Ladies of Opelousas named by CFA for as Leaders In Philanthropy
Alice Morrow, Cathy Hebert, Cynthia Lormand, and Susie Glowacki, known as The Walking Ladies of Opelousas, are the recipients of the 2019 Leaders In Philanthropy (LIP) Awards for St. Landry Parish. LIP is presented by Community Foundation of Acadiana (CFA) and sponsored by Hancock Whitney Bank. City Club of River Ranch is the sponsor of the St. Landry Parish honorees.
The Walking Ladies will be honored during an awards ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 7 at the Cajundome Convention Center in Lafayette. Seats are $75 per person and $500 for a table of eight. Reservations can be made online at cfacadiana.org/lip. The deadline to RSVP is Oct. 25.
The women have been exercising together three days a week for 20 years. They discuss ways to enhance and beautify the community during their walks around the City of Opelousas.
Their most passionate project was to preserve and magnify the Christmas decorations on display in the Courthouse Square in downtown Opelousas.
In 1950, Opelousas resident Mable Amy Cools raised $2,000 and purchased life-sized nativity statues that have been displayed during the Christmas season for more than 70 years. In 1953, a building was constructed which served as the permanent home of the nativity. In recent years, The Walking Ladies have been working to protect this Christmas tradition. They have renovated the nativity building, installed a professional sound system, replaced a 50-year-old lighting system, renovated the benches in the Courthouse Square, and added additional lights on the trees.
In 2016, The Walking Ladies raised enough funds to light the 16 oak trees that surround the Courthouse Square.
In 2017, the group launched an annual fundraiser called “Wine-Up” in Le Vieux Village. Donations received through the event allowed The Walking Ladies to make the significant changes and upgrades to the Christmas celebration presented by the City of Opelousas.
When the Christmas season ends, the nativity is stored, and the building is converted into a memorial to honor the servicemen and women from St. Landry Parish who lost their lives during a war.
Currently, The Walking Ladies are working on plans to celebrate the Tricentennial Celebration of Opelousas in 2020.
Leaders in Philanthropy Awards are presented annually to outstanding individuals or couples from the eight parishes of Community Foundation of Acadiana’s primary service area who have made a philanthropic impact in their communities through substantial charitable contributions to or by attracting substantial contributions for nonprofits, churches or schools.
Community Foundation of Acadiana is a tax-exempt, donor-centric, entrepreneurial foundation in Lafayette,. Its core purpose is building legacies and improving communities by connecting generous people to the causes they care about. CFA is south Louisiana’s premier philanthropic organization benefiting our region, with a particular focus on the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Mary, St. Martin and Vermilion. CFA is the host of South Louisiana Giving Day, the largest online fundraising event for nonprofit organizations, churches, and schools throughout Acadiana. Learn more at cfacadiana.org.