St. James companies earn state honors

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 28, 1999

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / April 28, 1999

LUTCHER – St. James Parish’s economic development efforts paid off lastweek, as two prominent companies earned state honors.

St. James Parish President Dale Hymel Jr. and Economic DevelopmentCoordinator Edie Michel hosted events April 22 and April 24, each honoring local recipients of the Lantern Award from the state Department of Economic Development.

On Thursday at the St. James Boat Club, M. Rodrigue and Son Inc. washonored with the small business Lantern Award.

The business was launched in 1928 by Maxime Rodrigue and his son, Alfred Sr., as a blacksmith shop in Vacherie. By the 1940s the company hadexpanded to service the sugar industry by manufacturing molasses tanks and heavy equipment. Maxime Rodrigue died in 1963.In 1964 Alfred Sr. and his four sons, Erkle Sr., Alfred Jr., Harold Sr. andFrancis, joined together to continue the development and expansion of the company, building a new 7,000-square-foot facility in 1966. Over theyears that has expanded to a 30,000-square-foot facility employing 40 workers.

In 1992 M. Rodrigue and Son signed contracts to expand globally andservice the chemical industry throughout North America, Asia, Europe and South America, producing structural steel and fabrications. Theyspecialize in the manufacture and remanufacture of cathodes and anodes for the chemical industry.

In addition, the company maintains their ties to the local sugarcane industry, with Rodrigue Planting producing an annual crop of 40,000 tons of cane.

The event was also highlighted by a motivational talk and violin performance by Christine Corelli during the prime rib dinner.

“It was a big success,” Michel commented on the event.

On Saturday at the Globalplex Guest House in Reserve, Occidental Chemical of Convent was honored with a large industry Lantern Award during the annual Industry Appreciation Gala.

OxyChem’s Convent facility began as a joint venture between B.F. Goodrichand Bechtel Petroleum in 1981. Diamond Shamrock acquired the facility in1985, and OxyChem bought out Diamond Shamrock in 1986.

The facility produces chlorine, caustic soda and ethylene dichloride.

Plant manager Phil Anastasia accepted the award on behalf of the company.

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