Inaugural Theophile Bourgeois Memorial Award presented to LDWF agent
Published 8:30 am Sunday, March 6, 2022
The Louisiana Charter Boat Association (LCBA) presented Sergeant Joshua Laviolette with the inaugural Theophile Bourgeois Memorial Award at today’s Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting.
LCBA will present this award annually to the law enforcement agent that best exemplifies the mission of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), specifically pertaining to promoting professionalism within the Louisiana charter for hire industry.
Since 2018, Sergeant Laviolette has led LDWF Enforcement in charter guide regulation citations, citing subjects on 12 separate occasions in Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes. Several of these citations involve curbing the epidemic of unlicensed charter operators, an illegal activity that LCBA and LDWF staunchly condemn.
“Sergeant Laviolette has proven to be a dedicated, through and hardworking Enforcement Agent,” said Colonel Chad Hebert, head of LDWF Enforcement. “He has been a leader in charter guide compliance and investigating guides operating without licenses. He is firm but fair, with a tenacious work ethic.”
“This Award means great deal, not only to me but also for Region 8. Without continuous support, teamwork, and collaboration from all the Agents, this would have never been achieved,” said Sergeant Laviolette. “Those who chose to represent themselves as charter guides for the State of Louisiana know that when you have clients or customers booked, your goal is to provide an unforgettable experience. As for Enforcement Agents, we recognize the profession and hold it to a high standard knowing that Charter guides are out in state waters following the laws and showing guests that Louisiana is truly Sportsman’s Paradise.”
“Led by Colonel Hebert’s leadership and Sergeant Laviolette’s commitment, LDWF Enforcement has done a tremendous job of increasing the professionalism of the Louisiana charter fishing industry by citing many charter violations, including unlicensed charter operators,” said LCBA Executive Director Richard Fischer. “We thank Sergeant Laviolette for his remarkable and selfless service, and we look forward to recognizing LDWF Enforcement’s continued success on this front.”
LCBA made a $1,000 contribution to the charity of Sergeant Laviolette’s choice. This contribution was made to Cure SMA in Sergeant Laviolette’s honor. Cure SMA is dedicated to the wonderful cause of providing funds, research and care for individuals with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
“I chose Cure SMA as my charity of choice because I have a close relative who suffers from the disease,” said Sergeant Laviolette. “Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a rare hereditary genetic condition in which muscles throughout the body are weakened because nerve cells in the spinal cord and brainstem do not work properly. SMA is the number one genetic cause of infant mortality.”
The inaugural award presented to Sergeant Laviolette is named after the late legendary charter captain Theophile Bourgeois. Captain Bourgeois built Bourgeois Fishing Charters in Barataria, La. into one of the premier charter operations in the state. He was quite a character too, developing into one of the most sought-after television and digital media personalities Louisiana has ever produced. As it was aptly written in his obituary, Captain Bourgeois’ “work ethic was only rivaled by his humor and kindness; anyone who crossed paths with Theophile, was forever left with a story that they were eager to share.”
“Captain Bourgeois truly possessed the rare quality of being able to put customers on the fish while also making them laugh with his charm and wit,” said Fischer. “He lived his life with a boisterous cheerfulness that translated seamlessly to every fishing trip and every television and social media appearance.”
Captain Bourgeois could be serious when the time called for it also. He helped LCBA achieve several policy victories as a dedicated board member, and he always staunchly advocated for the utmost professionalism in the Louisiana charter for hire industry.
Sadly, Captain Bourgeois tragically passed away following a seaplane crash August 18, 2019. Both of Captain Bourgeois’ customers survived the ordeal and credited him with giving his life to save theirs. As saddening as it is to remember the death of our friend and colleague, the Louisiana charter sector can think of no better individual from our world who exemplified the oath to put others above self that enforcement agents live by daily in their world. Out of this great heartbreak, we are honored to name this award in his memory.