Stars, Stripes & Service; New American Legion post opens in Lutcher

Published 12:47 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2023

LUTCHER — Veterans from across Louisiana came together last week for the opening of the new American Legion Post 171 in Lutcher.

Installation of officers took place on April 27 at the veterans hall located at 1398 Third Street in Lutcher. The new post, which carries the number of a former American Legion post that served the community many years ago, will promote a spirit of community for veterans and their families in the St. James Parish area.

Bobby Chenier, the new commander of Post 171, is a 30-year Navy veteran originally from St. James Parish. Chenier joined the military after graduating from Lutcher High School in 1979. Upon returning home to Louisiana six years ago, Chenier yearned to make a difference for others who have dedicated their lives to this country.

Discussions on reopening an American Legion Post in St. James Parish ramped up in recent months. The new post already has 20 active members, and Chenier looks forward to welcoming more veterans into the group.

“Being a veteran and knowing the sacrifices that the veterans do for this country, I want to continue to support them within the community and also support their families,” Chenier said. “Especially if we have someone who died in active duty or died after they were in the service, we are still there to support that family.”

Swearing in officers during last Thursday’s installation ceremony were Commander Gene Franques of Post 396 in Metairie and Chaplain Kevin Holt from Post 383 in LaPlace. Department of Louisiana Commander Allan Dunn attended the ceremony to pledge his support for the new post, and District 2 Commander Joe Stephany also expressed his congratulations during the historic event.

Accoridng to Franques, American Legion posts from across the region will lend a helping hand to one another, especially when it comes to planning community events.
“By all of us being at the installation, it is reassuring them that we are going to be there for them and fulfill whatever needs they have as a new post,” Franques said. “When you start to plan fundraisers and events to increase membership, that’s when you start to reach out to other posts for ideas on what we can do. Also, since this is a new post, they will be getting into the American Legion sponsored Boys State and Girls State. That is something we are going to help them with.”

During the installation, Department of Louisiana Commander Dunn spoke about different programs that American Legion participates in as a whole. According to Dunn, families of American Legion members can support the post through an auxiliary for spouses and a separate organization called Sons of the Legion. Dunn also spoke about how the American Legion supports bills in Washington and encourages the government to offer benefits and assistance to veterans and their families.

Chenier has a lot of ideas for getting the local post involved in the community. As of now, Post 171 plans to place flags on veterans’ graves to honor them on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

American Legion Post 171 meets at 6 p.m. the last Thursday of every month at 1398 Third Street in Lutcher. Meetings are open to any veteran who wants to attend, regardless of when or where they served. Any veteran who has been honorably discharged is eligible to join the American Legion.

“We invite everyone to come and see what the American Legion is all about and what we are doing in Post 171. We’ll serve them a meal and show them what we are planning to do,” Chenier said.

For more information, contact Chenier at