She’s a voice of reason, a clear communicator and has a successful track record for requesting assistance for a cause. So, who better to have on your side as a grants writer than Suzanne Dugas? Though her best work for the Twin Port Parish District (as well as the Delcambre Seafood & Farmers Market) has been behind-the-scenes, it deserves the spotlight this month for bringing monies that have subsidized projects focused on encouraging growth and boosting the economy, solving problems and creating jobs.

Since she began her work as grant administrator in 2016, Suzanne has written and administered five grants that have brought over $1.25 million. Her work in obtaining government assistance has helped boost the Delcambre Seafood & Farmers Market to new levels of success in the past five and a half years, most recently allowing for a health and wellness program – and even its own podcast. Other grants have provided financial assistance aimed towards an upcoming seafood hub, port activities development and marina improvements. Currently, she is working on a Department of Transportation grant to help with port projects that will improve docks and manufacturing facilities owned by the Port.

It takes a special knack for storytelling to be a successful grants writer. Suzanne has proven to have a proficiency in delivering details in a way that sticks with the reader. For her, the appeal is the research involved in the projects, the details – “and also the creativity of putting together my ideas to match the grant program,” she adds.

Like other staff members, on market days Suzanne’s duties switch. Over the years, they have gone from selling seafood to serving plate lunches. “I’ve learned a lot about seafood and suppliers,” she points out. Now she is one of the first faces customers see when they enter the market. After COVID limited crowd sizes, she took on the task of counting attendees, (a number that has risen as high as 1,500.) It’s an opportunity that she says has provided her the pleasure to see and greet people as they come in.

A native of New Iberia, Suzanne has been a Berry Queen for 14 years, one of a group of fun women with a serious cause of raising money, through Habitat for Humanity, to help needing families buy a home of their own. She is also proud to be the official “Queen Emcee” for the group’s annual ball.

Her career spans 34 years with the Iberia Parish School Board, much of that time spent at New Iberia Senior High as a debate coach and teaching speech, drama and English, eventually working her way as assistant principal. She then moved on to the Iberia Parish Education Center where she retired as supervisor of testing and accountability.

When she’s not looking for money to help fund new projects, this outdoors lover enjoys camping, kayaking, traveling and hiking, but also hanging out with friends and spending time with family – especially her two young grandchildren.