Susan Landry – Historian and Preservationist partakes in an array of community service

PAM BOESCH Contributing writer
Susan Landry

When you meet Susan Bourgoyne Landry, you can immediately spot her enthusiasm for life. She has the amazing ability to see the sunny side of everything and it shines through in her charismatic personality. Susan was overjoyed (and surprised!) at being selected as one of the 2012 Women of Iberville. "I'm happiest when I'm involved … I try to contribute to my family, my friends and my community. It's great to be honored for doing what I love," says Landry.

The daughter of the late Farrell and Mary Bourgoyne, she was born and raised in Plaquemine with her younger sister, Sheryl. Landry graduated from St. John the Evangelist High School and studied advertising at LSU. She was always extroverted, social and outgoing, which she credits as 'inheriting' from her parents, who entertained often with friends. "I was always looking for fun and new experiences when I was a child. I wanted to be part of school organizations and activities." That early drive gave her a strong desire to give back with community service. "While in high school, I was involved in drama and choral music. Under the direction of the late Mrs. Phyllis Wilbert, I sang our class song a cappella for our graduation at the very top of St. John Church. I was petrified, but it came out okay!" In college, she worked in the Costume Shop of the Music & Dramatic Arts Department constructing costumes from scratch for all LSU theater productions. Her love of music, drama and the arts is evident in her dedicated involvement in the newly formed Iberville Community Theatre. She has performed lead roles in two of their three major productions and is currently working on her third, the musical, "Grease."

In her 20s, she met and married her husband of 25 years, Antoine Landry, a 5th generation sugar producer from Bayou Goula. Together they built a home on Glenmore Plantation tucked away on the sugar cane land owned by she and her husband and his family. In their beautifully decorated Acadian-style home, they have raised their three children, Bryce, Trevor and Caroline. His family has lived on Tally-Ho Plantation on the River Road in Bayou Goula since the early 70s. Her love for history and preservation shines through when she speaks of her passion project, Friends of St. Paul Church. The natives and residents of this tiny village did not want to see this significant, historical structure demolished after it was heavily damaged by Hurricane Gustav. Susan and a group of Bayou Goula natives and residents organized the group to preserve, restore and renovate St. Paul's Church. The church stands on the River Road in Bayou Goula and has an incredible history. "It's the first Catholic Church built in Louisiana. The first Mass was said there in March of 1700. Father Paul du Ru came over from France along with French explorer, Pierre Le Moyne Sieur d' Iberville. The explorers stopped there because they saw a settlement on the banks of the mighty Mississippi, which were actually the Bayougoula Indians." "Our goal is to restore the church to working condition and to offer the building to the community for uses that befit a church building including historical events, musical venues and formal ceremonies such as weddings and funerals," says Landry.

Her community service doesn't stop there. "I have always had a servant's heart," says Landry. "I like to be involved and contributing in any way I can." That desire has benefited our community greatly with Susan's volunteer roles in many of our local organizations. She has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Iberville Museum and is active in the Krewe of Okeanos, Toujour Gais Dance/Social Club and is an associate member of the Plaquemine Service League. She has served as the Iberville Parish co-director of the Louisiana Sugar Cane Fair and Festival Association for the past eight years. The Association works with the Plaquemine Service League to select the yearly "Miss Iberville," our parish Sugar Queen, who, coincidentally is her daughter, Caroline Mary, Miss Iberville 2012!

When Susan is not donating her time and abilities to the causes that she loves, she is running her part-time landscaping business, Plantation Landscaping, LLC. Birthed from a love of gardening, Susan decided to become a Master Gardener in 2003 through the Horticulture Department at LSU's Ag Center. In 2004, as a licensed Landscape Horticulturist, she opened her thriving company. "The business has really taken off. We do everything from small residential projects, new construction and commercial jobs. We can also install irrigation systems as well as landscape lighting. I feel like it's another way to help my community. Great landscaping makes everything look better; it's the icing on the cake," Susan says smiling.

In her free time, she enjoys relaxing with her family at their camp on False River and entertaining friends. Landry sums it up by saying, "At the end of the day, I hope that I have done my best to make this community a better place to live and had fun doing it!"