2015 LOWA Annual Conference – Morgan City

The 2015 LOWA Annual Conference returned to beautiful Morgan City, Louisiana.  Vanessa Spinella with the Cajun Coast Visitor & Convention Bureau worked closely with LOWA personnel again d to ensure another exciting, informative and fun annual conference!  Morgan City and the surrounding area really rolled out the red carpet to welcome LOWA members.

The Holiday Inn was our host hotel and the accommodations were great.

On Friday morning, some of the members got out on the water for some in-shore freshwater fishing with some local bass fishing guides.  Lots of fish were caught.  LOWA member Bo Boehringer caught so many fish, LOWA ED, Chris Holmes, had to give him a hand to clean them all.

Back at the hotel after fishing, Chris Macaluso of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, addressed the members for an afternoon craft improvement seminar. Chris discussed recent Red Snapper updates, the failure to pass the Sportsmen’s Act and recent coastal restoration issues dealing with the multi-state committee and funding processes.

After everyone freshen up, the members and their guests attended the Welcome Reception at the Cajun Coast CVB’s brand spankin new office and visitor’s center.  The Mayors of Morgan City and Berwick, Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi and Louis Ratliff, respectively, were on hand to welcome the LOWA members to town.  The venue was just beautiful and the members even got to check out the alligator nest just out of the back door of the Visitor’s Center

Saturday morning saw a trip to the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge for the members.

Meanwhile back in town, the ladies visited Shadowlawn in lovely Franklin, Louisiana.

For lunch the members and spouses met up at East Gate BBQ for a delicious lunch.

After lunch, the ladies continued to downtown Morgan City for some retail therapy while the members retired back to the Holiday Inn for more craft improvement seminars and the LOWA Annual Membership meeting.

Mike Wood and Craig Gothreaux, both LDWF Fisheries Biologists, addressed the members about current events affecting Louisiana’s fisheries.

As usual, Saturday night was the highlight of our Annual Conference, the Awards Banquet which took place at the Holiday Inn.

Joe Macaluso was our banquet speaker and he kicked off the festivities.  Shortly afterwards, Dave Moreland, Youth Hunter Registry Chairman, presented the Youth Hunter Female and Male awards.

Next up was our Youth Angler Award Chairman, Wendy Billiot.  Wendy was awarding our first YAA awards in both the Female and Male category.

Fish of the Year award was the next to be bestowed  Lyle Johnson, our Fish Records Chairman awarded the Fish of the Year award.

Joe Macaluso, Youth Journalism Chairman, awarded the Youth Journalism awards.

Finally, the various sponsors of our Excellence in Craft awards presented our members with our internal awards for excellence

At this point, we would usually wrap things up with our raffle, but we had just one more award for one of our most beloved and dedicated members.  Glynn Harris was awarded the coveted Arthur Van Pelt Award.  Glynn was overwhelmed and accepted the award to a standing ovation.

Once all of the awards and accolades were finished up, it was RAFFLE time!  Lots of wonderful prizes were won and, of course, Joe and Cheryl Macaluso won the gun!

The conference was capped off with everyone gathering in the hospitality suite for some final farewells.