Foundation

FOUNDATION

The Foundation is composed of up to 15 board members who are responsible for governing the organization, strategic planning and fiscal oversight.

Chris Pulaski, RLA – President

Chris is the Director of Planning and Zoning for Terrebonne Parish, but became involved in the issues facing South Louisiana’s coast while working for the National Wildlife Federation’s Mississippi River Delta Restoration campaign. From community planning to beach and island resort design, he has practiced landscape architecture worldwide for nearly 20 years. He is a graduate of Vandebilt Catholic High School (’90) and Louisiana State University (’96), and now lives in Houma with his wife, Melissa Larke Pulaski, and their three boys.

Damone J. Baldone, Esq. – Vice President

Damon is a practicing attorney and owner of the firm Damon J. Baldone & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation. He graduated from Nicholls State University in 1986 with a B.S. in Biology and in 1992 from Southern Law Center with a Juris Doctrate. He has taught sciences on the Junior High School level as well as biology and mathematics at LSU and Nicholls. He also has taught paralegal classes. He is also a real estate broker and the owner of Baldone Real Estate, LLC as well as the owner of Baldone Offshore, LLC and Dansereau House Bed and Breakfast in Thibodaux. He served the maximum three terms as State Representative for the 53rd District from 2001 – 2012 representing Terrebonne and Lafourche Parish. As a State Representative he was Vice Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee and served on Ways and Means Committee, Governor’s Advisory Committee on Coastal Restoration, and Bayou Lafourche Freshwater Diversion Committee. He loves the outdoors and is an avid hunter and fisher.

Gloria Navarro – Treasurer

Gloria is a Senior Vice President and commercial banker at Business First Bank. She has over 30 years of experience in the banking field in various credit capacities including Commercial Credit Analyst, Credit Administrator, Credit Policy Manager, and Commercial Banking Relationship Manager. Gloria has served on committees and boards for various industrial and non-profit organizations in Terrebonne Parish. She has a bachelors degree in Economics from the University of Panama, a Business Administration Masters Degree from Nicholls State University, and a Banking Degree from the LSU School of Banking of the South. She lives in Houma with her husband Juan Navarro, while her two daughters have relocated to New Orleans and Houston after obtaining their College and Master’s Degrees.

Raegan Creppell – Secretary

Raegan was born and raised in South Louisiana.  She is married and the mother of 4 children. She has a bachelors degree in Psychology, a Masters in Psychological Counseling and is a certified life coach. She has worked in several different counseling facilities and has been home with her children for the last few years.

Martha Thibodeaux – Past President

Martha is retired educator with thirty-eight years of service, most of which were performed in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux. Her experience in middle school classrooms and as an elementary school principal revealed to her a lack of opportunities for older students to experience the uniqueness of our coastal community. This revelation led to her interest in the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center. She is a graduate of Terrebonne High (’56), ULL (’60) and USM (’87).

Danica Colwart

Danica has worked in healthcare administration since 1999, joining her current employer, Digestive Health Center, as Practice Administrator in 2009. Her position includes operations and financial management of a 3 physician gastroenterology practice, an endoscopy center, and a 1 physician infectious disease practice. She is a graduate of South Terrebonne High School (’94), and Nicholls State University (BS in Business/Pre-Law in ’97 and MBA in ’99). Growing up in Pointe-aux-Chenes has given her a direct awareness and constant concern of coastal erosion and its ongoing effects on the residents and wildlife of the area. She and her husband Jamie reside in Houma with their 2 daughters. Danica also sits on the Maria Immacolata Catholic School Finance Committee (2009-present) and volunteers – primarily for the school, SLWDC, and with her daughters’ extracurricular activities – as time allows.

Maize Theresa Dardar

Theresa and her husband Donald Dardar are on the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe Council. Theresa is Vice President of the First Peoples Conservation Council, a board member of GO FISH, and serves on the St. Charles Pastoral Church Council. She is a member of the Grail, a Catholic lay movement supporting the human rights of women. Theresa has also been a participant/leader in Church Women United, an ecumenical women’s movement that fights against racial prejudice. She spends lots of her time traveling between political, professional, academic and organizational realms to voice justice concerns of her tribe and the greater native community. She works at the Diocese of Houma–Thibodaux as an assistant in Safe Environment and as a Native American liaison. She has voice in local, state, national, and international forums, such as the United Nations’ Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples Conference. She has participated in the Intertribal Agricultural Council. She is also President of St. Charles the Roch Kateri Circle which is a branch of the Tekakwitha Conference in St. Charles. When she does find herself at home, she enjoys cooking special bayou dishes and shrimping out on the water with her husband.

Vic McElroy

Vic is a lifelong resident of south Louisiana living the majority of his life in Terrebonne Parish.  Born on the original Presquille Isle Plantation, Vic lived his early years with his family on sugarcane plantations, his father working as a plantation overseer for most of his life. Vic is a graduate of South Terrebonne High School (73) and Nicholls State University (78, Business).  He has worked in the oilfield support industry for most of his career, managing many local businesses.  He worked successfully with his wife of over thirty years, Winona “Bebe” Mahler McElroy, with On-Site Training & Instruction, Inc. and now owns and operates McElroy Consulting, Inc., an HSE consulting firm. Vic is an avid outdoorsman who loves fishing and hunting with Bebe at every opportunity. Vic and Bebe live on the bank of Bayou Little Caillou in Cocodrie, LA where they love to fish the coastal marshes and barrier islands at every opportunity.  Owning and hunting Cedar Grove Plantation on Bayou Grand Caillou, a neighboring plantation to Ashland Plantation where he lived through high school is a favorite pastime for the winter months. With close ties to Terrebonne Parish from birth to present, Vic is aware of the critical issues facing our area from coastal erosion and subsidence with its threat to our way of life.  Serving on the board, Vic considers Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center a great way to give back to this beautiful place we live in.

Bebe Mahler McElroy

BeBe was born December 30, 1948 to Wenonah Fanguy and Butley Mahler in Houma, LA. Her great grandfather, J.E. Naquin, was the first tomb builder at St. Francis de Sales. Her grandfather, Alidor Mahler, and father, Butley Mahler, were both land owners and fur buyers. BeBe graduated from Houma Central Catholic High (currently Vandebilt) in 1966. She also attended Nicholls State University and LSU in Baton Rouge. BeBe is a nationally registered EMT and Firefighter II. She founded On-Site Training & Instruction, Inc. in 1989 which has grown far beyond her expectations and currently employs 14 people. BeBe is the mother of two sons who are self employed in Terrebonne Parish with Cajun roots firmly planted. She is a grandmother of 7 and a stepmother to one daughter living in Knoxville, TN.

Erica Null Pellegrin

Erica is currently the Director of Marketing and Options Plus/Community Integration Program at Terrebonne Arc (TARC), serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for over 10 years. Before TARC, she worked for Theta Phi Alpha sorority as a Traveling Educational Consultant where she evaluated university chapters and colonies across the country. A native and current resident of Bourg, Erica graduated from South Terrebonne (1996), and Southeastern Louisiana University (2000) with a BA in Mass Communications.  She loves being involved with SLWDC and The Rougarou Festival’s mission to protect our amazing community for generations to come. She is married to Blaise Pellegrin, a high school principal for Terrebonne Parish. In her spare time, she and her husband love to make homebrewed beer.

Sunshine Landry

Wayne Simoneaux

Wayne was employed at LUMCON for 27 years. He worked in the Marine Department for 12 years then as Marine Center Superintendent for 15 years. During his time on research vessels, he worked in every position, from cook to deck hand to engineer to Mate to Captain. He’s taken vessels up the Mississippi River past the twin cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul and around Florida north to Canadian waters off of Nova Scotia. He has been on research trips out into the Gulf of Mexico as far south as the Mexican Territorial waters. Some of the best trips he’s had on the vessels were taking students out on field trips in the marine environment.

Erica Suarez

Erica Suarez moved to Houma, LA in 2014. She is originally from Southwest Florida, but lived in New Orleans for 10 years where she attained a bachelors degree in Psychology from Loyola University (’05) and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of New Orleans (’10). Following Hurricane Katrina she worked as a Disaster Case Management Supervisor with Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New Orleans and then as a director within their department of community centers. She then spent four years as a stay at home mom to her son Emilio and daughter Lucia. Since moving to Houma, she has been taken by the warm and welcoming local community and has developed an interest in the unique and complex struggles of the area. She now works as the Executive Director of the Bayou Regional Arts Council.

Wes Woodard