In June 2019, CREATE Lafayette launched its first CREATE Fellows program featuring fourteen working artists and creatives in Lafayette Parish as artists in residence for CREATE. These artists, musicians, chefs, writers, dancers, filmmakers, actors and creatives will serve for three months as paid fellows to assist in meeting three goals of CREATE:

*   Populate the CREATE Asset Inventory Portal with all culture and creation assets in Lafayette Parish.

*   Host at least one public meeting to address Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of each work area.

*   Meet monthly with the other fellows to gather together to address goals and optimize awareness.

*   Help to provide artist in residence assistance for Lafayette Consolidated Government Departments through CREATE.

In February 2019, the CREATE Initiative was awarded a $20,000 ArtWorks Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the implementation of the CREATE (Culture, Recreation, Entertainment, Arts, Tourism, Economy) Asset Inventory to guide investment that supports and improves access to culture and recreation assets. This portal will use the CREATE goals and strategies to utilize asset mapping to guide meaningful investment that integrates arts and culture needs and experiences into policies with inclusive, transparent and intentional application of dedicated, public investment while leveraging private funding. CREATE will improve public access to these culture and recreation assets by creatively using technology to unite local residents around these community goals. Outcomes will track arts and culture job creation, local business development, inclusive citizen engagement and equitable investments throughout the community.

This portal is expected to launch in Fall/Winter 2019 and will provide any member of the public the ability to search artists, musicians, venues, services and organizations. The portal will also serve these featured assets with the ability to login and update or improve their listing. Through the portal, CREATE will have the ability to track successes, assist with impact reporting and sharing of data with the public and grantors for a more comprehensive and inclusive inventory of what Lafayette has to offer.

In addition to the Fellows below, Erica Fox and Dustin Dale Gaspard serve as CREATE Songwriting Fellows and receive free participation in the SOLO Songwriters Workshop both in 2019 and 2020. They are the only returning participants in 2020 and will join two, brand-new CREATE Songwriting Fellows in 2020. 






12 PM

Basin Arts

113 Clinton St



5 PM


Acadiana Center for the Arts

101 W Vermilion St



6:30 PM

Cité des Arts

109 Vine St



6 PM

 Rosa Parks Transportation Center & AOC Community Media

101 Jefferson Street




Laura's II

1904 W University Ave



6 PM

The Pearl

222 Jefferson Street

CREATE Fellows 2019

Dirk Guidry
Joey Benoit
Alex Johnson

Ryan Cazares
Jeremy Benoit

Julie Bordelon

Madonna Broussard
André Arceneaux

Sarah M. Brown
Daniel Ladmirault

Clare Cook
Grace Hamilton

Chief Cultural Officer / CREATE Initiative Kate Durio
Lead Fellow Michelle Colón

Dirk Guidry


Louisiana-based artist specializing in large-scale abstract, live events, landscape, and mural paintings.

Instagram: @dirkguidryart

Born in 1987, Dirk Guidry was raised in the small bayou town of Galliano, Louisiana. In 2005, Dirk moved away from the bayou to attend the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, which he later received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2012. Since then, Dirk has made a living through his art through large scale abstractions, live wedding/event paintings, murals, and many other commissioned projects. His studio is located in downtown Lafayette at Basin Arts, where he is the co-creator and manager of the BARE Walls program. Dirk currently serves on the Louisiana State Arts Council.


Joey Benoit


Co-owner and manager of Benoit Gallery Indigenous Art


Joey Benoit, a Louisiana native, is co-owner and manager of Benoit Gallery Indigenous Art, located in downtown Lafayette. Benoit Gallery Indigenous Art represents the work of visual artist, Bryant Benoit, Joey’s husband. The gallery was opened in Aug 2013. Joey began taking photos as a hobby and then decided to add her photography to the gallery’s offerings. She recently had one of her photos of Ghana published in a book and they have been used in Mr. Benoit’s mixed media collage paintings. Joey is also the Director of Payroll for LHC Group Inc. She leads a team of 16 people who handle all aspects of payroll for over 33,000 employees. When not working, she enjoys traveling the world.

Alex Johnson


Founder of spoken word organization, Lyrically Inclined, teaching artist

Instagram: @poeticsoul337

Alex ‘PoeticSoul’ Johnson is a Lafayette, La native and has been featured as a panelist in the panel “Language of the Unheard: Rural Children of Color” during the 2016 Split This Rock Poetry Festival in Washington, D.C. PoeticSoul worked as a teaching artist in the Lafayette Parish Juvenile Detention Home where she empowered incarcerated youth to create a spoken word poem, “Eyes of the Sun” which was later featured as a mural as part of the 24 Hour Citizen Project. She featured as a 2017 Tedx presenter recounting experiences with LPDH youth. In 2018, PoeticSoul received the Rising Star award at the Arts, Culture and Business Icon Awards in Lafayette, La. She’s the founder and operator of the spoken word poetry organization, Lyrically Inclined.

Ryan Cazares


Optometrist and owner of Scott Eye Care Musician, Dr. C & the Gris Gris

Instagram: @drcandthegrisgris

Dr. Ryan Cazares is the owner and optometrist at Scott Eye Care. He has been a Lafayette local rock musician for over 15 years and currently fronts his band Dr . C & the Gris Gris. Dr. Cazares is the founder of the Lafayette Community M.I.Brary, which allows library patrons to check out musical instruments with a library card. Dr. Cazares is a 2018 Top 20 Under 40 Leadership Award winner and the 2019 Louisiana Young Optometrist of the Year. He is extremely passionate about showcasing Lafayette’s musical talent to broader audiences.

Jeremy ''JB Saax'' Benoit


Musician, saxophonist, producer

Instagram: @jbsaax

Saxophonist Jeremy Benoit “JB Saax” is a jazz artist from Lafayette, Louisiana. He began playing the saxophone at the age of 9 years old at J.W. Faulk Elementary school. After earning his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from the University of Louisiana in the fall of 2008, and being an active part of multiple jazz combos there, he began his agressive pursuit of music. He has performed at many venues and events throughout the state of Louisiana including its acclaimed Festival Internationale and Patty In The Parc Music Festivals. He’s also opened up shows for Gospel Recording Artists Vickie Winans, and Bishop Paul S. Morton, Rhythm and Blues Artist Frankie Beverly and Maze, Cupid, Wendel B, and World Renown Jazz Violinist Regina Carter in addition to putting on a number of his own live performances and prodcutions.



Founder and Executive Director of Southern Screen Festival
Executive Director of #CreateLouisiana
Consultant and Producer for Film, Music, and Events

Instagram: @julieada

Julie Bordelon is a freelance producer and event coordinator with over 10 years experience working in the film and music industry. During this time, Bordelon founded Southern Screen, an nonprofit organization
that curates year round events and an annual festival showcasing and cultivating storytelling through film, music, podcasts and more. She also spent five years heading the Lafayette Entertainment Initiative, once a
department of the Lafayette Consolidated Government tasked with assisting film, music and digital media projects. Over the years Bordelon has worked on several feature films and music videos, and she has coordinated multiple events including the Louisiana International Music Exchange (LIME), the Louisiana Contingent event at Sundance and the Lafayette Live Official Sheauxkaze at South by Southwest (SXSW).

Julie Bordelon
Madonna Broussard


Owner and head cook of Laura’s II

Instagram: @lauras2platelunch

Madonna Broussard knows her rice and gravy. A third generation restaurant owner, Madonna is the grandaughter of Laura Broussard, who opened the original Laura’s in her own house on a secluded
Northside Lafayette back street. Opened in 1968—making it perhaps the first Plate Lunch House in
Lafayette—Laura’s served stuffed turkey wings, fried pork chops, and fried catfish and chicken. Madonna’s mother Dorothy continued the Laura’s legacy, while today her daughter serves many of the same dishes her grandmother did: spicy baked turkey wings (you’re lucky if you get one with crackling on top), enormous crispy pork chops, and just about the darkest, brownest gravy (topping rice and simmering meatballs) around. With the next generation of Broussard-family working in the lunch house, Madonna is looking forward to a future blessed with, in her words, a “Laura’s III, IV, V”.

Andre Arceneaux


Food writer, restaurant scout

Instagram: @eatthislafayette
Twitter: @eatthislafayette

Food has always played a major role in Andre’s life. This borderline obsession, coupled with a knack for storytelling, gave birth to his website, Eat This Lafayette. Going deeper than giving you his opinion, Andre’s favorite role is telling you the stories behind the food; be it the Chef’s favorite music, the history of the restaurant or the origin of the dish. Just a regular guy with a big appetite (and a bigger appreciation of those who work in the kitchen), he prides himself on being Lafayette bred & fed and will let you know where you should “Eat This”.

Sarah Mikayla Brown

Local performer, educator and producer


Sarah Mikayla Brown is a local performer, educator and producer focusing on comedy and Shakespeare. She is an ensemble member of Acting Up! (in Acadiana), Silverbacks Improv Theatre, and The Family Dinner (Baton Rouge). She is a graduate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the improvisation program at the Annoyance Theatre in Chicago. She was a member of Leadership Lafayette class XXVII. A milestone for Brown as a theatre artist was creating the 2-woman original work “Cajun Face,” with Lian Cheramie, which toured to multiple cities and towns including New Orleans and Chicago.

Daniel Ladmirault

Actor, Program Director at Cité Des Arts

Daniel Ladmirault Has spent the past forty years doing live theatre, movies, radio and television. He attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (then the University of Southwestern Louisiana) in theatre. In 1997 he relocated to Washington DC, where he resided for ten years. While there he worked at many local and regional theaters, including Olney Theatre Center, Folger Shakespeare Library, Roundhouse Theater, and Washington Shakespeare Company, and appeared in numerous interactive training videos for the Defense Department and U.S. Mint. Daniel appeared regularly as Allan in the HBO series Treme. He is currently Program Director at Cite des Arts.

Claire Cook

Founder and Director or Basin Arts
Artistic Director of Basin Dance Collective

Instagram: @basinarts

Clare Cook is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and community collaborator with a deep commitment to dance and the power of the arts to effect change. After a decade of working in NYC, Cook returned to
Lafayette, La in 2016 inspired to invest her time and talent in her hometown’s burgeoning arts community. She is the Founder and Director of Basin Arts, a collaborative arts space in Downtown Lafayette as well as the Artistic Director of Basin Dance Collective. Clare holds an MFA in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and is a member of The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society professional union.

Grace Hamilton-Mayfield

Artistic Director, Owner and Founder of
Hamilton Academy of the Arts

Instagram: @hamiltonacademyofthearts

Grace is a native of Opelousas and a graduate of University of Louisiana, Lafayette. She’s beeN the owner of Hamilton Academy of the Arts for 38 years. Strong entrepreneurship professional skills in Management, Strategic planning, Marketing Strategy, Recruiter, Mentor, Grant Administrator, Event Management, a Community Activist, Dance Educator and has served on many local, state and regional boards. Her business has received numerous local and state awards. She has served on many community panels and continues to strive for excellence in the Arts and Culture of the community.


Singer, Songwriter, Musician and Actress

Instagram: @iamericafox

Suth'n. Sanga. Soulful. A native of Lafayette, LA, Erica’s talents have been showcased on projects such as Master P’s “504 Boys Goodfellas”, Xbox’s Project Gotham Racer, Sony Motion Picture soundtrack “You Got Served”, and Mattel’s Barbie commercials. She was featured in several SyFy films including “House of Bones” and “Quantum Apocalypse”.  As a recording artist, she worked with such acts as Tank, Jesse Powell, Jon B. and Shai to name a few.

She was a principal singer and gymnast in the Spiderman Rocks show at Universal Studios in California. On the theatrical stage, Erica appeared in The Buddy Holly Story at The Lawrence Welk Resort and toured along with Motown greats Kim Weston and Pat Hodges in Smokey Robinson and Mickey Stevenson’s hit musical, “Sang Sista Sang.” She excited many at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Motown’s legendary Funk Brothers.

Born in the heart of Acadiana, the spicy culture and music of her hometown carried her throughout her travels. She is deeply appreciative of her Southern heritage and deep Creole roots. This distinctive Bayou influence is infused in her style and is reminiscent of the Zydeco and blues she grew up listening to. Her music is a celebration of all things Southern and the unique people that make up the place she is so proud to call home.


Singer, Songwriter, Musician

Instagram: @dgandfreetownmusic

Based in Lafayette, Dustin Dale Gaspard is both Alternative Folk Songwriter and front man/ vocalist for Rock N Soul group DG and The Freetown Sound. He has prided himself on conviction of live performance, clever cryptic lyricism and an always evolving songwriting style.  From howling vocal ambiance of solo tunes like "Same C", to other creative, yet simple folk driven tunes, "Widower & The Water", his writing reveals a variety of range. Drawing influence from Colorado songwriter's Gregory Alan Isakov, and Nathaniel Rateliffe, Gaspard focuses on sharing tales and sustaining soul touching live performances. With new age roots on the rise Gaspard looks to make his mark for any listener willing to dance to his vision. "Porcelain Prayer Tapes" is the first official demo release. Other influential artists include: Matt Corby, Josh Garrels, Ben Howard and Ray Lamontagne.

Kate Durio

Chief Cultural Officer, CREATE Initiative
Assistant to the Mayor-President, Lafayette, LA

Instagram: @akatieanna

Kate Durio is charged with implementing the CREATE Initiative announced in 2017 on behalf of Mayor-President Joel Robideaux. CREATE representing Culture, Recreation, Entertainment, Arts, Tourism, Economy, is a comprehensive strategy to infuse creativity and cultural innovation into all city-parish
efforts. In addition to CREATE, Kate works with the Mayor-President to improve Downtown, transportation and public spaces. Her public art program, Creativity Everywhere, won the Award of Excellence from the International Downtown Association and the Louisiana Cultural District of the year in 2014. She is an award-winning investigative journalist and has worked in Portland, Oregon and Lafayette. She also designed the interactive #YLAFAYETTE sculpture in Parc Sans Souci and coordinates its rotating artistic

Michelle Colon

Performance artist, Lead CREATE Fellow

Instagram: @islandnena

Michelle is a singer, song-writer, theatre and film actor, dance teacher, writer, producer and podcaster from Ponce, Puerto Rico, currently living in Lafayette, La. She moved to Lafayette from NYC where she finished her degree in Interior Design. In the six years that she’s been living in Lafayette, she’s
performed in over ten plays, performed at Festival International multiple times, has directed four fashion shows with her organization, Londri Magazine, and more recently has focused her pursuit on studying dance. Londri Magazine is her effort to break the general stereotypes imposed in the South Louisiana culture and highlight the progressive, although at times seemingly small, movements that do exist in
the Lafayette community.