Placemaking In Action – Chris Arceneaux’s Story

Mar 7, 2023 | Placemaking Acadiana

Imagine a place you care about, a place that stirs you. A place that holds memories for you. The place doesn’t need to be anything special – it can be somewhere as simple as your backyard or maybe the local park filled with old oak trees.

What about that place sparks something in you? What connects you? And, more importantly, what disconnects you?

As humans, we gravitate toward other people. We’re social creatures that crave connection and a sense of shared belonging. What happens to places that aren’t inviting to humans?

They stop going. They stop filling the air with laughter and warmth. And that place, the once vibrant and thriving place, becomes desolate and void of human interaction, or at least safe and friendly interactions.

Too often, we write places like this off, discard them, and their emptiness for new places that still have their sparkle and shine. That still attracts the most valuable asset a place can have – people.

So how do we go about turning that trend around? How do we breathe life back into the places that have connected us in the past and show them a newer future?


People-driven change, people-driven results. People like Chris Arceneaux, a golf pro, who moved back to his home off Moss Street to find the golf course that gave him his first shot in disarray.

The acres of rolling greenery laced through the middle of a concrete jungle had become a muddied mess. Litter covered the high fence line of the course. Mattresses dumped. The holes in the land numbered well over the standard 18.

But Chris saw through the madness and disarray to a glimmer of hope for the future of the Jay and Lionel Hebert Golf Course.

He experimented. He brought in other community members that had connections to the old course – and with a bit of magic, he became enchanted by the prospect of seeing it thrive once more.

The movement started with something as simple as picking up trash. Volunteers filled their bags with more beer bottles and cigarettes than they could count – but before long, the place started to turn around.

Trash pickups turned into plantings, bringing out community experts in Azaleas and the like to reinforce the grounds. LSU donated their time and efforts to patch the “extra” holes in the course.

People’s efforts brought more people back to the course that was once written off. Within a year, the course was once again bustling with golf carts – rather than abandoned shopping carts.

Chris improved his place by taking the first steps to fill the holes he saw.

If a golf course can be brought back to life by one person taking one step – we can each take our own steps to move our community forward. Whether it’s picking a spot and volunteering or donating to Parish Proud and our own efforts to make Acadiana a better place. We all have the power to become the change we want to see.

How will you become the change you want to see?

by | Mar 7, 2023