N. R. Broussard, still spry at 90, is a legend both in his adopted home of Utila and his native one – Louisiana.
Broussard has definitely made his mark on Utila, on which he has resided off and on for many years. His Blue Bayou Mansion occupies a prime spot on the island, right on the ocean near the Coral View Resortj, with a commanding view of the mainland. Broussard Plaza, a three-story cement building in the center of Utila Town, houses his office plus many other businesses. I often see him driving his golf cart the mile between the one and the other.
Broussard has helped many of the most needy in this community, including many single mothers in dire circumstances. However, his enterprise, generous spirit and civic-mindedness far predate his arrival on Utila.
Noe Raywood Broussard was born July 17, 1921, in Pecan Island, Vermilion Parish, Louisiana. As a young man he enlisted in the US Navy to serve his country during World War II. He served four years in the Navy (1942-1946), surviving the German wolf packs of the sea – the U-Boats, which wreaked havoc on allied shipping, sending thousands of freighters, supplies and warships to the bottom of the ocean.
After leaving the Navy, Broussard bought a wooden tugboat and founded Broussard Brothers Boat Service in Chalmette, Louisiana. They bought more boats as demand for tug services increased. In 1959 he moved his business to Intracoastal City to meet the growing needs of the offshore oil industry. Even though at the time there was very little business activity in the area, he envisioned the importance of Louisiana’s intracoastal waterway and, most importantly, the strategic worth of the Intracoastal City area to provide better service to the oilfields. Many other oil-related businesses followed Broussard’s lead and moved to Intracoastal City. Broussard Brothers became a household name in Louisiana, expanding from six acres of low-lying marshland to over a mile of well developed waterfront property.
Broussard Brothers expanded into a multifaceted business including tugs, barges and crew boat rentals, as well as oilfield and pipeline construction services. The company has adapted to the ever-changing needs of the oil industries, including the acquisition and expansion of Acadian Contractors, which specializes in all manner of marine fabrication and construction, from blasting and painting, land and offshore crews and dockside service.
Broussard has been extensively involved in community service in his native Louisiana, and specifically Vermilion Parish. He has supported the University of Louisiana and Vermilion Catholic High School, in the parish seat of Abbeville. He helped build a softball field and supported Father Glenn Meaux, an Abbeville priest who has led a 20-year mission to the poorest of the poor in Haiti. Broussard has also supported the Palmetto Island State Park, the Abbeville Giant Omelette Celebration (a one-of-a-kind annual charity event), the Vermilion Parish Chamber of Commerce plus many more worthy causes.
Broussard also was an officer and driving force behind the Abbeville Harbor and Terminal District, serving as a commissioner. He served as president of the International Relations Association of Acadiana (TIRAA), which promotes travel and tourism, from 1978 to 1981. He led a goodwill mission to Mexico, a a trade delegation to Honduras and a mission to Canada to conclude a “twinning” between the Acadian Village in Lafayette, Louisiana, and its namesake in Caraquet, New Brunswick, Canada (the ancestors of the French-speaking Acadians, or Cajuns, of Louisiana migrated to the region from Northeastern Canada in the 18th century).
Broussard is the father of eight, grandfather of 19 and has 20 great-grandchildren.
I wish we had more people like Broussard on Utila. His generosity has helped the island community tremendously.
Thanks, Mr. Broussard, for all you have done for the Rock. May you enjoy health and strength for many more years.
To the legend of Abbeville!