St. Charles Parish native Sue Friloux was awarded the Angelus Award from the River Region Arts and Humanities Council (RRAHC).
A retired educator from St. Charles Public Schools, Friloux has been a member of the RRAHC since a year after it began in 1998.
"I have always been directly or indirectly in the art and humanities pretty much. Since Iíve retired, Iíve had more time. Iíve also done some church work with the religious school and Iíve also worked with the St. Charles Humane Society," Friloux said. "The St. Charles Museum Historical Association–Iíve been with that group for ten years. Itís been a variety of ways that Iíve been involved in arts and humanities."
In 1999 Friloux was president of the RRAHC and has since served as vice-president and secretary of the organization that has given out over $300,000 in grants to local artists and educators over the past decade.
Friloux said her overall goal has been to increase awareness about the arts.
"What we try to do is promote the arts in the community so I guess it was a natural fit that I get involved with the group that promoted some of the things I was involved with," Friloux said. "Certainly it was nice to be able to keep my eye on groups going on and doing things with each of them as time permitted."
Marilyn Richoux, who served as co-author with Friloux on the book St. Charles Louisiana–A Pictorial History, said Friloux was a good choice.
"I can tell you that was very well-deserved," Richoux said. "Sue has been for many, many years doing so much good work and she does a lot of it quietly behind the scenes a lot. But she gets so much accomplished and she is so dedicated to community. I was thrilled for her."
Friloux said working on the book project was probably her greatest accomplishment since being involved in the arts and humanities.
"The history book, which took over five years, turned out to be very expensive and very involved," Friloux said. "It was a wonderful learning experience because none of us really knew anything about publishing a book, but we worked hard and we learned a lot about our parish and in turn a lot of people are learning about our parish. Almost a day doesnít go by that someone talks to me about the book or wants to get a book still after two years of being out."
Friloux said she recently gave a copy of the pictorial history to a young neighbor.
"Every day since she talks about it Ďoh my mom loves it, oh my dad loves ití. Sheís young and she said ĎI took all this stuff for granted here and now I am learning more about it.í So it is like planting a seed," Friloux said. "It will go on forever. As I told her the last two years were not covered in the book, but you can Google all that information. Itís all that other stuff that you couldnít Google. So that project was very important to me."
Friloux said although the book has been completed, her involvement in documenting local history continues.
"The book is finished so we donít have to work on the book anymore. However, having said that weíre now currently working on a website where the book and other aspects of our history will be available in a virtual museum so we can continue to add to it," Friloux said. "People will be able to find that information forever."
Friloux said a focus on the arts in definitely needed when living in a parish that is dominated by industrial plants.
"It just rounds things out. It is sort of like the old saying - man canít live on bread alone he has to have peanut butter. So I guess we are the peanut butter and maybe the jelly that makes it better," Friloux said. "I think it is a proven fact that when you add to the quality of life, that part of the quality of life, promoting those things and some of the groups we have supported over the years have been doing things for years too. So they are an extension of what we think weíd like to see done, but they are the ones out there doing it. Like the River Region Drama Guild–for like 15 years or more every summer theyíve had productions and so forth and it just introduces students to things they ordinarily wouldnít be introduced to."
Friloux said although St. Charlesí public schools have a good arts program, it is still important to support community arts.
"People in the next parish may not be so lucky, at least to the same extent as we are. So maybe that is where we can help do a little bit more good than here," Friloux said. "But it doesnít matter because anywhere you give something like that, give someone an opportunity to improve themselves in that area, then you are doing a great deal of good."
Friloux was also involved in working with the St. Charles Parish Humane Society and St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter in the past. She said now that she is not active in those organizations anymore she can really see how important her contribution may have been to those organization. Her hope now is to have such an impact on the arts.
"Thatís how it works," Friloux said. "I guess the important thing is that if you do something then it can continue after maybe you are not actively involved with it anymore for one reason or the other."
As part of the award Friloux received a $500 award which she gave to St. Charles Borromeo School. In addition, she received a statue made and designed by local artist Loraine Gendron and her name was place on a plaque that is on display at the St. Charles Parish East Bank Regional Library.