When Cheri Faucheux can’t find a way, she makes one.
During the past year, the Destrehan resident has blazed her own trails when it comes to finding creative and impactful ways to give back to the residents of St. Charles Parish.
“I like to give back,” she said. “I like to show up … this is where I live and you should do what you can.”
When Faucheux’s home was spared in the May 2020 flood, she knew she needed to do something to help her friends and neighbors who weren’t so fortunate.
Within days she had collected and organized enough resources to feed several hundred families multiple meals. Her determination to continue to help flood victims and use every dollar that was donated led her to distribute even more food goody bags filled with treats and various home air fresheners to people whose homes had flooded.
Another hardship – pandemic-induced gym closures – led Faucheux to blaze another creative trail.
Because Faucheaux is well-versed in the health and fitness industry – she has worked in gym settings for years and owned the tumbling school on Red Church for 12 years – she knows the mental and physical importance of exercise.
“When the gyms closed down, people didn’t have anywhere to go and even when they opened back up people were scared to go into the gyms,” she said. “I just wanted to do a class that was safe and outdoors and that people could go to.”
Faucheaux contacted parish administrators, who allowed her use of the East Bank Bridge Park for six weeks. It was there that she launched free weekly outdoor Zumba classes.
“It got really big, really quick,” she said. “We usually have 30-40 people an evening, but we did a breast cancer fundraiser one week and every gym in the parish pitched in for giveaways and we had over 100 people show up.”
Faucheaux said the initial six-week trial run of the class was so successful that the offering has been continued indefinitely. It’s free to the public, and held each Monday night at 5:45 p.m.
“It’s safe,” Faucheux said. “People come and they don’t have to touch anything and there’s no equipment. It’s just fresh air and it gives people a little time to be with other people and see people … especially when we first started … it was getting people out of their house and socializing.”
Faucheux said she is grateful that the parish made a way for her to offer the class – which is for men and women, from teenagers up to senior citizens.
“They stepped up when we needed it,” she said of the parish authorities. “They allowed for us to do something a little normal.”