Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana CVB

LAKE CHARLES, La.-The 2010 Tourism Volunteer of the Year award for the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau was presented to Merline Morvant for 8 years of service and commitment to the tourism industry. The award was given to Morvant in honor of National Tourism Week, May 8-16.

Morvant has been a tremendous asset to the bureau by being an exemplary tourism ambassador and utilizing her French speaking skills to add just the right amount of hospitality for French speakers visiting Southwest Louisiana.

"Merline sets a shining example by reaching out to visitors and making them feel welcome. Her ability to speak Cajun French is much appreciated by French and Canadian visitors, and her passion for helping others truly shows in all that she does. We value her many years of dedication and are proud to have her as part of the team at the bureau," said Shelley Johnson, executive director of the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Before volunteering at the tourist bureau, Morvant volunteered for 18 years as a pink lady at Cal-Cam Hospital in Sulphur. She was born in Eunice to Cajun French parents where she learned to speak French. She enjoys the culture of Southwest Louisiana along with the friendly people who live in the area and the variety of activities available for residents and visitors alike.

"I truly look forward to volunteering at the bureau each week. I feel appreciated for what I do. Everyone is so friendly, and it is really like a big family," said Morvant.

Morvant is married to Johnny Morvant and will be celebrating 55 years of marriage this November. They have three children, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The Morvants also participate with the Swamp Rats senior citizens' jam session in Moss Bluff where Merline plays the spoons and Johnny plays the guitar and accordion.

The bureau has set aside "Volunteer Day" to be part of the National Tourism Week festivities with a special thank you event to be held 1-3 p.m. at the bureau, 1205 N. Lakeshore Drive, on Friday, May 14. Area volunteers are invited to attend and network about more volunteer opportunities in the community.

For more information on volunteer opportunities at the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau, contact Shanna Landry, director of administration, at or call (337) 436-9588.

For details on National Tourism Week activities, the impact of tourism or how to get involved in the bureau's programming, visit or become a fan on