Melissa Darden, Chairman, Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana

Melissa Darden, Chairman
Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana

Cypress Bayou Casino Hotel in Charenton, LA

CHALLENGES/OPPORTUNITIES: There have been many challenges in 2021, namely staffing and keeping our community safe; but, there have also been opportunities as it relates to CARES and ARPA funds. Tribal nations have never witnessed such a large investment into Indian Country and it is unlikely that we will ever see this again in our lifetime. The Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana is poised to develop and begin to execute a strategic plan for our community inclusive of economic development. 

KEY TO SUCCESS: In one word, flexibility. The “old ways” of running the operations of our enterprises had to be completely rethought, which meant many processes from beginning to end were overhauled. In some instances, we have been able to contain expenses and increase our level of service. The Chitimacha Tribal Council committed early on during the pandemic that we would remain flexible to respond immediately to the daily changes that COVID-19 would bring. The speed of our response to the daily changes due to COVID and the commitment from
our team members from all of our enterprises has proved to be effective.

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT: The Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana proactively seeks new enterprise and economic development for the betterment of our members and community. We have evaluated many business opportunities over the last year and a half while also engaging in new housing projects on our reservation.