Disch-DeClouet Social Service Center

header photo

John Indest Named New Executive Director of the Disch-Declouet Social Service Center

John Indest Named New Executive Director of the Disch-Declouet Social Service Center Joanie Kraker, President of the Board of Directors of the Disch-DeClouet Social Service Center announced that the Board has selected John “Johnny” Indest to replace Carol Gaignard who is retiring as Executive Director of the Center.  Mrs. Kraker stated, “We are deeply grateful to Carol who has led the Center for 11 years.  She has shown great compassion and caring to our clients, God’s beloved poor.  She has also been an excellent leader and administrator during her long tenure as voluntary director. We are blessed that she will continue to serve the poor as a volunteer.   Johnny will continue the great work that has been going on at the Center for 43 years.  He also brings a heart for the poor and a spirit rooted in the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, as well as a wealth of management experience.”

Mr. Indest stated, “I have always had a calling from Jesus to serve those most in need.  I vividly recall the beginning of the Social Service Center more than 43 years ago.  Father Disch and Mike and Bev Firmin started it and I greatly admired the work it did.  This was continued and enhanced by Paul and Shirley DeClouet.  Upon my retirement, when asked what I would do with my time, I told anyone inquiring that I would spend some of my time serving the poor and needy of Iberia Parish.”


Mark Gulotta and Gulotta’s Inc.

2019 Community Supporter of The Year

Social Service Center Community Supporter of the Year for 2019The Disch-DeClouet Social Service Center Community Supporter of the Year for 2019 is Mr. Mark Gulotta and Gulotta’s Inc.  Mark comes from a close-knit family that has lived in New Iberia for several generations and has run Gulotta’s for over a hundred years.  Mark said about his connection to the Disch-DeClouet Social Service Center, “When the Center was getting started in the seventies and I was in high school, we needed to so some community work and I chose the Center.  I did some cleaning and I remember painting the handshake logo that is used today.  I always admired the work that the DeClouets did for the community and followed in the footsteps of my Mom and Dad (Paul and Juanita) who give generously to the Center.  I guess it just came naturally to me, watching my parents do good work and wanting to continue another great tradition in New Iberia.”  The award was given in recognition of Mark’s commitment and generosity in helping the Center clients with work boots, work clothing, school uniforms, and other items throughout the years, as well as donating annually to the Center.  His assistance with work boots and work clothing has made a difference in so many lives.  People who had jobs, but not the required boots and clothing, would never have been able to start working in the jobs that made such a difference to their lives and that of their families.

Cassandra Watson

2019 Volunteer of The Year

Cassandra Watson 2019 Volunteer of The YearThe Disch-DeClouet Social Service Center Volunteer of the Year for 2019 is Mrs. Cassandra Watson.  Cassandra was born in New Orleans and grew up in Slidell.  She moved about the Southeast, working for Bell South and helping people wherever she went.  Cassandra came to New Iberia when she married Donnie Watson.  Since then she has been involved in many community and Church projects, including being on the volunteer landscaping committee at St. Peter’s.  At the Center, Cassandra has demonstrated commitment and generosity in serving the poor and needy of Iberia Parish as a Receptionist, the first point of individual contact with the clients, for over 6 years.  She listens to their requests with patience and compassion and provides them with critical information about the services available to them.  Through her participation with the AT&T Pioneers, the Center has received monetary donations, knitwear and uniforms for school children.  She and her husband, Donnie, prepare Christmas stockings with baby items and a toy or blanket for our clients’ children, 18 months and younger.  They also donate Christmas toys for little boys.  They put a lot of thought and originality into these toys, making sure they are appropriate and fun.  She and Donnie prepare hygiene bags for homeless men and women who come to the Center.  They are so grateful to get these items which they really need and which show that we care about them.  Cassandra doesn’t ask, she just does anything she sees that needs to be done.  She is always smiling, compassionate and caring, so that each client feels especially loved by her and Jesus.

St. Edward Milk Fund

Louis and Carol Gaignard and Dcn. Derouen

As part of the year-long celebration of its 100th Anniversary, St. Edward Church is having a special collection each month to help the poor and needy of the community.  The first gift was presented by Deacon Raymond Derouen (right) to Louis and Carol Gaignard (left and center) of the Disch-DeClouet Social Service Center for the Milk Fund.  The Pastor, Father Thomas Vu, and the Church membership wanted to give at least 100 gallons of milk to the children of New Iberia in honor of the Church's 100th Anniversary.  

Paying It Forward

Seagan and Ashton Segura and McKenzie Briscoe
Aston, McKenzie and Seagan

For the past 5 years Seagan and Ashton Segura have collected food for the Disch-DeClouet Social Service Center on Terrell Court in New Iberia.  This year they enlisted the help of their cousin, McKenzie Briscoe, and added Astor Place to the collection area.  Residents of the two streets were asked to put any donations outside the door and, with the help of Mom and Dad (Chris and Laurie Segura), the three cousins picked up the donations.  This year they collected over 800 pounds of food from generous neighbors.  It's all about neighbors helping neighbors in need.  Center Director, Carol Gaignard thanked the Seguras for their annual project.  "This family does something very meaningful together as a way of thanking God for His blessings.  We challenge other families on other streets to do the same...Paying it forward."


Monthly Report – February 2020

The Disch-DeClouet Social Service Center provided assistance in the month of February 2020 as follows:

  • Total Clients Served---------------------------------------319
  • Total Persons in Families Served------------------------- 891
  • Total Clients Assisted with Food --------------------------250
  • Total Clients Assisted with Clothing----------------------87
  • Gallons of Milk Distributed--------------------------------132
  • Total Clients Assisted with Housing Assistance----------22
  • Total Clients Assisted with Utility Assistance------------269

In addition to the services listed above our Center provided additional assistance with medications, dental care, funeral assistance, coats and blankets, uniforms, and transportation. It should be noted that our Center was open only 3 weeks in February due to Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

It seems that almost every day our Center is blessed by individuals and families throughout our Community who are seeking to donate, not only clothing, but a good amount of household items that are welcomed and needed by our clients. While we do not have the capacity to accept large pieces of furniture and the like, we gratefully accept bedding, bathroom items (towels, etc.), and kitchen items. Please know that just as you make these charitable donations to our Center, we, in turn, make these available to our clients free of charge.

As noted this past month, the Center is now is the midst of its Annual Fund Campaign. This is the major fund-raiser for our Center. I am greatly encouraged by the initial support that we are receiving from the drive. I ask for your prayerful consideration in supporting our efforts.

John L. Indest
Executive Director