Louisiana Elks Association, Inc.
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks

National and Local Awards

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Franklin Courville, PSP
2016-2017 Louisiana Elks Association Elk of the Year

2016-2017 Louisiana Elks Association Elk of the Year

This year's winner of the Steve G. Jenkinson, Jr. Louisiana Elk of the Year is Franklin Courville, PSP, of Opelousas Elks Lodge #1048.

Franklin joined the Opelousas Lodge in 1974 and has now been a member of the Order of Elks for 43 years. During that time he has remained active at both local and state levels of Elkdom.

Franklin served as Exalted Ruler of his Lodge for five terms. He has either chaired or served on the Americanism, Drug Awareness, Hoop Shoop, Soccer and ENF Program Committees. Every year Franklin is an avid participant on the cooking team that cooks for participants of the state's major project GUMBO games.

Franklin was the 2003-2004 State President of the Louisiana Elks Association and served the Grand Lodge as District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler for the Louisiana West District in 2001-2002. He is presently serving as the LEA Government Relations Committee Chairman and has done so for the past seven years. He served in the U.S. Army for two years and is a member of American Legion Post 45 and Forty-and-Eight 1351.

Franklin and his wife, Verona, visit the Jennings Veterans Home at least once every month and sometimes more often assisting with various Veterans Programs. Because of this continual service the Elks National Service Commission awarded them the prestigious Veteran Volunteer Award in 2011-2012.

Franklin has been married to his wife Verona for 61 years, and they have three children and three grandchildren. Franklin and Verona are members of Opelousas Queen of Angels Catholic Church.


Don L. Baye
2016-2017 LEA Veteran Volunteer of the Year

2016-2017 LEA Veteran Volunteer of the Year

This year’s Veterans Volunteer is Don L. Baye who has been a member of New Orleans Lodge #30 for twenty-two (22) years. During that time, he has chaired the annual Christmas Dinner for the homeless Veterans in the Southern Louisiana Veterans Healthcare System where he cooks and serves over 200 meals each year. Along with the annual Christmas Dinner, Don volunteers at the VA Hospital & Clinic in the New Orleans Area. He serves as a chaperone to the Homeless Veterans at Stand Downs. Another project Don has gotten involved with is the monthly Birthday Celebrations for the homeless Veterans in the New Orleans area. Brother Baye is a member of the Committee to oversee punctual care for the Veterans at the new Veterans Hospital and Medical Care complex in New Orleans.

Don is a Veteran himself, serving in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War from 1968 – 1973 on the USS Coral Sea as a Petty Officer Second Class.

He can usually be seen at the lodge cooking meals, volunteering his time, and acquiring donations.

Don truly represents what our Order is all about when it comes to our Veterans.

Terry M. Bruno
Chairman, LEA



Donavan Seamster
National Hoop Shoot Champion

Donavan Seamster - National Hoop Shoot Champion 2017

For the first time Louisiana Elks can now claim a Champion in the Grand Lodge National Hoop Shoot Contest. Congratulations go to Donavan Seamster who participated in the Boys Age 12-13 category and swept the 2017 Tournaments for his age group. In the local tournament Donavan had to win against his best friend and last year's national finalist, LaBree Williams, Jr., to move on to the state tournament. He made his last 15 shots in a row to accomplish the win shooting a final score of 23 out of 25.

In the Louisiana State Finals held in Opelousas LA Donavan again shot a score of 23 of 25, but this time another competitor rallied for a comeback forcing a shootout where each contestant gets 5 shots to determine the winner. Both kids had their worst shooting experience of the tournament journey with Donavan prevailing shooting 2 out of 5 and earning a trip to the Regional Finals in Dallas TX. Here the intensity of the competition continued to build against the best shooters from the four states region comprised of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana. Donavan again beat all boys in his age group, and a Louisiana contestant was going to the National Finals for the second year in a row.

In Chicago IL our young man proved he was ready to shoot with a flawless practice round on Friday. At Saturday's finals contest, Donavan made all 5 practice shots and followed up with a perfect score of 25 out of 25 shots but making just barely enough to win over two other shooters who shot 24 of 25.

Louisiana Elks have now sponsored a National winner for the first time since Hoop Shoot was created 45 years ago. The Best Shot Contest named for Hoop Shoot founder Getty Powell is for the boys and girls champions of the three age categories. A 9 year old boy also happened to shoot a perfect score, and after 5 more rounds of 5 shots each Donavan had won. His final winning score was 49 out of 50 shots, a remarkable achievement for a child of any age.

Donavan is an only child being raised by his mother Latisha Jack where she provides a solid home life for Donavan. Sometimes she finds it hard to fund her son's basketball ambitions, but she is obviously doing something right. Her son is now the National Champion who will soon have his name inscribed in the National Basketball Hall of Fame as the best basketball free-throw shooter in the country.

The sponsorship of a winning athlete from Louisiana is a direct result of the efforts of all the lodges in Louisiana and of the efforts of those who came before us. Congratulations to Jodie Blackwell, Hoop Shoot Chairman of Shreveport Lodge #122 for the success of his hard work. And thank you to all the volunteers that support and make Hoop Shoot possible in Louisiana.

Ed Chandler, Hoop Shoot Chairman
Louisiana Elks Association

Donavan Seamster - National Hoop Shoot Champion 2017

Donavan Seamster - National Hoop Shoot Champion 2017

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