The Ben D. Johnson Center’s Crawfish Boil Fundraiser is a Resounding Success!

Natchitoches’ Ben D. Johnson Center held a crawfish boil fundraiser Friday, March 24 at the center’s building on Martin Luther King St. The center’s staff and volunteers filled the air with savory aromas as they boiled 300 lbs. of perfectly seasoned crawfish along with sides of potatoes, corn, and eggs. The popular event was soon sold out and raised approximately $600.00 to further the organization’s work.

The Ben D. Johnson Educational Center, founded by President and Founder Ms. Claire Prymus, niece of the center’s namesake, operates several programs to assist and improve our community. The center’s Legacy Garden not only serves an educational purpose, it also provides fresh homegrown food to the community. The center also operates a workforce development initiative that enables students to earn a high school equivalency, industry certifications and other skills. The Legacy Café is one of the finest restaurants in our area. The café serves fresh farm to table food, much of the produce being grown in the Legacy Garden as well as providing job experience to community residents. These are but a few of the ways the organization serves our community.

The event was more than a fundraiser, however. The Ben D. Johnson Center honored several volunteers who assisted with the recent expungement initiative. This initiative was a partnership between the Ben D. Johnson Educational Center and the Southern University Law School. Persons with criminal records who had paid their debt to society met with a team of students from Southern Law School and were screened for eligibility. They were then assisted with the ofttimes cumbersome paperwork. The Ben D. Johnson Center is sponsoring a bus to take the men and women to present their completed paperwork to the State Police in Baton Rouge. The expungement project is designed to give offenders who have served their sentences a fresh start by removing a serious barrier to employment and other areas of life. Honored for their volunteer work on the project were: Mr. J.W. Scarborough, Mr. Randy Stelly and Cloyd Benjamin.