Lester Champagne was named the
Erath 4th of July Grand Marshal.
His devotion and dedication
for his hometown community is one that has proven to be unique.
Lester was the child of
Lillian and Felician Champagne. His siblings included: Elie,
Elaine, Laurence, Rena, Edith and Elida.
He is a 1960 graduate of Erath
High. He is married to Irene, and together they had four sons,
Brent, Jude, Clint and Cotty.
In the late 1960s, Lester
Champagne acquired a small grocery store in Erath on Kibbe
Street. (It was originally owned by C. B. LeBlanc.) This
industrious, hard-working farm boy achieved phenomenal success
with his family-owned and operated supermarket, Champagne’s. By
the 1970’s, Lester expanded the store by acquiring property at
the corner of Kibbe and Edwards, the site of the old Joe Granger
home site. Building a state-of-the-art supermarket for his
small, rural hometown, Lester set the stage for the continued
success of this family-owned business. And we mean …
FAMILY-owned and operated! Even Lester’s parents originally
worked in the store’s meat department while other family members
assisted throughout the store, catering to the personal needs of
the community it happily served.
Over the years, Lester
continued to grow the store to the town’s needs. He purchased
the Abrad “T-Brad” Stoute home site which was adjacent to his
store and thus Champagne’s enlarged again. A few years later,
Lester acquired yet more surrounding property, the railroad
section house on Edwards to the west. The store grew again,
adding a delicatessen, an enlarged meat department and increased
Family has always played a
central role in the store, and Lester’s four sons, Brent, Jude,
Clint and Cotty, along with his nephew, Ricky Luquette, have
been actively involved in the store operations. His sister,
Elaine, has also lent her hand with management of the store.
When the opportunity became
available for Lester to purchase a supermarket business in
Delcambre, his store operations expanded to that market for a
time. Each store enjoyed success and the small towns appreciated
having hometown supermarkets.
Through the years, Lester
Champagne has served the community in various ways. He was
inducted in the Erath Hall of Fame in 1999 and was selected as
the 2000 Erath 4th of July Grand Marshal, both honors
recognizing his contributions to the Erath community.