Montoucet named to head Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

State representative to replace Charlie Melancon effective Jan. 16

State Rep. Jack Montoucet has been named to head the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries beginning Jan. 16, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office announced today.

Montoucet replaces Charlie Melancon, who resigned as the agency’s secretary after months of controversy.

“I’m honored to be chosen by our governor to lead an agency that protects Louisiana’s legacy and unique culture,” Montoucet said in the news release announcing his appointment. “I will be a uniter, not a divider, on important decisions about access to wildlife and fisheries that impact our environment and our way of life.

“Businesses, recreational sportsman and every interested party will have a seat at the table, and they will be treated fairly, and I am looking forward to serving the Sportsman’s Paradise.”

The incoming secretary also said he planned to make changes to financial oversight of the LDWF to correct problems identified this year by state auditors during the administration of Robert Barham, who preceeded Melancon.

“I understand the seriousness of the issues raised by a recent audit, and the governor and I are committed to making the necessary reforms to this agency,” Montoucet said.

Edwards said in the news release that his appointee has a background giving him an understanding of issues important to the state’s outdoorsmen and leadership needed to run a state agency.

“As a busineman, he understands the complex nature of running an organization such as (the Department of) Wildlife and Fisheries, and as an alligator farmer in Acadiana he shares my belief that nothing should get in the way of Louisiana remaining the Sportsman’s Paradise,” Edwards said. “This single agency represents so much about our culture, and I am excited to have Jack lead it into the future.”

Montoucet was elected to the House of Representatives in 2008. He is the owner of Jacques’ Croc’s & Farm Pride Processors, and is a retired fire chief from the Lafayette Fire Department.

He has been involved for 30 years in growing and marketing the LDWF’s Alligator Farming Program, serving as president of the Louisiana Alligator Association.

Until Montoucet’s appointment takes effect, LDWF’s Assistant Secretary Patrick Banks will serve as interim secrtary.