L E G A C Y T R I B U T E
RACONTEUR SPOTLIGHT MILLARD “M.P.” DUMESNIL
A Man on a Mission by Olivia Savoie
M.P. VISITING THE ORIGINAL, OLD BRIDGE
oday, Millard “M.P.” Dumesnil is a 91-year-old with a big smile and contagious laugh. He is also as adventurous as ever. In 2020 alone, he has already returned from a trip to Israel and another to aid the people of Honduras. At home, he awakes early each day and heads to work as a contractor. M.P. was raised on the then-gravel University Avenue in Lafayette. At just 18 years old in 1947, he went into business as a contractor and, after having scraped together his childhood savings, constructed his first house. After that—aside from the interruption of two years of military service—he built houses. Then, beginning in 1960, he turned his attention to the municipal business and became a leading contractor of sewer plants, elevated tanks, pump stations, pipelines, and more. All the while, he raised a big family of eight children alongside his wife, Flo. He also took on another incredible challenge: mission work.
M.P. says, “It all started with a meeting some 60 years ago.” M.P.’s good friend, Louis Michot, invited M.P. and his wife to meet a missionary priest from Mexico, who was studying agriculture at the University of Southwestern Louisiana (presently ULL). Upon meeting the industrious, dedicated Father Verplanken and both hearing stories and seeing pictures of the plight of the people he supported in and around Creel, a small community in Copper Canyon, Mexico, M.P. and Louis partnered with Father Verplanken to aid the Tarahumara Indian Mission. Since Father Verplanken faithfully stayed at the same mission for the rest of his life, the partnership lasted well over 40 years. In Copper Canyon in the 1960s, only 1 of 4 babies born lived to see adulthood. There was no running water, school, means to acquire much food, medical clinics, 337M A GA ZIN E.C OM
V O L U ME 6 I S S U E 2