Tunica-Biloxi Tribe Hosts Second Annual Rural Economic Development Summit

Civic and business leaders expound on enhancing the quality of life and creating more economic

opportunities in Rural Louisiana

Click here for photos from the 2023 summit

Marksville, LA – (September 15, 2023) – Monday, September 11 and Tuesday, September 12, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana partnered with the Southern University Law Center (SULC) and the Southern University College of Business University Center for Economic Development in co-hosting the second annual Louisiana Rural and Economic (LaRuE) Development Summit, sponsored by T-Mobile, in Marksville, Louisiana, at Paragon Casino Resort.

Several Louisiana leaders including business executives, industry experts, and state and local elected officials teamed up to educate attendees on better ways to develop and expand the business capabilities of the state’s rural communities. With its extensive agenda featuring panelists and keynote speakers, LaRuE successfully stood by its mission to enhance the quality of rural life by connecting those leaders with business owners, professionals, investors and faculty and students from all Louisiana universities.

Originally debuted in 2019, and subsequently placed on a pandemic-induced hold, LaRuE’s return comes at a critical time for small business owners who are trying to build or rebuild their enterprises in this ever-evolving landscape. To help those individuals, LaRuE’s rundown provided a wide range of topics for discussion including 5G and broadband expansion, technological advancements, agriculture, affordable housing, workforce development and job training programs, accessible healthcare and mental health services, navigating state or federal funding and creating relationships with Native American Tribal Governments.

“For too long, our friends and neighbors living in rural communities have been separated from essential needs and opportunities,” said Marshall Pierite, Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe. “Through careful coordination with LaRuE, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe devotes itself to providing more opportunities, more experiences, more training and a better shot for a fulfilling life to families both in our area and all across Louisiana.”

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana has long supported and encouraged economic development and growth among Native Americans, including its citizens who reside in rural Louisiana. Already in 2023, the Tribe has secured more than $70 million in grants to assist in stabilizing and propelling its citizens through workforce development training, increased access to the internet and various small business support systems.

Before the two-day summit kicked off, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe held a free community health fair at Paragon Casino Resort. The public was treated to healthy food options from a lineup of vendors along with being educated on ways to be active and health-conscious every day. To celebrate the health fair, the world-renowned Southern University Human Jukebox Band gave a special performance.

In closing, Chairman Pierite said, “Although the 2023 LaRuE Development Summit is over, providing resources for Native Americans and rural neighbors is never over. We are looking forward to seeing how LaRuE helped boost our communities for the remainder of 2023 and use that information to improve for the 2024 event.”

For more information on Southern University Law Center, visit www.sulc.edu.  

For more information on the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, visit https://www.tunicabiloxi.org/.

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