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Governor John Bel Edwards has appointed former Congressman Charlie Melancon, a native of Napoleonville, La., as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Secretary Melancon replaces Robert Barham who previously served as the Department’s Secretary since 2008.
Melancon’s chief duty as Secretary will be to manage, conserve and promote wise utilization of Louisiana's renewable fish and wildlife resources and their supporting habitats through replenishment, protection, enhancement, research, development and education for the social and economic benefit of current and future generations.
Secretary Melancon’s career in public service to Louisiana has spanned over three decades. He was elected to three terms in the Louisiana House of Representatives (1987-1993). Prior to his appointment as Secretary, Melancon was elected to serve three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Louisiana’s Third Congressional District (2006-2011). He is also the former President and General Manager of the American Sugar Cane League U.S.A. and Executive Director of the South Central Planning and Development Commission.
As a member of Congress, Secretary Melancon served on the Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Science and Budget committees. Melancon is best known for his role in coordinating the private and intergovernmental responses for disaster recovery and rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as well as the BP oil spill.
Melancon grew up in Louisiana hunting and fishing.
“Some of my best memories as a child growing up in Louisiana come from learning how to hunt and fish from a family friend, Sonny Thibeaux,” said Melancon. “He instilled in me the importance of safety and the conservation of our resources.
“The charge that Governor Edwards gave me was to provide opportunities for, knowledge of and use and enjoyment of our resources, regardless of one’s socioeconomic status, making them equally available to every citizen of our sportsman’s paradise for generations to come.”
With seasoned and knowledgeable employees at LDWF, Melancon said, “I will rely heavily on the expertise of the dedicated employees within the department. I will look to the best available science and socioeconomic data when making regulatory decisions. As a member of the Science Committee in Congress, I came to the understanding that we have a better world because of science.”
Charlie and his wife, Peachy, reside in Baton Rouge and have two adult children. He holds a B.S. in Agriculture Business from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.