The 2018 Hall of Distinction Induction Ceremony was held on March 22, 2018 at L'auberge Casino & Hotel in Baton Rouge.
Margie Jenkins’ life in agriculture began in Franklinton where her parents farmed cotton, sugarcane and timber, and were successful cattle and sheep ranchers.
After graduating Franklinton High School in 1938, Margie began working for what is now the state Farm Service Agency. In 1951, she and her late husband, Bryant, moved to Tangipahoa Parish and planted their first cash crop, a small watermelon field.
The following year, the couple started a dairy farm and would later see success in the timber industry. Their landscaping nursery began in 1960 after buying 50 acres of what is now Jenkins Farm and Nursery in Amite City.
With a career that spans 80 years, Margie Jenkins is recognized nationwide as one of the most knowledgeable experts on the cultivation of rare, unusual and native landscaping plants. She has served frequently as a lecturer with audiences across the country.
Jenkins is the first woman to be inducted into the Louisiana Agriculture Hall of Distinction.
Here at home, she has hosted countless educational events through the LSU AgCenter and remains an active member of the Louisiana Forestry Association. In recognition of her work in introducing the hardy Robin Hill variety of azaleas, the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station dedicated its property to Jenkins and named its azalea and native-plant research garden in her honor.
Among her numerous industry honors, Jenkins is a past winner of the James A. Foret Award. She also received the Louisiana Native Plant Society’s Karlene DeFatta Award and the Slater Wight Memorial Award from the Southern Nursery Association.
Pierre "Pete" Lanaux
Pete Lanaux of Edgard passed away at age 92 on Feb. 12, just a few weeks before the 2018 Hall of Distinction ceremony. The Louisiana agriculture community joins in mourning the loss of Lanaux, one of the state’s most successful sugarcane growers.
Few generations of farmers will ever see the magnitude of change he experienced. When Lanaux began in 1945, much of the fieldwork was still done by hand or with the help of mules. By the time he passed away, Lanaux had introduced innovations like multiple-row machinery, satellite technology and tablet computers to help keep his business organized.
Born in New Orleans, Lanaux’s father was a commission merchant who sold agriculture commodities as T. Lanaux and Son. Pete Lanaux graduated from Alcée Fortier School in uptown and went on to Tulane University, where he pursued an engineering degree.
In 1945, Lanaux and his brother, Denis, began farming 900 acres their father had purchased on Glendale Plantation in Lucy in St. John the Baptist Parish. With no other agricultural background, the Lanauxs started their business from scratch, using the T. Lanaux and Son family name.
Lanaux had no plans to retire, working his farm right to the end. He also didn’t speak much about his professional honors over the years, though his farm has been cited numerous times with High Sugar Yield awards.
In addition to farming, Lanaux worked with the state Farm Service Agency. He had also served as supervisor for the Crescent Water Conservation District and director of the St. James Sugar Co-op.