DDA + DLU Staff
We work every day to help Downtown grow and thrive.
Downtown Lafayette consists of two organizations, the Downtown Development Authority and Downtown Development Unlimited who work together to preserve and enhance Downtown Lafayette’s place as the heart of Acadiana. Together they provide resources for businesses, developers, and community members to keep Downtown thriving and successful.
Meet The Team at Downtown Lafayette
Downtown Development Authority
Downtown Lafayette Unlimited
Anita Begnaud is an action-oriented, results-driven leader who is passionate about building an authentic, diverse, and welcoming downtown district that serves as the economic and cultural engine for the City of Lafayette and Acadiana Region.
As the leader of the DDA and its partner 501c6 non-profit, DLU, Anita spearheads efforts to aid and encourage private development of the district, as well as promote and coordinate public development. Working with downtown stakeholders, developers, government representatives, and community leaders, Anita champions advocacy for a stronger and more dynamic Downtown Lafayette.
Prior to her role as CEO of DDA/DLU, Anita served as Senior Vice President of Communications and Governmental Affairs for One Acadiana, the region’s economic development organization and Lafayette’s Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves on the board of directors for the SLCC Foundation and Ellevate Louisiana. Anita has been recognized as a Woman Who Means Business, 20 Under 40 honoree, and graduate of both Leadership Institute of Acadiana and Leadership Louisiana. She also is actively involved in One Acadiana’s urban revitalization and development committee work.
Director of Development & Planning
Downtown Development Authority
Rachel’s role at DDA is to facilitate Downtown real estate development and investment and serve as a liaison for private industry with Lafayette City-Parish government. Her background in architecture, experience with development codes, and involvement in development at all stages—from planning to construction—gives her a unique perspective when working with strategic partners. Rachel also serves on the board of directors for Lafayette Habitat for Humanity and is actively involved in both One Acadiana’s Urban Revitalization and Development Committee and the Acadiana Housing Alliance.
Director of Finance and Administration
Downtown Development Authority
Amy is responsible for managing office services, board minutes, financial statements, and accounting records. In addition to her accounting duties, Amy provides administrative support to the CEO. Outside of the office, Amy spends her time attending festivals, visiting museums, and enjoying our area’s great cuisine.
Director of Strategic Communications and Marketing
Anna-Laura’s role as Director of Strategic Communications and Marketing for Downtown Lafayette Unlimited is to lead all aspects of the DLU marketing and communications efforts as well as develop and execute strategies that will continue to promote awareness and interest in Downtown Lafayette. Anna-Laura is a member of Designing Women of Acadiana. She is also a member of the local women’s organization, Women of Wisdom, a non-profit focused on embracing, enlightening, and empowering women in Acadiana and collaborating with partners to create positive changes and improve quality of life for all. “Downtown Lafayette is the heart of our beautiful city. Its health and vibrancy create a ripple effect across the community. The excitement and energy buzzing within the downtown area is contagious and I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be a part of it,” says Edmiston. Anna-Laura is passionate about applying her knowledge and experiences in ways that will contribute to the development and promotion of the City of Lafayette.
Dawn thrives on connecting with people, creating memorable experiences, and making a positive impact in the community. As DLU’s Events Manager, her responsibilities include planning event logistics, developing relationships with community members, and coordinating all operations leading up to the event. With experience in wedding coordination and event production for Townsquare Media, Dawn, after 13 years of searching, found her passion as a “memory maker.” She hopes to create more long-term events, like DTA!, that celebrates Louisiana culture, supports small businesses, and brings the downtown community together. In her spare time, you can find Dawn building Legos or riding dirt bikes with her husband and boys when she’s not lost in a good book or starting a new craft. She’s got a knack for problem-solving and a team player mentality with creative insight. “This journey that took me so long to find has blossomed into a career that I truly love and most importantly am passionate about,” says Dawn.
Digital & Social Media Coordinator
Gabrielle’s passion for marketing and expertise with targeted audiences made her the perfect candidate as DLU’s Digital and Social Media Coordinator. She manages all of Downtown Lafayette’s social media platforms, creates digital marketing content, and assists with developing different marketing campaigns. She has experience in several marketing genres, including product promotions, service advertisements, revitalization campaigns, and captivating storytelling. Gabrielle spends much of her time browsing the web to keep up with all the latest trends, but when she’s not online, you can find her outdoors hiking or enjoying live music at festivals! She is motivated by others’ creativity and strives to think outside the box in hopes that others are inspired by the content she creates. “There is something special about helping others find their voice, and it is the most rewarding part about what I get to do,” says Gabrielle.
Emily is an accomplished graphic designer, artist, and versatile creative with over five years of experience in the industry. As DLU’s skilled graphic designer, Emily is responsible for creating visually stunning graphics, ranging from small-scale social media content to large event posters. With her innate passion for creativity and design, Emily strives to elevate the look and feel of DLU through her stunning imagery and impeccable aesthetic sensibilities.
Having spent the first five years of her career as a successful freelancer, Emily decided to become more involved with her local community. Her deep love for Louisiana’s unique culture, close-knit community, and fantastic food has inspired her to contribute her expertise to Downtown Lafayette, a place that exemplifies everything she adores about the state.
When Emily isn’t immersed in her work on Adobe Illustrator, she enjoys indulging in her passion for baking delicious sweets and diving into books that spark her creativity and imagination. She is driven by pure internal motivation, fueled by her desire to deliver exceptional work and make a meaningful impact through her artistic vision and talents.
Emily’s passion for design and her commitment to creating stunning visuals have enabled her to build a successful career in the field. Her eye for detail, exceptional work ethic, and dedication to delivering top-notch results make her an invaluable asset to DLU.