Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Trailblazers: Southern Leisure and Recreation: After His Department Is Hit Hard by Hurricane Katrina, George DeCoux Shifts Gears

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Trailblazers: Southern Leisure and Recreation: After His Department Is Hit Hard by Hurricane Katrina, George DeCoux Shifts Gears

Article excerpt

George DeCoux retired his post of director of Leisure Services for the city of Gulfport, Miss., on Dec. 1, 2005, after a long career contributing to parks and recreation on a local, regional and national level. DeCoux served on the NRPA Board of Trustees, representing the southern region from 1986-1992, and was a recipient of NRPA's Ralph Wilson Award.

DeCoux was one of the original organizers of the Mississippi Recreation and Parks Association (MRPA) in the mid-1960s, and served as the association's president in 1975. He represented MRPA on the Southern Regional Council of NRPA for nine years. In 1980, DeCoux was the recipient of SRC's Harold D. Meyer Professional Award and served as chairman of the council from 1984 to 1985. He also received three meritorious recreation awards from the Armed Forces Recreation Society, in addition to two executive awards in 1969 and 1988.

Much of DeCoux's life's work in Gulfport was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. Many of the facilities it took years to plan and build were lost.

Most proud moment: "Being the recipient in 1997 of NRPA's National Award-the Ralph Wilson Award--particularly since Ralph Wilson, longtime NRPA leader, was a fellow federal recreation director with the Agriculture Department, and in my early years I was a federal director for the Department of Defense. Because of that camaraderie, he encouraged me to seek leadership roles in our national organization. It was particularly satisfying for me to win the award that had been developed in his name. …

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