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Then & Now: Patti Broussard

“I remember the article and talking about being fulfilled by serving others,” says Patti Broussard. “I totally stand by that to this day, and my life has more meaning.”

FACE Magazine’s cover story of May 2012 featured Lafayette’s Patti Broussard who, at the time, spoke of the importance of making a difference. On that topic, things have not changed a bit. “A life of service? Sure, it can sometimes be exhausting and tiring; but, in the grand scheme of things, when you see some of the young people you’ve helped to mold and shape suddenly stand up and talk to everyone in the group about being a leader, about believing in Christ, and about how much they love one another, well, it makes all of the hard times worthwhile.”

The group in question is one near-and-dear to her heart: Christian Youth Theatre, perhaps better known in Acadiana by three letters: C-Y-T. In fact, Patti and her husband, Gerald, founded CYT-Lafayette 10 years ago after they watched a show performed by CYT’s Houston chapter. “Wow, 10 years,” laughs Broussard. “Who knew? I remember thinking, ‘There’s no way. We’re starting a theatre group?’ I kept waiting for the doors to shut.”

But Gerald had a vision, and Patti continued to be amazed by what she says was (and is) divine intervention. “Those doors kept opening, and we’d go to the next step, and CYT just kept going and going. The fact that we are still here, continuing to grow, is proof that God has always been at the center of it, and He helps us to always put the kids first.”

The evolution of CYT-Lafayette has placed a new title onto Patti Broussard: Chapter Coordinator. “A bit of refreshing and rebranding for CYT,” says Broussard. “CYT is the tree; CYT-Lafayette is the branch; and now we’ve got these fabulous leaves that are growing so well, Lafayette and Vermilion.” Of course, growing from the start-up group of 15-to-20 kids in a session (fall, winter, spring) to the nearly 300 kids in a current session most definitely means CYT is way more than Patti and Gerald Broussard. “We have so many great people now; we have gathered this family of amazing teachers and directors. So many of them are in their 20s and 30s, and they bring this energy and vision to keep it going.”

‘Chapter Coordinator’ is a title of which Broussard is very proud, but it’s nowhere close to that of ‘wife’ of the aforementioned Gerald. “In January, it will be 30 years of marriage, and yes, that’s a long time,” smiles Broussard. So what’s the secret to marital longevity? “You stick it out through the good times and the bad times, and you just work through it. We’re a team and we stick together.” You get the feeling that, even six years after her first FACE interview, Patti kind of likes her husband. “He’s my best friend, too.”

We seem to be on a theme of titles and roles, and there’s still one more for Broussard. “Does being a mother continue to shape Patti Broussard?” I asked. There was no hesitation in her answer. “Oh, absolutely. I don’t know how that will not be the focus of my life. Grandchildren will come (oldest daughter Kallie, 25, is engaged), and I plan to have a large role there, too. If they’ll let me,” she laughs. Still at home are 21-year old Katie (a fantastic photographer, by the way) and 14-year old Emma. “I try not to be so caught up in the business of things I need to do. Those high school years really fly by, and there’s no magic way to slow it down. I try to just enjoy them and be with them as much as possible.”

What’s next for Patti Broussard? On the family side, there’s a bit of wedding planning; but in terms of CYT, there’s a capital campaign, the goal of which is to put set-design, costumes, camps and a rehearsal space all under one roof. “We’ve been theatrical nomads,” she laughs. “All of these schools and denominations have been very gracious to give us space for various activities over the past decade, and we don’t want to overstay our welcome. It will be wonderful—except for our shows at UL’s Angelle Hall—to have a building for all things CYT.”

Regardless of the title or role, Patti Broussard makes it clear that none of it would be possible without an ever-present higher power. “You know what? Faith in God will get you through it all. God has made all of this possible.”