THE ICON: Jay Lapeyre
THE LEGACY: It started in 1943 with a good idea. J.M. Lapeyre — then just 16 years old — dreamed up a shrimp-peeling machine while working a summer job at his father’s seafood-packing plant in Houma. Not only would the resulting machine revolutionize the shrimping industry, but it would be the seed for the company known today as the Laitram Corp. Today, Laitram is run by one of J.M’s five sons, Jay Lapeyre, who has maintained an active civic presence at home while growing the family business into a global company — still built on good ideas — that employs more than 1,900 people. He has also taken the torch from his father, proving that even in tradition-bound New Orleans, there is still plenty of room for innovation.
THE ARTIST: Sean Randall, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “Our most creative people are serial innovators. … These innovators are the engine of our business; they develop ideas the rest of us don’t see, and everyone benefits from the process and results.” — Jay Lapeyre, in a 2012 interview with the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship