Written by Claire TaylorIn 1953, Lafayette hosted a small oil expo with
exhibits in the Petroleum Club’s parking lot.
This year, the 29th LAGCOE will take over the Cajundome and
Convention Center and was selected by the U.S. Department of Commerce to
participate in the International Buyer Program (Select).
LAGCOE’s history credits Peter Ferguson of Esso Standard and
the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce with conceiving the idea for a local oil show
to thank the industry and showcase the services and technologies offered by
local oil and natural gas companies.
Two years later, it evolved into the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil
Exposition, held in 1955 at Blackham Coliseum. With 130 exhibitors, it was
considered a success, except financially.
Lafayette Looey debuted at the first show. Looey was a
cartoon-like character depicting oil and gas rig roughnecks or toolpushers.
Lyle Cummins served as the first Lafayette Looey, the forerunner of today’s
The first show featured a Cajun fais do do, a parade through
downtown Lafayette featuring 17 marching bands, the selection of a Queen LAGCOE
at a formal concert and dance, and more.
In its early years, LAGCOE was geared toward rig and
production personnel working in the field, gaining a reputation as the working
man’s oil show.
Some big names have served as featured speakers at the LAGCOE
luncheon and have attended the expo. In 1969, U.S. Secretary of the Interior
Walter Hickel was a guest. In 1989, Speaker of the House Tom Foley attended. In
1995, Cynthia Quarterman, director of the Minerals Management Service of the
U.S. Department of the Interior was a featured speaker and legendary wild well
fighter Paul "Red” Adair attended.
Dick Cheney was a guest speaker in 1999 when he was CEO of
Halliburton, before being elected vice president of the United States.
Over the years, as the industry evolved, so did LAGCOE. After
the oil bust of the 1980s, the industry became more conservative, and the expo
reflected the change, refocusing on efficiency in the industry and eliminating
some of the extravagances of the past.
Today, the expo is more professional and technical than the
early days, geared toward the CEOs, managers, engineers and geologists from oil
and gas operators and service companies. In recent years, LAGCOE has attracted
industry innovators and serves as a platform for introducing new technology and
services for onshore and offshore industries.
The 2013 expo will feature exhibits by 416 companies.