A Gonzales man is the latest American consul for the Republic of Kazakhstan, a move that officials from both countries hope will lead to new economic opportunities. Paris Theriot, known to friends as "Pye," accepted his honorary credentials during a ceremony earlier this month at the Camelot Club in Baton Rouge. It's a volunteer position with no pay, and Theriot says many of his responsibilities will likely overlap with his current job as director of international development for the nonprofit South Louisiana Economic Council.
"The companies that we represent are beginning to experience a downturn in the amount of work that presented itself in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and, like many other oil- and gas-related companies, they're beginning to move into the international market because of cost savings and the ample opportunities there," Theriot says. Erlan Idrissov, the Kazakhstan ambassador to the United States, says the honorary consul position was created to "promote cooperation between government, commercial and academic interests both in Kazakhstan and in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama."
The appointment comes at the recommendations of Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu and U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville. Melancon says it's an official appointment of the Kazakhstan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and had to be approved by the U.S. Department of State. — Jeremy Alford