Richard GoulaA Memorial Mass will be celebrated on May 13, 2017 at 11:00 am in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Lafayette, Louisiana for Richard Anthony Goula who died on April 7, 2017.

The Eulogy will be given by Mr. Bill Miller before the Memorial Mass begins. Maestro Mariusz Smolij and the Acadiana Symphony will provide liturgical music. Tom Niel, Director of Music and Organist at the Cathedral, along with Linda Malin, soloist, Ben Blanchet, soloist, and vocalists Dave Domingue and Sharon and David LaBarbera will also provide music. The Rev. Msgr. Keith J. DeRouen, Pastor of Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Opelousas will celebrate the Mass and Virginia Stuller will read the readings.

Honorary pall bearers will be Kenneth Verret, David Verret, Stefan Jolet and Alex Jolet.

Preceded in death by his parents, Clara Verret Goula and Charles Leo Goula. Richard was born on October 30, 1943 in New Iberia, La, and grew up on Weeks Island, La. He was an honor student at Catholic High School in New Iberia, received an undergraduate degree at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette (then USL), and continued with postgraduate studies at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.

His career in the oil and gas industry as a geologist and geophysicist spanned 45 years and included employment with Convexx, Phillips Petroleum, Inexco, Tenneco LOL, and Hamilton Brothers Oil. He was the founder of British Acadian Ltd., Inc., and served for 30 years as President and CEO. He served on the boards of Westmount, an energy company in the United Kingdom, UL College of the Arts, Newcomb Art Museum at Tulane University, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra & Conservatory, and the Musical Arts Society of New Orleans.

His philanthropic endeavors, which were associated with his passions for painting, music and botany, benefited many organizations and worthy causes. He established Thistlewood Foundation, an organization devoted to providing financial support and educational opportunities for emerging artists, musicians and students of botany.

From an early age Richard had an interest in drawing and painting the uniquely beautiful landscapes that surrounded him. The live oaks, exotic blooms, swamp lands and bayous of South Louisiana greatly influenced his art. Having studied with plein air painters in both the United States and the United Kingdom, his paintings featured South Louisiana landscapes and scenes from Kew Gardens in London. He became an acclaimed and prolific artist who presented major shows of his works on the premises of Thistlewood. The musical arts were also an important part of his life. He was a talented classical pianist and a supporter of MASNO's International Piano Competition in New Orleans. In Lafayette he was a founding board member and an active supporter of Acadiana Symphony & Conservatory. He organized special events to benefit ASO that have become legendary for their elegance and for their success. He was serving on the board at the time of his death. He was also a member of Chorale Acadienne for many years and performed at numerous community and regional events. He sang and played the organ for several Catholic Churches in the Lafayette Diocese.

An accomplished botanist, Richard was a member and former president of the Society of Louisiana Irises. He researched and recorded the development of new hybrid Louisiana irises and published articles in various books and periodicals including "A History of Louisiana Irises". He devoted many acres of land at Thistlewood to the project and hosted tours of his expansive iris gardens every spring. The property also showcased camellias, azaleas and roses. His gardening projects extended to vegetables, an herb garden and an orchard. Richard enjoyed the culinary arts of South Louisiana and could expound upon various recipes for stuffed mirliton and okra gumbo.

He enjoyed having friends around his table which was always elegantly set, vases filled with blooms from his garden. Richard Goula had a great appreciation for South Louisiana and he expressed it in many ways. From his studies of the geological richness of the Gulf Coast, the lush landscapes that inspired his art, the marshy soil that produced his beloved Louisiana Irises, to the music that filled his heart and soul, he always sought to share his talents, knowledge and successes with others.

His legacy will endure through the Thistlewood Foundation and those who will benefit from his foresight and generosity.

Richard is survived by his cousins, Darnella McElduff, Catherine Viator Belden, Ida May Haydel Belt, Phala Haydel, Kenneth Verret, Catherine Verret Giardina, Bronwyn Jolet and Ingrid Jolet and their families, as well as a host of friends who were also Richard's family, especially Dominick Atkinson and Peggy Atkinson; Oren and Michelle Smith; and Max, Abby and Harry Hantel.