Family, Love, Seafood

Neal Swanner may not be a Nicholls alumni, but the Colonel Red and Gray ran through his veins until he died at the age of 68.

Though he will no longer greet the customers at his iconic Thibodaux restaurant, Bubba’s II Po-Boys, his legacy of good food and philanthropy lives on throughout the city and the entire Nicholls campus.

He was a prominent supporter of education and Nicholls Athletics, contributing to scholarships for high school seniors and Nicholls students, and providing the food for the annual Nicholls Athletics Seafood Extravaganza.

“COVID-19 has taken a lot from us and it has now taken a man who has meant so much to Nicholls and the Bayou Region,” says Dr. Jay Clune, Nicholls President. “Most of us know him as the affable owner of Bubba’s II Po-boys, but many more of us know how much he has contributed to this region. He will be missed.”

Swanner loved his brother, Norman, who passed away in 2006. After his death, he created the Norman Swanner Foundation in the memory of his brother. It was through that foundation that he acted out on his community spirit. A scholarship has been set up in his brother’s name, and the Swanner family name hangs above the Nicholls softball field and the Thibodaux dog park.

In 2019, the Nicholls Alumni Federation honored the impact of Swanner’s generosity with the Harvey Peltier Award. The award goes to an outstanding supporter of Nicholls and is the highest honor a non-graduate can receive from the university.

“Norman and I always said that if we were successful, we wanted to give back to our community. Thibodaux would not be as big or great as it is this day other than the fact of Nicholls being here for over 70 years, which is tremendous,” Swanner said, when he received the Harvey Peltier award. – Jacob Batte