Patrick Esquerre Honored by Oak Cliff Lions Club

Patrick Esquerre honored by OC Lions
Patrick Esquerre courtesy photo

Patrick Esquerre, an entrepreneur, and the spirit and creator of the La Madeleine Country French Cafés, will receive the Bill Melton Humanitarian Award from Oak Cliff Lions Club. The award will be presented at the noon luncheon meeting on April 26 in Weiss Auditorium at Methodist Dallas Central.

Esquerre is the 45th recipient of the prestigious annual award, which recognizes and honors a person whose activities, contributions and service to the community best symbolize the ideals of Lionism. The award is usually given to non-Lions who have demonstrated dedication to community, profession, God and mankind that exemplifies the motto of Lions Clubs International, “We Serve.”

After founding La Madeleine, Esquerre grew the company to 75 units across Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, Georgia, and the Washington, D.C area. Born and raised in France, Patrick earned an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the Ecole Supérieure du Commerce de Paris and joined the international marketing firm of Young & Rubicam. Then he established his own marketing firm. His client base includes Fortune 500 companies, among them: BMW, Yoplait, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Chrysler, and R.J. Reynolds.

French Government Events

Patrick Esquerre’s expertise in innovative communication garnered him the chance to work with and for the French Government, arranging among others the logistics for the meeting in Martinique between French President Giscard d’Estaing with President Gerald Ford. Patrick also provided marketing and special events for then the Mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac. His most memorable experience was when he organized several events during the Pope John Paul II’s official visit to Paris, at Notre Dame, The City Hall and the Park des Princes Stadium where the pope challenged 75,000 French teens with a load and applauded: “Do it only after you get married!” He also used new technologies to celebrate spectacular Bastille Day at the Eiffel Tower, five years in a row.

Esquerre also worked with the U.S. Tourism Office in Paris. and was the co-founder of the Tour de France à la Voile (sailing) competitions. He has been celebrated and honored over the years with numerous awards for his business acumen and accomplishments, as well as in recognition for his generous and tireless fundraising efforts. In 1991 PBS presented him with their Humanitarian Award for his help in fundraising Pledge Drives in eleven U.S. cities.

In 1993 INC. Magazine named Patrick Esquerre Entrepreneur of the Year, and in 1997 he was the recipient of Nation’s Restaurant News Magazine’s ‘Top Fifty Power Players’ Award recognizing him among the nation’s most influential and successful restaurateurs. Among his most notable recognitions, in 2004, his native Republic of France awarded him the prestigious l’Ordre National du Mérite for his distinguished achievements. Patrick also received the George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

Patrick Esquerre Founds Essilor Vision Foundation

He is the Founder of the Essilor Vision Foundation and Kids Vision for Life Coalitions, 501©3 public charities based in Dallas. The charities have the support of Essilor, the leading manufacturer and distributor of optical lenses, as well as Alcon Foundation to service Dallas-area Lions Clubs. Its mission is to correct and eliminate poor vision and its lifelong consequences by providing screenings, eye exams and glasses to children who could not otherwise afford them. Since its inception in 2008, Kids Vision For Life has grown, extending its services across Texas and providing eye care to children in California, Georgia and Washington, D.C area.

For over 94 years, Oak Cliff Lions have supported a variety of local, state, national and international charities involving youth, vision, and other worthy causes and charities. It is estimated that the club has contributed over $1.5 million to charitable causes through the dedicated efforts of club members.

Bill Melton Humanitarian Award

In 2010, the annual humanitarian award was renamed to honor its Founding President, Past District Governor and former Dallas County Treasurer Bill Melton. The Dallas Oak Cliff Lions Club was organized and chartered in April 1929. The civic organization meets at noon every Wednesday in Weiss Auditorium at Dallas Methodist Central Hospital, off Beckley and Colorado in North Oak Cliff.

Lunch will be served starting at 11:30 a.m., and the awards program will start promptly at 12 noon on April 26. The event is free for members of Oak Cliff Lions Club, and guests will be charged $12.50 for their lunch. Blake Lindsay is President of the Oak Cliff Lions Club, and Past President Dennis Jeter is Chairman of the Oak Cliff Lions Club’s Bill Melton Humanitarian Award Committee. For more information about the organization, or to make reservations for the awards program, please visit

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Jo Ann Holt
Jo Ann Holt is an award-winning journalist with 40+ years of experience as a writer and editor. She loves live performances, from country music concerts to Broadway musicals to community theatre productions. Holt also enjoys art and cultural festivals, and good food and wine. She’s toured Amsterdam, London, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and various cities in Mexico but looks forward to visiting even more countries. She has traveled by boat, plane, and train, but especially likes taking long road trips across the U.S. with her husband, retired history professor Durhl Caussey. They enjoy meeting friendly people, learning about different cultures, and visiting historic sites wherever they go.