Drainage, the budget, Cantrelle’s leadership among focuses of Lafourche in 2018

Trump energy proposals could bode well for Louisiana
January 10, 2018
Looking forward and upward
January 10, 2018
Trump energy proposals could bode well for Louisiana
January 10, 2018
Looking forward and upward
January 10, 2018

Drainage projects will be a top priority in 2018, however a third of the Lafourche Parish Council is split on whether activity this year will be a wash, despite Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle saying he is optimistic.

Some councilmen feel Cantrelle isn’t a leader, and hasn’t a clue as to what is going on in the parish, while others wish he would communicate with them more.

Meanwhile, Cantrelle said he expects to see some projects completed by the start of hurricane season, while disagreeing with but respecting, some of the council’s opinions.

Council Chairman Corey Perrillioux said 2018 is sure to present some fiscal challenges as revenues remain stagnant.

He said Lafourche Parish has several drainage projects that haven’t been completed (and in some cases not even started), “by this administration and this is troublesome.”

“I look forward to facing these challenges together with my fellow council members,” Perrillioux said.

In another matter, he said his first piece of legislation will be to create the Outstanding Citizen Award program for Lafourche Parish, to highlight and celebrate the great contributions of our citizens.

“I firmly believe that the government is of the people, and for the people, which is why I believe it imperative to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of

our people,” Perrillioux said.

Councilman Aaron “Bo” Melvin said Cantrelle, nor anyone from his administration, has yet to call him to arrange a driving tour of his district, since taking office.

“They feel they work with everyone – that’s not true. Some folks are plagued with drainage, some are not, and that needs to be assessed,” Melvin said.

For example, Melvin said when Cantrelle took office, he nixed a $5 million drainage project at the Dugas Canal, “cancelled because he believed it would pump swamp water into the bayou, which is hard to clean.”

“Now, many residents who would have been affected by the results of that project remain concerned about flooding, around and possibly in their homes, while others have taken it upon themselves to raise their homes.”

“This administration cannot continue to act so blindly. If you have a barstool, and it only has three legs, it can’t work efficiently, ” Melvin said.

Additionally, the district 4 councilman said in August of last year, he asked Cantrelle for a list of what projects his staff were currently working on.

“I have yet to see that list. We need better communication from this administration,

Melvin said.

Veteran Councilman Daniel Lorraine believes that if Cantrelle doesn’t stand up and attempt to be a leader, “We’ll have the same crap as we’ve had the past two years.”

“I represent the money making area of this parish, Fourchon. I’ve got money set aside for projects, but this administration and some on the council, keep shooting me down.”

Lorraine, who represents district 9, has been a councilman for 45 years.

“Many on the council want to be the parish president – i don’t have to name names, just look at the votes. Many want to control everything – you’re either with them or you’re not.”

Lorraine said if Cantrelle tries to stand up more for what he believes in, maybe the parish will get somewhere.

“I’m not saying he does not work. However, the legislative body wants to run the administration’s part of the budget, and that’s not going to work,”

Lorraine said.

Councilman Michael Gros, who represents district 3, believes the council and the administration are ready to move the parish forward.

“When you argue like that in public, it’s very unfortunate. I’m not saying there isn’t good and bad points on both sides, but the reality of it all is that we are here to serve,” he said.

Gros said the top project for him will be repairing Abbey Road in Thibodaux, a $1 million overhaul of a road that has become one of the area’s “biggest thruways.”

“We’ve done enough patching, now it’s time to get it done,” he said.

Councilman Jerry Jones, who represents the district 1 seat, called Cantrelle “incompetent,” saying the parish has “been at a dead standstill,” since he has been in office.

“His whole administration is nothing but foolishness. If our parish employees wouldn’t be afraid of losing their jobs, trust me, they would speak openly. This man has no clue about what’s going on in this parish,” Jones. said.

For example, he said the Cyipn Pump Station Project which over a $3 million price tag, has sat nearly idle for a year.

Jones also pointed to the overhaul of Abbey Road in Thibodaux, where over $100,000 has been spent for patch work.

“Then, the administration completes or nearly completes the Parr Larose Pump Station, but they find out it was short by 72 inches.”

This is a great example of people who feel they know everything, who don’t ask anyone for input, Jones said.

“I don’t see this being a good year at all, especially after dealing with amount of personnel turnover and personnel shifts we have had. This parish president is not a leader.”

Cantrelle, in reply to the personal attacks, said, “People hate, they hate all the time. I don’t like what they say, but I respect them. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.”

The parish president said his staff has been outdone in grappling with things that have been neglected for many years.

“Good planning gets things done, but there hasn’t been much of that,” Cantrelle said.

“We’re doing the best we can, after lots of cutting and sacrificing. And frankly, I don’t see things getting much better because of this oil economy. It has caused such a tragic ripple effect.”

For instance, he said the parish royalty tax revenue is down from $6.5 million to $1.5 million. The vessel tax revenue has dwindled as well.

“We’ll be okay in 2018, but the belt will remain tight. We’re not going to loosen it.”

Cantrelle said drainage will be his number one priority, especially fixing the issues with the Parr Larose Pump Station. He also expects to finish the Cyipn Pump Station by the beginning of hurricane season.

“Our employees will continue their great service to the people of Lafourche Parish, the best people in the world,” he said.

Jimmy Cantrelle