Parishes take different views of campaign signs

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If you’re driving around the bayou region, you may find a subtle but noticeable difference between our two parishes in the form of the removal of campaign signs.


In Lafourche, some signs from elections which were decided in the Nov. 4 go-round may still be visible to the naked eye.

While in Terrebonne, those signs have been removed and are nowhere to be seen.

That’s because of a difference of opinion between each parish council.


According to Terrebonne Parish’s code of ordinances, candidates for public office may put up campaign signs 90 days prior to qualifying and must remove the signs 10 calendar days after the political contest is decided.

However, Lafourche Parish has taken a different approach. In Lafourche, there are no laws requiring campaign signs to be taken down at all, as long as they do not appear on public servitudes.

“You can’t govern what people will put on their property and what they won’t,” Lafourche Parish councilman L. Phillip Gouaux said in a phone interview with The Times.


Fellow Lafourche parish councilman Joseph Fertitta agrees with Gouaux in that government should not govern what can and cannot be on private property, however he admits he dislikes campaign signs in general.

“It’s a necessary evil, I guess, but I wish we could end them all together,” Fertitta said. “Myself, personally, I try to take them down as soon as I can, sometimes the day after an election, but I wish we could ban them. It’s on private property, and I think it would be just a courtesy to get them off people’s property as soon as you can.”

Over in Terrebonne Parish, Planning and Zoning Department Director Pat Gordon said the delinquent taking down of signs isn’t an issue the parish has to deal with very often, and when it does, it typically just takes one phone call.


“Normally I call up the candidates, and they remove them,” Gordon explained. “We try to call up the individual. [If] they don’t remove them, then we would send them a letter. If they didn’t adhere to that, then we’d send it to city court.”

Because there is no specific penalty for failing to adhere to this ordinance, the penalty for failing to follow it falls within the parish’s “catch-all” penalty for all ordinances once it is turned over to city court.

“It would be handled as a normal misdemeanor violation,” Gordon said.


Punishment for that misdemeanor would be 30 days in jail or a $500 fine or both, according to Gordon.

Of course the likelihood of it ever coming to that is next to impossible, however it’s certainly an interesting differentiation for our area that is so similar in so many ways that one parish has no law against something and the other goes as far, in theory, as to apply jail time for that same thing.