Inmates in work program giving theatre a facelift

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 21, 1998

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / February 21, 1998

RESERVE – The St. John Theatre is getting a bit of a face-lift thanks to theInmate Work Program of Sheriff Wayne L. Jones and building materialsfrom St. John Parish President Arnold Labat.The program, which has gone into the community on construction projects including the Edgard Senior Center and the old jail in LaPlace, turned its attention to the theatre in mid-January at the request of director Jack Snowdy.

“We have received directives from the state to make our restrooms accessible to the handicapped in wheelchairs,” Snowdy said. “We inquiredof Sheriff Jones if he would be interested in assigning some trustys to this project.”Snowdy said he received immediate cooperation, and the men’s restroom has been stripped out, cleaned up and improved. The walls were stripped,sanded, sealed and re-papered. Entry doors were widened from 24 inchesto 36 inches. Tiling is planned in the restroom foyer and accent painting isalso planned.

Work was temporarily halted while “The Odd Couple” was on stage, but work has resumed on widening the doorways and stalls, re-papering the walls and making other structural improvements.

LaNard Robinet, who supervises the program for Jones, was on hand at the job site every day. “I think they’re doing a great job,” he said.Snowdy, who visits the work in progress almost on a daily basis, agreed.

“They’re doing a very good job.”Other projects are planned at the parish-owned theatre, including similar corrections to the ladies’ restroom suite, repairs to crumbling sills on the west side and pouring concrete for a new smokers’ patio. “We have severaljobs here,” Snowdy said. “We started with the easiest.””It was a gloomy, dark environment when we came first came in 1981,” Snowdy observed. “We’re only too glad to have this help.”He continued, “The building is a public building belonging to all citizens of this parish. Our members of the board rent the facility and take good careof it. We pay our day-to-day expenses from generated income.”As to the inmate labor, Snowdy said, “We have found these workers to be talented workers and can offer their skills to the community in such projects.””Next on the agenda,” Robinet commented, “will be adding heating and air- conditioning to a kennel building at the parish’s animal control shelter in LaPlace. At present, the building is virtually open to the elements.”

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