Lutcher getting new water tower for more storage

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 13, 1998

Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / July 13, 1998

LUTCHER – The Lutcher Board of Aldermen approved construction of a new 150,000-gallon water tower, aiming toward increased storage capacity and fire protection, town officials said.

Four bids were opened for the project June 29. Mayor Elmore Trosclairsaid at Tuesday’s meeting the tank could be expanded to 200,000 gallons with the additional spending of $19,000, on top of the $308,000 bid by Phoenix Fabricators of Ennis, Texas.

Trosclair said the water plant would not have to be manned all night, in case of toxic spills in the Mississippi River, as more stored water could take care of the town’s needs.

Alderman Patrick St. Pierre, who serves as water commissioner, agreedand moved for approval, seconded by Troas Poche.

Involved in the discussion was the use of surplus Louisiana Community Development Block Grant money for the water tower project, totaling $32,000, which could then be applied to the overlay of Louisiana Highway 641 (Main Street) through downtown Lutcher.

“Everybody says the road is terrible,” Trosclair said.

Alderman Floyd Marshall exclaimed that North Courseault Street first had to be extended to Louisiana Highway 3125, on the north side of town.

“These people are bottled up and can’t get out!” Marshall declared.

The board then, after some discussion, agreed to use the annual $50,000 received from St. James Parish for municipal capital improvementstoward the extension of North Courseault.

During the discussion, Poche asked Trosclair why he failed to sign and send a letter to the state legislative delegation regarding the planned utilities relocation along Main Street.

Trosclair replied he never received the letter and asked parish engineer Glenn Shaheen why the letter had not yet reached him after three weeks of asking for it.

“I’m tired of it!” burst Trosclair, slamming his fist on the podium.

In another matter, a public hearing will be held Aug. 4 at 6:30 p.m.regarding a proposed change in the town zoning ordinance affecting the placement of house trailers.

At the board’s July 26 special meeting, a matter was reviewed where a house trailer was permitted to be placed on a lot where another trailer was already located, in violation of the town ordinances.

During that meeting, town attorney Wilbur Reynaud pointed out the town’s enforcement of the ordinance had been lax due to misinterpretation of the ordinance.

Trosclair said Tuesday most of the residential area of the town is presently zoned R-2, which permits trailers. He added the town should beencouraging house construction and regulate trailers to particular areas of town.

At the end of Tuesday’s meeting, Pete Roussel and Roy Carubba, who neighbor the lot in question, rose to challenge comments made by Alderman Danny Manuel.

At the June 29 meeting, Manuel declared, “This is more racist than anything else,” as the applicant is black but the protesting neighbors are white.

Roussel declared he is not a racist and pointed out his years of activities with the St. Vincent de Paul Society. “How could he say that when heknows what we do?” Roussel asked. “What more can a man do to provehimself?” Likewise, Dr. Roy Carubba reminded the board of his present presidency ofthe local AARP chapter and added, “My wife is outraged at being called racist!” Both Carubba and his wife were long-time teachers in the St. JamesParish School System, teaching black children through the integration years of the 1960s.

“I challenge anybody to find a black student who can say I didn’t have their best interests at heart,” he said. “We had no problem with people. We hada problem with a trailer.”Manuel was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

In other activity, Aaron Gordon, of the local Save the Children Foundation, announced a Teen Summit event scheduled Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 10p.m. at Lutcher Junior High School.The non-profit organization plans a day of events for children ages 7 to 17.

During aldermen’s reports, Marshall called upon the city administration to issue salt tablets for employees to help beat the heat, as the heat index topped 115 degrees on Tuesday.

St. Pierre suggested the town of Lutcher lease space on its water tower tocellular phone companies, and added the town could realize as much as $1,400 per month in revenues.

Chief of Police Denny Vicknair reported the arrests of seven juveniles in recent days to put down a rash of residential burglaries, aided by the St.

James Parish Sheriff’s Office. An additional four to six arrests mayfollow.

“You don’t have a large police department, but you do a wonderful job,” Trosclair commented.

Vicknair added $1,450 has been raised toward the purchase of bulletproof vests for officers and four were ordered and will be in next week. He saidanother $800 is needed for two more vests.

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