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St. James area code changing Monday

STACEY PLAISANCE / L’Observateur / August 17, 1998

CONVENT – The new 225 area code takes effect in the Baton Rouge area Monday, and telephone customers in the River Parishes are being urged to make necessary adjustments.

“The community needs to be prepared for the change, particularly the business community,” explained St. James Parish President Dale Hymel,whose parish is among those changing. “We don’t want them to have tothrow out business supplies like business cards because it listed the wrong phone number. We want them to be prepared.”Although customers will be able to use either the old 504 area code or the new 225 area code and still reach their connection until April 5, 1999, River Parishes residents are urged to begin using the 225 area code immediately.

“This phase-in period will give people the chance to change their business cards, reprogram fax machines and other business equipment, and it will also allow time for people to report any problems,” Hymel said.

Along with most of St. James Parish, the new 225 area code will affectPoint Coupee, West Feliciana, East Feliciana, Ascension, Iberville, West Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge and most of St. Helena and Livingstonparishes. Small portions of Tangipahoa, Assumption and St. John theBaptist parishes are also included.

That portion of St. John is an unpopulated area near Vacherie, according toMary Ann Francois of BellSouth.

Francois said it is important for telephone customers to begin utilizing the new 225 area code immediately upon its initiation.

“It does take some time to adjust to a new area code, and if customers begin using 225 now, it’ll be second nature when the use of the new area code becomes mandatory,” she said.

Area codes 504 and 318 were introduced in Louisiana in 1957, and this is the first area code split since that time. Francois said there has been highdemand for new numbers for fax machines, modems, cellular/PCS telephones, pagers and local exchange carriers needing telephone exchanges.

Hymel said the new area code should provide for better quality telephone service for his parish.

“I’m glad that South Central Bell did this, and I’m confident that it was needed,” Hymel said. “It’s going to be refreshing. We’ll have more lines andthe quality of service should be enhanced because the system won’t be as drained as it is with just the 504 area code for this area.”Francois said the change in area codes will provide the Baton Rouge area with enough telephone exchanges to last “well beyond” the year 2000.

She added that customers in the River Parishes with circle dialing won’t see an increase in their telephone bills. Customers should dial the newarea code, but the circle dialing service remains in effect.

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