African-American friends come to Roberts’ defense

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 15, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / July 15, 2000

LAPLACE – Friends of Jay Roberts rallied to his support Wednesdsay in response to allegations that he made a racial slur about South Louisiana Port Commission President Louis Joseph.

Wednesday’s commission meeting was mostly completed when Roberts asked the panel to allow audience members to speak. With that, the Rev.D.B. Mollaire, the Rev. Henry LeBoyd and St. Charles Housing Authorityboard member Norman Singleton, all African-Americans, took turns at the microphone to vouch for Roberts.

On June 20 Joseph accused Roberts of making a racial remark about him and claimed that Roberts referred to Joseph as “that nigger who thinks he’s speaking for the port.”Mollaire, who pastors Good Hope Baptist Church in Norco and Mt. ZionBaptist Church in Ama, commented, “African-Americans know him as a friend to us and to our communities. We’ve never heard that come out ofhis mouth.”Mollaire told Joseph it was “very and highly unfair to do that to him.”Joseph responded that he “did what I had to do.”Singleton added he was “very upset, too,” and continued he was “here to give support.”LeBoyd chimed in briefly with his own remarks of support for Roberts.

Another African-American minister, the Rev. Henry Wolfe, also attendedbut did not address the meeting.

At the end of the comments Roberts thanked them for their “unsolicited support,” and made no further comment on the matter.

Roberts and Joseph are both appointees of Gov. Foster to the commission,Roberts representing St. Charles Parish and Joseph representing St. Johnthe Baptist Parish.

Return To News Stories