Cannon keeps St. John Parish government flowing

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 30, 2000

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / September 30, 2000

You know the old maxim: behind every great man stands a great woman.

Well, for the men who run St. John the Baptist Parish, that woman has beenadministrative assistant Joy Cannon.

“She’s the one who keeps things going,” said Parish President, and Cannon’s boss, Nickie Monica. “With her personality, confidentiality and knowledge ofgovernment, Joy is a joy to work with.”In October Cannon will have worked in parish government for 25 years. Shestarted out working as a clerk in the assessor’s office back when the parish was still governed by the police jury system.

She was married and had three daughters, but she decided to go to work because, “I just didn’t want to be a housewife anymore.”Originally from the town of Lucy on the west bank, Cannon moved on up the ladder and became the administrative assistant to then-parish president Lester Millet. After that she was the assistant to chief administrativeofficer Pat McTopy during Arnold Labat’s administration, and now she works for Monica.

Cannon said, “When Nickie asked me to be his administrative assistant, I was very honored.”In her position, Joy has just about seen it all in parish politics and government, and it does have its benefits.

“I’ve really enjoyed being a public servant. It has been a very interestingcareer,” Cannon said. “I’ve made friends from here to the governor’s office.I’ve made a lot of contacts.”Cannon said ti was a very interesting time when the parish went through the switch from police jury to council government.

“At first I wasn’t too sure that it was going to work,” admitted Cannon. “Butnow I think the council is a better form of government.”Being an administrative assistant to a parish president can be a very hectic assignment. It’s not just answering phones and taking memos. Cannon has tokeep Monica’s day running smoothly and efficiently, juggling appointments, interviews and the myriad other duties of a parish president. She also has tobe discrete and discriminating, knowing who to let into the inner sanctum of Monica’s office and who to politely turn away.

Through it all, Cannon always remains cheerful and polite.

“I don’t let anything get me down on this job,” said Cannon.

In fact, she finds it difficult to find a hard part of her job.

“Coming in contact with ‘difficult’ people is the only hard part I can think of,” said Cannon with her usual tact.

Monica said her diplomacy and attitude are remembered by everybody.

“I get calls from people all the time telling how nice Joy is and how well she treated people,” said Monica.

Cannon said she got her education from direct on-the-job training with a few courses thrown in here and there.

“I’ve gotten along with all the administrations and the councils,” said Cannon.

“I’ve never encountered any problems.”She said she learned a lot about government working with McTopy, and Millet was really good to her. According to Cannon, Monica is great to work forbecause “he is an extremely nice man.”When Cannon isn’t helping to run the parish she likes to go to movies, read, socialize, play with her grandson and travel. In fact, in a couple of weeks sheis going on a cruise for her vacation.

For the future, Cannon said she will stay on the job for the remainder of this four-year term and one more four-year span before retiring.

“Then I’m going to enjoy myself, doing the things I couldn’t do when I was raising my kids,” Cannon said. “I’m going to take a lot more cruises.”She said her career in parish government has been a real blessing for her.

“It helped me put my three daughters through college,” said Cannon. “When Ifirst started, I enjoyed it, but now I can truly say I love my job.”

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