New veterans clinic set in Reserve

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 20, 2006


Managing Editor

EDGARD — Where once hundreds of empty acres surrounded the St. John Airport on Airline Highway in Reserve is filling up fast. St. John the Baptist is already seeing a new driver’s license office and the new War Veterans Home expected to be complete this summer.

On Tuesday, Parish President Nickie Monica pushed through a five-acre donation at the St. John Parish Council meeting, to the Louisiana Department for Veterans Affairs for a veterans medical clinic, to be located immediately east of the driver’s license office, along with an access road from Regala Street.

It is expected to be completed late this summer or early fall, after which the two temporary clinics, located at 501 Rue de Sante and at 205 W. Fifth St., will close.

Those clinics had been seeing a bumper crop of business from veterans, both local and displaced, in the months after Katrina. During the first two months, up to 175 per day had been seen, and even at present, 50-75 cars are in the parking lots daily, Monica commented after the meeting.

&#8220What I’m most proud of is St. John’s commitment to the veterans,” Monica said.

Also, Monica got unanimous approval for a 99-year lease at $1 a year for a 15-acre site for the new Louisiana National Guard Readiness Center, to be located west of the Veterans Home.

Col. Douglas Mouton, in accepting the lease agreement, pledged &#8220to be a very good neighbor.” Mouton is the construction facilities manager for the Guard. The facility, as reported in L’Observateur’s Feb. 4 issue, will be a $16 million construction project of a 40,000-square foot facility, aimed at providing a permanent readiness center for southeast Louisiana.

An additional $50,000 worth of fill is also to be donated for the construction of the Guard facility, expected to take 12-18 months to build.

The Readiness Center will host the 1084th Transportation Company’s 176 personnel, as well as their fleet of tanks, bulldozers and other heavy equipment.

The site is large enough for additional facility growth.