A night mingling with the stars…River Parishes style

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 11, 2008

Kevin Chiri

The stars were out on Tuesday night at Bull’s Corner.

OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I’m sure the folks who attended the Meet and Greet with U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu like the way that sounds.

Landrieu made a visit to town for what appeared to be various reasons. Quite honestly I’m not exactly sure what the top priority was, but Landrieu’s folks made sure to accomplish a number of goals with the stop in LaPlace.

The senator had a meeting with all three parish presidents who will take over within the week in the River Region. Only St. James Parish President Dale Hymel is returning to office, while two new faces will be heading the government in St. Charles and St. John.

Here in our home parish of St. John, Bill Hubbard will be inaugurated as the new parish president on Monday in what promises to bring an interesting new chapter in government for our home town. Then in St. Charles Parish, V.J St. Pierre is a new face to the parish president’s seat there, bringing somewhat of a business approach to government as Hubbard has promised.

So you can imagine, with a high ranking national congresswoman such as Landrieu in town, there was a room full of many of the top political leaders, as well as a multitude of business people from the River Region at the Tuesday event.

Had a nice chat with Randal Gaines, the St. James attorney who ran for election this past October in the House of Representatives race won by current, and quickly outgoing, St. John Parish President Nickie Monica.

I have to say that I liked Gaines from the first time I met him. He has a military background and struck me as an honest guy who really would have made a great representative, even though most of us figured Nickie was the heavy favorite to win. Gaines finished a very close third in the primary to Geri Baloney, just missing the runoff against Monica.

If you want to get an idea of the work ethic Randal Gaines has, I got that from talking with his son at the meeting. He was home from college during the winter break, and let me know that dad had him working during the day for him.

I asked him what happened to the lazy break most college students were looking for during their five week layoff from classes, and his son just laughed about it all, making it clear that his dad was keeping him busy. I’ve got my money on the kid turning out just fine one day.

I asked Randal if he planned to run for anything in the near future, especially since he was hardly a guy who had been known for seeking political office in the past. But he made it clear the prospects for that were really up in the air.

With a good practice as a lawyer, and a wife who is a doctor, it’s obvious Mr. Gaines was truly looking at the opportunity to serve our area and hopefully do some good. It wasn’t just about winning an election for him.

So good luck Mr. Gaines in the future, my bet is things will go just fine for you in whatever you decide to do.

Congratulations to Natalie Robottom, who confirmed to me that night that she has accepted the position as Parish Manager for Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet.

Did anyone think Natalie was going to have any trouble landing on her feet, even though losing the parish president’s runoff election to Hubbard by less than 200 votes?

Surely not me.

Whether you were a staunch supporter of Natalie, or pulling for someone else in the parish president’s race, there was never any argument about the talent and intelligence of this woman.

Natalie probably got more publicity in the St. John administration than anyone else, since she served as the spokesperson for Nickie Monica, and was usually the person we went to for comments on key issues.

So even before the final votes were tallied, knowing that she would be looking for a job should Bill Hubbard win, I knew that plenty of good job offers would be ready for Natalie if she lost. And obviously that was what happened.

Natalie told me that the nice thing about the new job is that she didn’t even have to pick up a phone to try and find it. They came looking for her due to her reputation.

None of this all surprises me since Natalie is a very talented woman who would be an asset to any administration. I’m not sure if she was sure she wanted to stay in the political spotlight, but apparently she doesn’t mind it too bad since she will be there again, only working a little further south than she had been.

Congratulations again Natalie. Happy to see how well things have worked out for you, even though I can’t say I’m surprised.

I ran one item last week about the need for some Mardi Gras beads at one upcoming event, and wouldn’t you know it, I need to practically repeat the same story this week, except with a different name.

Dr. Bob Dale from River Parishes Chiropractic said that the LaPlace Lions Club, of which he is of course a member, will be sponsoring the Krewe du Monde Mardi Grade parade again this year, and needs beads for the crippled children to throw from their float.

The parade is the one, big Laplace parade, which had a record number of floats last year and may be even bigger this year. But the float for the crippled children, sponsored by the Lions Club, is an important one which we want to be well stocked with beads for those kids to throw.

If you have some beads to donate, you can drop them off to Bull’s Corner Restaurant for David, or to Dr. Bob at River Parishes Chiropractic. Both spots are almost next to each other on Airline Highway.

If you need any more information, call Dr. Bob at 652-7904.

Kevin Chiri is Publisher of L’Observateur and can be reached at (985) 652-9545 or at kchiri@bellsouth.net