Help those who keep you in the pink get tickled pink

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 4, 2008

By Kevin Chiri

I’m sure many of you already have some plans for today, but I hope that includes a visit to St. James Parish where you can get a first-hand look at the newest health care facility the region has to offer.

St. James Hospital will be holding an Open House for their sparkling new hospital, and it is open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. today.

The hospital is located at 1645 Lutcher Avenue and there will be facility tours, refreshments and entertainment.

The hospital actually opens for services to the public on April 15, but just for today, you can get a look at the beautiful, new facility that the folks at St. James Hospital are tickled pink about.

The original St. James Hospital was actually built in 1955, over 50 years ago, so you can imagine how excited that community must be to get a new health care facility.

Make sure and go by to give the place a look, and congratulate CEO Mary Ellen Pratt and all the crew there for the great job in completing it.

Even though our newest Louisiana state representative from this area, Nickie Monica, is up to his elbows in a busy agenda from the state directed by new Governor Bobby Jindal, I see that Nickie is still trying to pop up at key events in this area.

Nickie made an appearance at last Friday’s annual Wayne Jones golf tournament, and the only thing I have to say is that the old saying of “real men wear pink” must be true.

Nickie had on a pink shirt….and so did I.

One thing you discover from covering something like Wayne’s golf tournament is that you are reminded how normal our police officers are.

I mean, sure you know they are normal people, but when you always see an officer in uniform, you get a mental picture of them always being that way.

Seeing some of my buddies from the St. John Sheriff’s Office force in regular clothes is a bit startling in some cases. And I’m not about to name any names, but let’s just say a few of them were hardly recognizable in their shorts.

Hadn’t seen my old buddy Conley Dutreix in a while. Conley is still employed by First American Bank, but he sure has slipped off the public scene since stepping back from all his former leadership roles with the River Region Chamber of Commerce.

But there my old friend was at Wayne’s tournament, not only making an appearance, but actually looking pretty sharp in his golf shirt, ready for a round of 18 holes.

Conley was one of the founders of the Chamber’s beginnings here and hopefully folks will always remember the amazing amount of work he did to get this organization off and running.

Today the Chamber is an outstanding local group that does much to help the business community, and it is especially great to have our own “River Region” group, as opposed to what used to be the businesses here being a part of the New Orleans Chamber. Clearly the River Parishes wasn’t getting a lot of attention when that was the case.

Conley was one of, if not actually THE man, who helped bring about the River Region Chamber of Commerce and I’m sure folks here will always appreciate that.

There will be a blood drive tomorrow, Sunday, April 6, in the name of Kassidy Terrio, with the drive being held and sponsored at St. Joan Arc Catholic Church on West Fifth Street in LaPlace.

The drive will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Kassidy is the little 8-year-old who has been fighting a difficult form of cancer, and she has been dealing with it since she was 6, so I hope you will take the time and effort to donate to this much-needed blood drive.

Kassidy is doing much better lately, thanks to all the support from family and friends.

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