Street named for LaPlace teenager

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 25, 2008

LAPLACE – On a bright Saturday Morning, family members and St. John Parish Officials gathered at intersection of Convention Center Blvd and Hwy. 51 in LaPlace to commemorate and rename Convention Center Blvd. to the Stephanie ‘Nikki’ Wilking Drive.  The dedication was attended by the family members of the young community leader, members of the St. John Sheriff’s Office, Councilman at Large Steve Lee, Buddy Boe, and Sherry Hubbard.  Nikki’s brother, Kyle, and sister, Ashley had the honor of removing the covering to unveil the sign that bore t heir late sister’s name.

President Bill Hubbard along with the members of the council honored Stephanie “Nikki” Wilking at a council meeting in February.  Nikki died at the age of 17 of Bacterial  Meningitis; however, before the illness took her Nikki was the founder of ‘Kids for Kops’ a local group of young people dedicated to raise money to provide bullet proof vests for the St. John Police Officers. The catalyst for Kids for Kops was the death of St. John Deputy Barton Granier; a deputy shot while on duty without a bullet proof vest.

Hubbard said, “Stephanie ‘Nikki’ Wilking was an outstanding young lady who deeply cared about family, friends, and her community.”

To memorialize her, St. John Parish dedicated the newly built park on Greenwood Drive as the Stephanie “Nikki” Wilking Park; in addition, the roadway that runs through the library and community center complex on Highway 51 was named the “Stephanie ‘Nikki’ Wilking” Drive. This roadway was originally named Convention Center Blvd.

Councilman – at- Large Div B Steve Lee had this to say, “Honoring such a special young lady and dedicated community activist in this way is definitely why we are here. Without people like Nikki the world would be a much different place. The impact she made to the deputies of St. John will never be forgotten and I know I speak for the Sheriff when I tell her family ‘Thank You’ for helping Nikki in all that she dedicated her life to.”

In 1997, Nikki was named the Outstanding Citizen of the Year for the LaPlace Rotary and President Bill Clinton officially endorsed Kids for Kops.