Roussel takes reins in St. James

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 11, 2012

By David Vitrano


LUTCHER – Timmy Roussel officially took the reins in St. James Parish Monday at a ceremony held at First Community Antioch Baptist Church in Lutcher.

Along with Roussel, all seven council members, including newcomers Terry McCreary and Alvin St. Pierre, took the oath of office administered by Louisiana Supreme Court Associate Justice John Weimer.

Before giving the oath, Weimer gave a short speech to the new officials.

“I thank you all for the sacrifices you will be called on to make,” he said.

In his introduction of the special guest, St. James Parish resident Judge Jude Gravois implored the officials to often think back on the oath they took Monday.

“I think this is a very bright day in the history of St. James Parish,” said Gravois.

The ceremony was preceded by a service at the church. The church’s pastor, the Rev. Ferdinand Gaines Jr. set the tone for the service with the first reading, which began, “Let every soul be subject to the higher power.”

Following the ceremony and a reception, the parish council held its first meeting of the new year, a mostly organizational meeting during which leaders were chosen and appointments were made.

Sheriff Willy Martin, standing in for Clerk of Court Edmond Kinler, began the proceedings. By way of introduction, Martin explained the clerk of court usually begins such meetings as there is no official chairman chosen to lead the council yet.

Nominated by last year’s chairman, Ralph Patin, Jimmy Brazan was unanimously chosen to lead the council in 2012.

“I want to thank all my fellow councilmen for having the confidence to vote for me,” said Brazan. “It means a lot to get voted council chairman. I do not take it lightly.”

The council also unanimously supported nominations of Charles Ketchins for vice chairman and Angele Rodrigue for secretary. The council also reapproved the existing rules governing conduct and procedure at council meetings. In 2012 the council will continue to meet on the first Wednesday of each month in Convent and the third Wednesday of each month in Vacherie.

In his first official acts as parish president, Timmy Roussel chose to mostly keep Dale Hymel’s team of directors in place. Jody Cenier, Chantal Waguespack and Eric DeRoche will all keep their positions as directors of Operations, Finance and Emergency Preparedness, respectively. The only change came in the position of Director of Human Resources, which Roussel himself will fill on a temporary basis until a suitable candidate can be confirmed. Roussel said he hopes to have the situation worked out by Feb. 1.

During the comments portion of the meeting, Roussel said a few words on his new role as parish president.

“Today, we embark on a new chapter for the residents of St. James Parish,” he said. “The parish council with my administration will steer the parish in the right direction. We will continue to forge ahead with humility and compassion.”