Familiar face fills vacant St. Charles Council seat

Published 3:53 pm Tuesday, December 3, 2013

By David Vitrano

HAHNVILLE – Mary Tastet, the wife of former St. Charles Parish District 2 Councilman Shelley Tastet, returned to the Parish Council Monday evening as the interim member taking the Division B At-Large seat vacated by Clayton “Snookie” Faucheux earlier this year.
Mary Tastet first served on the council starting in January of this year after her husband resigned from the Council citing medical reasons. That seat was permanently filled by Billy Woodruff after an April election.
“I’ve always been interested in the Council,” said Tastet. “I enjoyed it the last time.”
Despite her interest, however, Tastet’s days on the Council are already numbered as she has said she will not run for the seat when the parish holds a special election to fill the position, likely in April 2014.
Tastet, a resident of Luling, has served as a school nurse for the St. Charles Parish school system for several years.
Julia Fisher-Perrier nominated Tastet for the position, and the appointment was confirmed by a vote of 7-1, with Division A At-Large Councilwoman Caroline Schexnayder casting the sole dissenting vote.
At its Monday meeting, the Parish Council also chose its own leadership for 2014. The Council chose Fisher-Perrier as its next chair and Terrell D. Wilson as its next vice chair.
In other business, the St. Charles Parish Council approved a zoning change for a parcel of land along River Road in Destrehan to accommodate new construction at Bunge North America. The lots between Modoc and Jonathan streets were previously designated residential, but the Council approved a change to commercial, albeit after a somewhat lengthy debate on the matter.
The Planning and Zoning Board had recommended denial of the change because those lots were intended to remain vacant as a kind of buffer zone in the original plan.
Schexnayder spoke out most adamantly against the change.
“I cannot support this because you would be stepping outside of your boundaries,” she said. “These people have been through enough.”
The fact that the new construction would be more administrative than industrial in nature must have convinced other Council members otherwise, however, as when the votes were tallied only Schexnayder and Woodruffs voted against it.
Also Monday, the Council made three proclamations concerning holiday activities. The annual Christmas tree lighting and caroling will take place Thursday, Dec. 5, at 6 p.m. at West Bank Bridge Park. Also, Dec. 8-14 was proclaimed Toy and Gift Fund Week, and Dec. 11 was proclaimed German Coast Farmers’ and Holiday Market Day.
The St. Charles Parish Council is scheduled to meet again Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. at the St. Charles Parish Courthouse in Hahnville.