St. James races include many on school board

Published 11:45 pm Friday, September 5, 2014

By Stephen Hemelt

CONVENT — The face of St. James Parish’s elected leadership could have a significantly different look next year as dozens of candidates are vying for seats in contested elections parishwide.

This is particularly evident on the St. James Parish School Board, where 17 candidates are seeking election to the seven-member board.

The election season started with a controversy last week, when incumbent District 6 School Board Member Charlie Nailor, who serves as school board president, announced he was not seeking re-election despite an earlier decision to qualify for the race.

Nailor said he felt forced to make the decision to step down by outside parties who questioned his district residency.

“I have been at my domicile at 1511 Magnolia for years,” Nailor said. “Why now after 20 years is there a problem?”

Nailor said he felt Freida Boughton, who is seeking the District 6 school board seat, and her husband, former superintendent John Boughton, were unfairly leading an effort to remove him from office.

“When you have an individual that wants to give you a rough time because you did not talk to them about what coach to pick or what superintendent should be in the system, I think it’s all about power,” Nailor said. “I am not about that, and I will never bow down and let our system go through one individual that wants to control the system.

“The individuals that basically challenged me, and I’m talking about John Boughton, and Mrs. Freida, it’s all about power with him. He does not want to let the system go. If he is going to cause chaos just because you want to have a say in things, I don’t think it is the right thing.”

Freida Boughton said she did not force Nailor from office, adding her family simply asked if Nailor was legally able to run for office based on where he lived.

“Coming from a family of educators, I feel I am familiar enough with the system to know about some of the policies and procedures,” she said. “I’m educated enough to handle the situation and do a good job. I’m not going to run a mud-throwing contest. I’m not that type of person.”

Tyler Jasmin, who also qualified to run in District 6, said he wants to help guide the education of children in the district and felt the office provided the perfect opportunity for growth in the district and for himself.

In other school board races, District 1 school board member Diana Cantillo is facing opposition from Darren Brack and Paul D. Taylor.

In District 2, incumbent Kenneth Foret faces a challenge from Peggy Richard.

The District 3 race features incumbent Carol Lambert and challenger Sue Bienvenu Beier. The District 4 race features incumbent George Nassar Jr., Michael Green and Jared P. Amato.

District 5 School Board Member Patricia Schexnayder faces a challenge from Dianne Spencer.

In District 7, voters will choose between incumbent Ricky Reulet and challengers Carlos R. Charles and Raymond L. Gros Jr.

The 23rd Judicial District includes two races for judge, where O’Neil Parenton and Jason M. Verdigets are running for the spot currently held by Division A Judge Ralph Tureau, who is not seeking re-election. Tess Percy Stromberg and Bruce Unangst II are seeking the spot held by Division C Judge Guy Holdridge, who is not seeking re-election.

The contested Justice of the Peace races include District 1, where Alex Scott and Mary Rodrigue Walker are seeking office; District 3, where Christina Gary and Stephen Louque are seeking office; and District 7, where Marie Lewis and Sharon A. Steib are seeking office.

The contested Constable elections include District 1, where Alex Gerhold IV and Kerry Walker are seeking office; District 2, where Mike Gordon and Arthur M. Harper are seeking office; District 3, where Perry Gaudin, Steven LeMoine and Marty Louque are seeking office; and District 6, where Ronald Boudreaux and Vanessa James are vying for voters’ choice.

In municipal elections, Steven Bourgeois, Jeanne L. Louque and Steve Nosacka are seeking the open mayor’s office in Gramercy, while David E. Detillier is challenging current Chief Brent Dicharry for Gramercy Chief of Police.

Craig B. Calcagno, Rubenstein Mitchell Clark and Clyde Wiggins are seeking the open two seats for Gramercy Aldermen at Large. The race for District 2 Alderman includes Jody M. Bourgeois and Shelly M. Warren.

In Lutcher, Police Chief Dwan Bowser faces a challenge from Iana Gaines Joseph, while Alderman at Large Darlene Riley faces a challenge from Tee Williams.