Voters make changes on St. James Parish School Board

Published 12:15 am Wednesday, November 5, 2014

By Stephen Hemelt

CONVENT — The face of the St. James Parish School Board will have a significantly different look next year as many incumbent candidates are not returning to their seats.

The election season started with controversy in the early fall, 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.

That left Freida Boughton and Tyler Jasmin as the choices for voters. According to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office, Jasmin won the election with 756 votes, compared to Boughton’s 676 votes.

In other school board races, a runoff will be needed for the District 1 seat, where Diana Cantillo earned 464 votes (37.75 percent), compared to Paul D. Taylor (383 votes, 31.16 percent) and Darren Brack (382 votes, 31.08 percent).

In District 2, incumbent Kenneth Foret faced a challenge from Peggy Richard, winning the election with 922 votes or 60.10 percent compared to Richard’s 612 votes (39.90 percent).

The District 3 race that featured incumbent Carol Lambert and challenger Sue Bienvenu Beier saw Beier secure the win with 961 votes (59.88 percent) compared to Lambert’s 644 votes.

The District 4 race saw incumbent George Nassar Jr. earn the victory with 748 votes (63.82 percent), compared to Michael Green (185 votes) and Jared P. Amato (239 votes).

District 5 School Board Member Patricia Schexnayder lost a challenge from Dianne Spencer, who collected 716 votes (51.22 percent) compared to Schexnayder’s 682 votes (48.78 percent).

In District 7, voters did not choose incumbent Ricky Reulet, who finished with 442 votes (30.59 percent) compared to winning challenger Raymond L. Gros Jr., who secured 959 votes (66.37 percent). Carlos R. Charles finished a distant third with 44 votes or just more than three percent of the turnout.

The 23rd Judicial District included two races for judge, where O’Neil Parenton defeated Jason M. Verdigets. They were running for the spot held by Division A Judge Ralph Tureau, who did not seek re-election.

Parenton finished with 3,921 votes, compared to Verdigets’ 2,221 votes.

Tess Percy Stromberg defeated Bruce Unangst II for the judge’s spot held by Division C Judge Guy Holdridge, who did not seek re-election.

Stromberg finished with 3,920 votes, compared to Unangst’s 1,596 votes.

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

The contested Constable elections included District 1, where a mere eight votes — according to initial numbers — gave Kerry Walker (564 votes) a win over Alex Gerhold IV (556 votes); District 2, where Arthur M. Harper topped Mike Gordon; District 3, where Steven LeMoine gained more than 50 percent of the vote compared to Perry Gaudin and Marty Louque; and District 6, where Vanessa James topped Ronald Boudreaux.

In municipal elections, Steve Nosacka won the open mayor’s office in Gramercy in convincing fashion with 902 votes (65.41 percent) compared to Jeanne L. Louque (313 votes, 22.70 percent) and Steven Bourgeois (164 votes, 11.89 percent).

Current Gramercy Chief of Police Brent Dicharry defeated a challenge from David E. Detillier by securing 1,170 votes (87.64 percent) compared to Detillier’s 165 votes.

Craig B. Calcagno and Clyde Wiggins captured the open two seats for Gramercy Aldermen at Large, besting a third person challenge from Rubenstein Mitchell Clark. The race for District 2 Alderman in Gramercy saw Jody M. Bourgeois (355 votes, 77.34 percent) defeat Shelly M. Warren.

In Lutcher, Police Chief Dwan Bowser (82.67 percent, 1,345 votes) won a challenge over Iana Gaines Joseph (282 votes), while Alderman at Large Darlene Riley (64.1 percent, 1,023 votes) won a challenge from Tee Williams (573 votes).