St. John Parish town hall targets solutions

Published 12:05 am Saturday, February 20, 2016

LAPLACE — Rising Star Baptist Church in LaPlace has been hosting town hall meetings for approximately six years, but the Rev. Donald R. August Sr. said this month’s event has extra meaning because it’s the first one after last year’s parishwide elections.

The town hall meeting begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at Rising Star Baptist Church located at 620 Cardinal Street LaPlace and is free and open to the public.

“We try to hold these meetings quarterly or every six months,” August said. “We hold them to keep an open line of communication between the community and our parish officials. (Parish officials) get a chance to address the gathering on issues that concern the parish as a whole. The parish president will generally talk about things that are coming up in the near future that the residents need to be aware of. The sheriff will share some of his statistics that his office has to present.”

Other invited officials are the District Attorney, members of the Parish Council, judges and School Board representatives.

“We get a decent turnout from the community, it’s a respectable number that come out,” August said.

“I’m glad we have a wide rage of attendees. We have people not just from Rising Star Baptist Church but also people from other parts of the community and other areas of the parish.”

August said attendees come to hear what the officials have to say and, if there is a specific concern, bring it to the group’s attention.

“Generally we try to keep it as positive as possible,” he said, adding the purpose is to find solutions and not just talk about problems. “We want to encourage as many people as possible to come. All of the newly elected officials will be there, hopefully, and new representatives from the Council districts.”

August said a number of the invited officials have already confirmed they will be attending, adding he hopes the newly elected Assessor and Council representative for his district will be there.

“(The meeting) is a great time for residents to voice their concerns and find out, specifically, who is responsible for any issues, challenges or concerns someone may have,” August said.

“We’ve always tried to be proactive in our approach. If we can work together with our leaders then we can address a lot of concerns before they really become major problems.”

August said Parish President Natalie Robottom, Sheriff Mike Tregre, District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut and School Board Member Russ Wise will attend the town hall meeting. According to August, he is waiting for Judges Madeline Jasmine, Mary Hotard Becnel and Sterling Snowdy to confirm.