District Attorney’s Office prepares move to Reserve

Published 12:13 am Saturday, February 10, 2018

RESERVE — Employees of the St. John the Baptist Parish District Attorney Office are finally going to be under one roof beginning in mid March with the finalization of the office’s relocation to Reserve.

All services are currently offered at 1710 Cannes Drive off of Belle Terre Boulevard in LaPlace, according to District Attorney Bridget Dinvaut.

Once the move is complete, the District Attorney’s Office will be located at 1342 River Road in Reserve, the site of an office building donated to the Godchaux-Reserve House Historical Society by David Fennelly, director of Turn Services LLC and Associated Terminals LLC.

Only administrative offices have moved to the new location thus far, Dinvaut said.

Once the move is complete, the District Attorney’s Office will be located at 1342 River Road in Reserve.

An open house, planned for April, will give the community insight into the economic and logistic benefits of the relocation.

As it currently stands, the District Attorney Office’s services are divided into three buildings at the same location in LaPlace. Uniting employees within a single building improves functionality and communication, according to Dinvaut.

“This is our first opportunity to have all of the employees under one roof,” Dinvaut said. “We have a team philosophy under my administration, so we have an opportunity for cross training and teambuilding to improve efficiency.”

Initially hesitant to move offices, Dinvaut’s staff was won over by the building’s space and charm and the savings it would offer taxpayers.

The Godchaux-Reserve House Historical Society is allowing the building to be leased at $5,000 a month for the first two years, a significant savings when compared to the $8,000 lease for the current buildings.

Dinvaut said the cost of the move would be absorbed by the $3,000 savings per month.

“The one thing I was extremely clear about with the board members of the Historical Society is that I was not willing to move if it was not cost-saving to the taxpayers,” Dinvaut said.

Security is an added benefit, Dinvaut said, adding the new location will have a state-of-the-art burglar alarm system and surveillance.

Additionally, a partnership with the Leon Godchaux Historical Society is a step toward reinvesting in the community, Dinvaut said.

Godchaux-Reserve House Historical Society President Stephen Guidry said revenue from rent forwards initiatives including historic restoration and the search for a location to start a local museum.

Fennelly’s motivation behind donating the building was to help the Historical Society support these efforts, according to Guidry.

“It’s going to help Reserve and the parish tremendously,” Guidry said. “It’s going to move up the end date of the restoration of the house. Now, we can see the end is much closer than we thought.”

Historical Society board member Julia Remondet said other projects are forthcoming, as old structures are being surveyed in an effort to further promote arts, culture, education and community in Reserve.

“I spoke with one of the Godchaux descendants, and he was so excited because he remembers Reserve as a very vibrant town,” Remondet said. “This is the regeneration of that feeling. It’s putting us back on the map.”

For more information of the Historical Society, including upcoming fundraisers, call 504-415-5379 or visit godchauxhouse.com.

Dinvaut said the new location is central to St. John Parish, and she would like to see the reimplementation of the ferry to connect the East and West banks.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Dinvaut said. “We’re working on it.”