McComack: Leadership River Region efforts get started in St. John

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Special thanks to St. John the Baptist Parish Government for graciously sponsoring our first Leadership River Region official session.

Our site host was the St. John the Baptist Community Center, located at 2900 U.S. 51 in LaPlace. Shout outs to Jo Banner (New Orleans Plantation Country and Class of 2018 Alum) and Jerry Jones (former Director of Economic Development, St. John the Baptist Parish) for getting the group excited for the day.

The topic of the first session was the Regional Overview (a snapshot of how things work from a high level view in each parish).

This year we did a little something different by requesting the RRCC Board Members to throw their names in the hat to do what we like to call, “Leadership Minute.”

John Little, our fearless Chair-Elect for the RRCC Board, did an outstanding job during his 45-minute talk. One participant commented to facilitator(s) that, “If he (John) was a professor lecturing at a university I would sign up for his class.” Another shared at the end of the day, “I can never stay awake if sitting and from the beginning to the end of the day, the speakers kept me engaged.”

Following behind Mr. Little was our panelist representing the three River Region parishes. Ms. Laverne Toombs – CAO, St. John the Baptist Parish Government; Mrs. Chantal Waguespack – Director of Finance, St. James Parish Government and Class of 2018 Alum; Mr. Dwayne LaGrange – Executive Director of Community Affairs, St. Charles Parish Government and Class of 2018 Alum.

The class peppered the panelists with questions about drainage, road construction and the overall economy of each parish. The panel answered every question with ease and grace. To close out, Ms. Laverne Toombs asked the group to gather for their first group photo.

The total number of participants in the class was 24. The total number of absences for the Regional Overview Session was 2.

The next session is Parish Perspectives Part #1 – Governance hosted by Marathon.

Mrs. Aspen Murphy will be representing the RRCC Board for the Leadership Minute.

Chassity McComack is executive director of the River Region Chamber of Commerce. Email her at or log onto