St. John library patriarch Butch Millet retiring after 52 years

Published 12:15 am Wednesday, January 16, 2019

EDGARD — Many of Norris “Butch” Millet Sr.’s happiest memories come from the St. John the Baptist Parish Library system, where he has dedicated 52 years to serving the public.

Norris “Butch” Millet Sr.

A memory that stands out is his two youngest grandchildren standing on a blue stepladder to pull back a tarp in August 2017.

On the other side of the tarp was a portrait of Millet, framed in celebration of his contributions the day the Central Library in LaPlace was named the Norris J. Millet Sr. Library in his honor.

After more than five decades of meetings, budgeting and attending library events, Millet announced his plans to resign from the St. John Parish Library Board of Control during a Monday night meeting.

Effective Jan. 31, Millet’s resignation marks the end of his time on the Board, but not the end of his dedication to the St. John Parish Library.

Millet still plans to arrange a meeting with Reserve Lions Club members who have expressed interest in selling the land that housed the Lions Club Pool on West 10th Street, allowing for possible expansion of the neighboring Reserve Library Branch.

“They’re very eager to sit down and talk,” Millet said. “They’re chomping at the bit, ready to go. The pool, to demolish that thing, is not as big of a job as it seems.”

No decisions were made Monday, as the Board members look to Millet to find out more information and to get a ballpark idea of what price the land might sell for.

If the process moves further, the Library Board will seek an appraisal for the land.

Butch Millet’s grandchildren pull the tarp off a portrait photo of their grandfather, honoring him in the LaPlace library.

Prior to the expansion discussion, Millet announced his resignation through a letter handed to and read aloud by Library Board President Virgie Jarrow-Johnson.

“Serving on the Library Board for over 50 years has been a distinct honor for me, and one of the proudest moments of my life was when the Board named the main branch in my honor,” the letter read. “Our library will always have a special place in my heart.”

Millet, a former teacher and administrator at Leon Godchaux High School in Reserve, was one of the charter members of the Library Board of Control.

The four current branches are named after the influential board members: The Norris J. Millet Sr. Library in LaPlace, the Leroy Williams Memorial Library in Reserve, the Frazee-Harris Memorial Library in Garyville and the Roland Borne Sr. Memorial Library in Edgard.

When Jarrow-Johnson was re-elected board president during Monday’s meeting at the Roland Borne Sr. Branch, Millet said he and Leroy Williams spent years alternating in and out of the presidential role each time the other completed a full term.

Jarrow-Johnson said it has been “an honor and a privilege” to work alongside Millet for the past 33 years.

“I’m sorry to see that you’re leaving us, but I’m sure you have your reasons as to why,” Jarrow-Johnson said. “If it’s to take care of those grandkids and great grandkids and maybe travel a little bit more, then so be it and Godspeed.”

Other Board members urged Millet to come back and visit.