Looking back on our progress in 2020

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 2021

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The first quarter of the year is the perfect time to reflect on the year passed while looking forward at the possibilities the new year has to offer.

While I feel like it’s safe to assume that many people were happy to leave 2020 behind, I also feel like it’s necessary to glance back and remember some of the progress our parish made in the last calendar year.

Even with a global pandemic and a historically active hurricane season, parish administration was able to implement many new quality of life events to St. John and continue other significant projects.

The creation of art classes and contests, a drive-thru Trunk-or-Treat, a Coats for Kids Drive and new non-traditional recreation opportunities were welcomed throughout the parish. In addition to these new events, we also tackled Shred Day and Fall Team Up to Clean Up.

Before being elected parish president, I assured residents that my priorities were flood protection, water system protection, recreation and economic development – and those goals have not changed.

One of our biggest projects is the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Levee. The $760 million levee will provide storm protection for thousands of residents and we look forward to construction and completion of the project.

Also on the horizon is major drainage work on larger canals throughout the parish to reduce flooding from regular rain events. We are also making improvements to water and wastewater infrastructure as well making contingencies for emergencies.

Economic Development is an important scope of work in progress. The Department is in the process of becoming a Louisiana Development Ready Community which creates a strategic economic development plan to allow the parish to become more competitive, leverage assets and address challenges.

In addition, for the first time, St. John has partnered with the Capital Area Finance Authority (CAFA) to provide financial home buying assistance that will promote homeownership in our Parish.

And while COVID-19 may have halted some progress, the parish was able to complete more roadwork than what was typically accomplished in a normal year. These are just some examples of how progress can happen even in the face of uncertainty.

After glancing back at 2020, it’s crucial to plan for 2021. A good plan will beat good intentions every time.

2021 is sure to bring its own set of challenges and hurdles, but there are admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering people in place to accomplish vital parish work.

In this new year, may we all embrace new challenges while never stopping work on new opportunities.


Jaclyn Hotard is the St. John the Baptist Parish President. She can be reached at 985-652-9569