Meet the Candidates: Parish Council District 1

Published 4:55 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Parish Council District 1

  • Joyceia “Joy”  Banner

Joy Banner

Date of Birth: 7/25/1978

Profession/ Current Employer/ Retired: Co-Founder and Co-Director of The Descendants Project

Why did you choose to run for Parish Council? 

For too long members of our community have been left behind and left out of decisions that impact our life, livelihood, and happiness. My work already centers on bringing economic justice, environmental justice and social justice for the community and a seat on the council will help me to eliminate the laws, processes, and procedures that are holding our community from achieving its brightest future. As a council member, I will ensure that the laws are followed, decisions are transparent, and residents’ rights are respected.

What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position? 

As a former business professor and founder of two organizations, I have the critical thinking and strategic skills to guarantee success for a shared community vision. As the Chairperson of the Historic District Commission, I understand the value and importance of preserving our history, yet I’m abreast of the skills, technology, and innovation to lead us into the future. I understand our valuable resources and believe that these assets should be community-owned so we can collectively expand our wealth from generation to generation, and not just paycheck to paycheck. 

What would you like to accomplish in the next four years? 

Through funding available in Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, I would like to reconnect the west bank and the east bank by bringing back the Edgard/Reserve ferry and a reliable and frequent bus route that circles the east and west banks.  I also plan to bring a community-owned solar farm where residents can eliminate their electricity bills and get paid for the additional energy generated. I also hope to enact policies that hold industry accountable to pollution and emissions laws as well as a plan for pollution reduction and redress.

  • Damon Davis

Damon Davis

Date of Birth: March 31, 1978

Why did you choose to run for Parish Council? I want to give back to the community. I want to make a difference in the lives of people that may need help in the community. I lived here all of my life as a businessman, homeowner and a parent. I want to help keep St. John Parish a great place to raise a family.

What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position? By serving on the St. John Parish Recreational Board for 11 years now, and having an understanding of how local government works. I will work hard to make sure the residents of District 1’s voices are heard. I am confident that I can make an immediate impact as your next councilman for District 1.

What is the number one concern impacting your district, and how do you plan to address this? Drainage, flooding and fighting blighted properties. I will work well with the administration and get these issues resolved. Bringing a better quality of life for all residents in the district is my number one concern.

What would you like to accomplish in the next four years?

  • Host town hall meetings to address issues and concerns of the residents in the district.
  • Being more transparent and informative on issues we vote on in the city council.
  • Work to make the district more attractive to businesses and homeowners to continue to grow the parish.
  • Virgie Jarrow-Johnson

Virgie Jarrow-Johnson

Date of Birth: 11-17-1953 

Profession/ Current Employer/ Retired: Retired 

Why did you choose to run for Parish Council? I chose to run for Parish Council because I have been a Public servant for many years in the parish working and volunteering, for 33 years as the Supervising Branch Manager of St. John Parish Library, being elected the First African American Female Justice of the Peace serving for 16 years receiving training from three Attorney Generals for the State of Louisiana, volunteering at both West St. John Elementary and High School and the Council on Aging for various activities.    

What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position? I am the most qualified candidate because I am no stranger to governmental policies and procedures. I believe experience is critical in making decisions moving the Parish forward. As the former President and current Vice President of St. John Parish Library Board of Control, I have vast experience in spending public money. I have knowledge of public audits, public bidding laws and also believe in transparent accountability.     

What is the No. 1 concern impacting your district, and how do you plan to address this? Because the district is made up of residents from the East and West banks of the river, so each area is different. My first concern for the West bank will be seeking grants and other resources for housing, such as blighted houses.  The first concern for the East Bank would be securing and approving funds for water improvements which include wastewater and sewerage.  Both East and West Banks have drainage problems.          

What would you like to accomplish in the next four years? In the next four years, I would like to accomplish continuing to build around our infrastructure, such as developing the four-way lane highway on 3127, affordable housing, and supporting economic growth which will help revitalize the community. 

  • Haston “Bun” Lewis Jr.

Haston Lewis

Date of Birth: November 18, 1973

Profession/ Current Employer/ Retired: Manager of Westside 66

Why did you choose to run for Parish Council? I want to have a seat at the table and work with other leaders to improve District 1 and the entire parish. I watched my father, Hesston Louis, Senior, represent the district for a number of years. Citizens would come to him with her various issues, day and night. He would do his best to assist them and resolve their problems – he would act. I, too, would like to advocate and be a problem solver for district one. 

What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position? I am motivated. I’m a stakeholder. I currently hold the position of justice of the peace for district one. The experience of watching my father and being a public servant motivated me to want to do more for the citizens of District 1. I have interacted with many of the citizens in the District since I was a teenager. We have the same grievances and the same goal, and that is to ensure this is in the District 1’s voices are heard on all issues: utilities, all communications, permitting, housing, economic development, healthcare, garbage collection, etc. I am motivated to get the resolution to those issues. I’m motivated to work with entrepreneurs to grow their business. I’m motivated to revitalize the district. 

What is the No. 1 concern impacting your district, and how do you plan to address this? Retention – Young adults are moving to neighboring parishes because of the lack of residential space. I will work with the economic development department and land developers to develop subdivisions/residential space. 

What would you like to accomplish in the next four years? In four years, the accomplishment of increasing the number of residential subdivisions and businesses (small and large) in the district, the improvement of a user-friendly permitting process, the completion of the event center in Edgard and other improvement projects on the parish’s agenda.