THE LAWSON’S PEAK BOOKS

A Bad Day Fishing

Rain. It was so welcome down here after months of drought. Our gardens perked up, and I even need to cut grass.

But we didn’t get near the rainfall they did up north of I-10. And that meant something very, very important: The creeks were likely replenished.

All in all, so far as the “catching” goes, this creek season has been a bust. Last year spoiled us, and we should have known better. But we caught nearly every trip we made, and we relished it. We forgot, somehow, that the creeks we haunt up in those red dirt hills are fickle mistresses, teasing and flirtatious and will stick a stiletto into your heart when you aren’t looking.

The spring trips were not very fruitful, catching-wise. Spend all winter waiting for creek season, and then when it finally comes…well, let’s just repeat, the “catching” was disappointing. A day on the creek is never bad, you understand, because as a wise man once said, “A bad day fishing is still better than a good day at work.”

Looks like about five inches of rain fell last week up yonder. I figured that might be enough to revive the near-bone-dry creek I . . . → Read More: A Bad Day Fishing

Intermission

A few more notes on local politics, and we’ll take a break.

First, though, kudos to the mayor and council of Franklin for offering up funds to help pay for the St. Mary Landmarks Society’s planned October events celebrating the 200th anniversary of our parish, on motion of Councilman Eugene Foulcard.

The next day, Landmarks made a presentation to the parish council, and was awarded another $3,000 on motion of Councilman David Hanagriff.

Well done.

The parish’s 200th anniversary celebration will be held in two separate events, one next month in Patterson and another in October in Franklin.

I chastised the format last week, but with the allocation by parish government mentioned above (and the city, though typically they do the right thing) I am somewhat soothed, hopeful even, but not shaken in my apprehensions.

So let’s let them simmer in their own juices for awhile, see if they tender up further.

——

Also from Wednesday’s meeting:

“Councilman Butch Middleton of Franklin said he felt African Americans are “left out of the loop” when it comes to knowing about their history in St. Mary Parish.

“’I would be interested in knowing when the first African American was brought to . . . → Read More: Intermission

The Solutions

So what are the solutions?

I am constantly amazed, and saddened, by the number of people who offer intelligent, progressive and often brilliant insight into how the deficiencies in our parish can be solved. Yet very few of them step up to the plate and run for office.

The few that do and actually win seem to be dragged to a back office somewhere and threatened with flaying if they don’t follow the prescribed agenda and keep their mouths shut. You see good people elected to office in this parish and within a fortnight they turn some invisible corner and are lured to the dark side.

I don’t have all the answers, but it starts at the top, and for us right now, the top is parish government. That means, for those of you who don’t quite understand the parish charter, the executive and legislative branches of parish government, and one has no higher standing than the other.

So there’s all these tax incentives and breaks, but we’re still not getting serious business interests in western St. Mary. The expansion of Gulf Craft was a remarkable feather stuck into the band of our hat, but we should be seeing . . . → Read More: The Solutions

The Problems

In Iberia Parish, if you wanted to build a new, 4,000 square foot home, you’d pay about $1,400 in permit and inspection fees. That’s about 35 cents a square foot

In Terrebonne, it’d be about $1,800. In both those parishes, mandatory inspections are included. That’s 45 cents a square foot on a 4,000 square foot home.

Here in St. Mary Parish, permit fees are $3 per $1,000 based on $75 per square foot for new construction.

The building plan review for new construction comes in at $600 minimum for up to 2,000 total square foot plus 25 cents per square foot over 2,000 and up to a maximum of $1,800.

So the formula to calculate permit fees alone is: square feet (times) 75 (divided by) 1,000 (times) 3.

For a 4,000 square foot new home, permits will cost you $900, inspections $780 and plan review $1,100.

Grand total, $2,780.

The average property tax in St. Mary Parish is about 96.7 mils.

The actual rates vary from area to area here. For example, Wards 1 and 10 pay 132.86 mills, plus another 27.58 in special millages of various types.

Ward 5 pays only 64.64 mills, but 70.24 mills in special . . . → Read More: The Problems

Old Days

I was mourning the past with some friends the other day and it left a dark cloud hovering over my head. Some of the folks I was reminiscing with hadn’t actually a frame of reference to the topic: What this community was like in the late 1970s, early 1980s. I hadn’t thought about it in a while, and those of you older than me can surely point back to even earlier eras of bliss, but these are mine. Now and then, though, my eyes open a channel to my memories and I grieve over our home here. I make no apologies for my grief – any comparison between say 1980 and 2011 is surely shocking. This was a great place to live in those days. Not to suggest that, in some ways, it still is. Crime is, comparatively, low. But by comparison, in my teenage years and into my early 20s, you couldn’t find a nicer town than Franklin, or Baldwin, or sweeter rural hamlets as Charenton and Centerville. It was around 1985 or so that there was a tremendous bust in the oil industry. Over the next few years, entire family names vanished from the phone book. Some . . . → Read More: Old Days

Vacation Report

Well, I had a pretty nice week off.

To kick off my nine days of freedom, the Bayou Teche Wooden Boat Show motored to Biloxi, Miss., to attend the Billy Creel Memorial Wooden Boat Show.

Me, my partner in crime, Gary Blum, and our significant others Suzie and Tessie, had been urged to visit the show by some of the people who attended our show. We decided we’d go ahead and make a weekend of it and printed up some new brochures.

The sixteenth show was held on the beach and at Schooner Pier at Biloxi. We ran into Mike and Carol, who have been at our show twice now; Chuck, who was with us this year, and Lew and Barbara, who were also with us this year.

We met and passed out our literature to a bunch of good folks with great wooden boats. Many of them had already heard about the BTWBS, and either promised to attend in 2012 or showed great interest in coming. All in all, it was a great weekend.

Suze and I visited with her good friend on the Northshore and then headed on home.

I had several options on what I would . . . → Read More: Vacation Report