Balance of Power

There will be three forums for candidates in the Oct. 22 election in St. Mary Parish.

Sheriff’s candidates will gather Sept. 20 at the golf course in Patterson; senatorial candidates will group Sept. 27 at the Petroleum Club in Morgan City, and parish council and president candidates will sound off Oct. 4 at the golf course again.

All three are sponsored by the St. Mary Chamber of Commerce and the Franklin Republican Women club.

Since these are breakfast forums, they are charging $10 a head, rather than the previously held non-meal forums, which by the way were also held in the evening when the average Joe could attend, rather than during working hours. So the target audience are people who are able to take off from work and hand over a ten spot to hear the candidates.

Two in Patterson and one in Morgan City. Not a single forum slated for this end of our parish.

Proof positive?


At this point in my grumpy old age and well-nurtured cynicism, I just don’t give a jolly rip who gets their toes stepped on anymore.

One in Morgan City, one in Patterson and one in Franklin might have been slightly better balanced. Slightly.

But no. Franklin – the seat of St. Mary Parish – is excluded. As usual.

There’ll be excuses. There’ll be cries of innocence. There’ll be plenty of righteous indignation.

If there was ever a clearer signal that this parish has become completely divided and the power brokers are collected on the east, I don’t know what it could be.

There is no excuse for this. Eastern St. Mary has corralled the influence, clout and power base of the entire parish. Anyone who denies it is either fooling themselves or trying to fool you and me.

It’s not working anymore.

There is a coterie of movers and shakers over there that is calling the shots. Make no mistake. How can anyone not see it?

Western St. Mary has become a redheaded stepchild. We’re just lucky they unlock the closet every now and then to feed us some gruel.


Other than the election, October is shaping up to be a fine month here in the dregs of St. Mary Parish.

The first full weekend, the second Tour du Teche Paddle Race will see paddlers compete down the entire 130-some-odd miles of Bayou Teche, finishing at Berwick on Sunday.

They’ll be staying in Franklin Saturday night, and some of us have been busy organizing a warm welcome and fais-do-do for them and the community.

Make no mistake, this is a big deal. Reception of last year’s inaugural tour was so huge, organizers are expecting great participation this year.

Tour du Teche has the potential of becoming a premiere event in the sport of paddling across the nation, even the world. This can only mean good things for our community.

We’re having a meeting Thursday at city hall, at 2 p.m. We need more volunteers, so please come out and join us and lend a hand. It’s going to be an exciting weekend!

The following weekend is the west-end celebration of the 200th anniversary of the founding of St. Mary Parish.

On tap will be the resurrected St. Mary Landmarks Society tour of homes. I fondly remember the 1980s version of the tour, and it was awesome. This one should exceed and surpass that one.

The second cemetery tour is also on the schedule, highlighting the history and remarkable legacy of our graveyard and the people there who shaped and founded this fine community.

Also, Techeland Arts Council will be presenting the premiere performance of No Hitchin’.

As a member of the Techeland board, we have been working for a few years now to collect and dramatize the folklore, memories, history and tall tales of western St. Mary Parish and present them as a live performance. This is finally it.

These tales are derived from dozens of interviews with our own people. It’s the story of us, so to speak. Even the name speaks of Franklin’s unique legacy: It comes from the inscription on our historic lampposts: DO NOT HITCH.

Because, we reasoned early on, that not only applies to the turn-of-the-century livestock and horses that used to crowd Main Street. It also applies to life. It’s a journey, and to fulfill it one must keep moving, don’t stand still, keep going forward.

It promises to be a great weekend all around.

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