March 18, 2009

By Roger Emile Stouff

David Boudier has been working with the Patterson Cypress Sawmill Festival for about 15 years now.
   The festival is third-year champion best festival in the state in its division. It’s an event, it’s entertaining, and it’s well-organized.
   Boudier told the Baldwin town council last week that the festival’s success is owed to its many, many volunteers.
   He even noted as an afterthought that the board would be “surprised how many volunteers we have from Franklin, Baldwin, Centerville, Garden City…”
   We on this end of the parish have apparently contributed to the success, growth and good-standing of a championship event in Patterson. I am proud, very proud of those who have participated in organizing Cypress Sawmill Festival.
   Quote of the week, Sen. Charles Grassley, Iowa, on AIG executives:
   “I suggest, you know, obviously, maybe they ought to be removed,” Grassley said. “But I would suggest the first thing that would make me feel a little bit better toward them if they’d follow the Japanese example and come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I’m sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide.
   “And in the case of the Japanese, they usually commit suicide before they make any apology.”
   A hats-off to David Popkin today.
   The restoration of the façade of the former Popkin Jewelers by Andre Dugas of Franklin has been uplifting and refreshing.
   It’s a beautiful, historic and integral part of the Main Street downtown, as well as the centerpoint of many, many memories for those of us who’ve been here all our lives. So many of our people are still wearing the wedding rings they bought there, the other jewelry, and carrying the memories.
   Salute, Mr. Popkin, on a job well-done.
   While I’m at it, thanks to State Rep. Sam Jones and the city administration and council for whatever part each took in the overlay of Main Street downtown.
   The street looks fantastic, and now, one huge, important detraction to the historic district and downtown area is, finally, removed.
   Kudos, gentlemen.
   At last week’s city council budget workshops, there was a short discussion on developing the tourism base in Franklin.
   There was talk of development and landscaping of Bayou Teche, especially along Teche Drive. There was talk of an advertising budget, and a healthy one, to promote Franklin. There was talk of what other communities have successfully done, and how we can mimic their efforts.
   And to that, I’ll raise a hardy three cheers.
   We had a great meeting at city hall Tuesday afternoon.
   More than 30 of you showed up for the latest session to develop tourism in Franklin and western St. Mary Parish.
   Consultant Don Anderson led a more than two-hour session of brainstorming and got some fantastic input from citizens.
   Among the officials present were Mayor Raymond Harris, Councilman Dale Rogers, Parish President Paul Naquin, Rep. Sam Jones, parish Economic Development Director Frank Fink, city Development Director Billie Delasbour, Cajun Coast Director Carrie Stansbury, Chitimacha Chairman Lonnie Martin, Black Bear Conservation Committee Director Paul Davidson and more.
   There’ll be another meeting in about a month when Anderson said we should be prepared to develop a focus and a means of building this area as a destination for visitors. It’s going to be no small task, but after seeing the caliber of yesterday’s turnout, I think we’re up to it.