So Help You God
October 2
9, 2008
By Roger Emile Stouff

The St. Mary Parish Council’s proposed 2009 capital outlay plan calls for more than $6 million in projects.

Burns Point Recreation Center is slated for a $2 million overhaul.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the only thing this side of the Calumet Cut on the plan.

Behold, O fellow paeans of the parish:

– $251,200 Kemper Williams Park – Atchafalaya Golf Course Restrooms.

– $100,000 Kemper Williams Park – Recreation improvements.

– $1,020,00 Access Road, Phase 1 – Baker Hughes to the Port Road in Morgan City.

– $393,000 Jesse Fontenot boat landing parking lot expansion

– $326,700 Lawrence Michel boat landing, improvements

– $1,179,000 Thorguson/Berwick South Road

– $825,000 Victoria-Riverside Road

This "plan" was introduced last Wednesday as an ordinance for adoption at a meeting in December. The sad thing about it, they aren’t even trying to hide it anymore.

What’s even worse is that nobody seems to care that this parish is like a seesaw, with a big heavyweight boxer on the right side and a little wimpy skinbag on the left.

They’re going to tell you you’re getting $2 million in improvements at Burns Point, to try to make you grateful. They’re going to point out that many of the projects on the "other end" are being paid for with grant funds, too, to try to make you buy that, "Oh, we’re not using your tax dollars, that’s grant monies."

But what you had better not let slip by you is that you, as a taxpayer, fund grants at all levels. And you get grants where you apply for them, thusly, most are on the other end.

I’m going to tell you something, and some of you are not going to like it, but I just don’t give a rip anymore.

If you councilmen representing this end of the parish are not riding down the streets shouting through bullhorns, putting up billboards, writing letters to the editor, getting on television, knocking door to door to explain to your constituents why they are pitifully neglected…constantly shouting, yelling and demanding change…then you are failing in your sworn duties.

What is wrong with you? You see before your very eyes what’s happening. Why aren’t you out for blood? Why aren’t you shaking the very pillars of Heaven in protest? Why aren’t you rousing a revolution?

No, don’t answer me. That’s right, I said do not answer me. Answer your constituency, the people that put you into office.

Tell them. Tell the ones who were doing without after the hurricanes, neglected by this eastward bullying in the parish.

Tell them why you aren’t fighting tooth and bloody nail, like a wild beast, for the people who elected you and that you vowed, under oath, with your hand on a bible, to represent.

So help you God.

Trust me, voters: They’ll say they’ve been meeting with this one, fussing at that one, raising hell with the other, whatever. All behind closed doors. All outside the public venue.

We don’t care anymore.

Fussing behind closed doors in private conversations is obviously accomplishing nothing. We don’t see what’s going on behind your closed doors and don’t hear your private conversations, so to us, they do not exist. They never happened.

So speak up! We can’t hear you. The silence is deafening. Not only do we not hear your voices decrying the inequity, loudly accusing and convicting the perpetrators, we also don’t hear our roads being fixed, our facilities being built or renovated.

And where are our at-large council members and parish president to stand up for us? We elect them, too, wherever they live. They are sworn to represent us, too.

And where are the mayors and city council members on this end of the parish whose citizens are neglected, slighted? Why aren’t they fighting mad instead of shrugging in resignation? Why aren’t they shouting at their council meetings?

Is anybody standing up for western St. Mary?

Anybody at all?

We’re helping pay the $350,000 operating deficit for that hoity-toity golf course, which we’re pumping another quarter million into next year, the capital outlay budget shows. We’re helping pay for the roads and infrastructure across the cut, and, oh, we still haven’t forgot the nearly million bucks for the AARP center in Morgan City.

Meanwhile, the senior center on this end, the Council on Aging and our seniors go without, while parish government spends nearly a million bucks on the AARP – a private organization – building in Morgan City.

There needs to be a revolution, and there needs to be one now.

Some of you have spoken out. A little. But it’s not enough. Rev. Matthews, Mr. Middleton, Mr. Hanagriff, Mr. Hidalgo, Mr. Foulcard, Mr. Bierhorst, Mr. Duhon and Mr. Naquin:

You men swore an oath before God. All of you. And we put a lot of faith in you new members last election. A lot of hopes. Has politics turned you? Have they gotten to you already?

You need to speak up. You need to unveil the adversaries of west St. Mary for what they are, and you need to keep your constituency informed. Don’t let them hide behind this cloak of silence.

Speak up! Shout it! Write it! Broadcast it! What’s so damn hard about that? We’ll respect you all the more for it.

If you aren’t prepared to fight like David against Goliath…you need to relinquish your offices, now, right this minute, and let someone step up who will.

If you don’t think the people of west St. Mary are worth fighting for with all your might, no matter how bruised and bloodied you get…then get out of the way and give the job to someone that does.

Make a stand. The line must be drawn. This far. No farther.