Time for congratulations and thanks to the City of Franklin once again.

Earlier this week I noticed the conspicuous absence of the historic district sign that once stood – however askew – at the front of the lot of Ibert’s Mortuary. I said to myself, "Hmm…"

Well, the sign returned and looks like a million bucks! New posts, fresh coat of paint, new posts. I zipped down to the other end of town and, sure enough, same results.

Kenny Minor did the work at the city’s request, and hats off to him, also.

There is a movement in town. A force of will.

Mayor Harris is having a meeting Tuesday of next week at the Teche Theater. The city hopes to reboot the cleanup initiative that was going so well before the 2005 hurricane season.

There’s an impetus in this town. It’s not just the mayor, not just the city council. It’s like a budding of spirit. Of pride and of movement.

I have said this before, but it bears repeating: We, you and I, who drive or walk or otherwise stare at the same routes every day, don’t see things. We don’t notice things. Not until they change. Notice the district signs now. Notice the pavilion at Park sur la Teche, the lamps along Main Street downtown, the once burned-out husk of a house at the corner of Teche Drive and Jackson Street, the renovations ongoing at Fairfax House, formerly Alice C. Plantation, and at the corner of Main and Clark Streets. Elsewhere the city has taken up abandoned and disrepaired buildings throughout the city, a no-holds-barred approached to getting rid of health and safety hazards, drug nests and general unsightliness.

The boulder that has sat on Franklin for a long, long time – chiseled with the words apathy, indifference and despair – has begun to wobble. With enough effort, and enough pure dee stubborn optimism, we can start it to roll, roll right on out of here.

It was, about a month ago, promised to me that the fence surrounding the ramp at the Blevins Building and owned by parish government would be eradicated and something appropriate to historic district regulations reapplied. I have seen no progress so far, but I’m not raising the alarm yet. I know their word is good, and with the receipt of that check from the Amelia Belle Riverboat Casino this week, that project should be, as they say, in the bank.

Despite what you may think, I am grateful that the Amelia Belle paid up their first check of $1.5 million to parish government. I am glad to see an honor system is in place and agreements being fulfilled, at least to this point.

We’ll learn today if the boat will indeed open Friday as planned when the state gaming commission meets. Our breaths are officially baited…