Checking over back issues and this year’s calendar, I note that 2009 will be a very quiet political year in St. Martin Parish.
As far as I can tell, there are no elections on tap at the parish or municipal levels here in St. Martin. Henderson officials are still in the first year of their new terms. St. Martinville municipal officers won’t be campaigning until next year, along with those in Breaux Bridge, Parks and Arnaudville.
But it appears very likely that parish voters will soon be asked by the school board to approve a major bond issue for capital improvements at parish schools.
The judicial elections of 2008 didn’t generate much interest, as D.A. Phil Haney and seven of the 16th Judicial District’s eight incumbent judges were unopposed while Judge Lori Landry won re-election. It was the same story in Breaux Bridge, where City Judge Randy Angelle and Marshal Jerry Frederick had no opposition. Also getting free rides were two parish justices of the peace and five constables.
On the national scene, the majority of St. Martin voters bucked the national trend and supported the Republican ticket of McCain/Palin rather than the winning and historic Obama/Biden ticket for the nation’s highest offices.
MOTHER NATURE . . .
There was big weather news, with flooding in lower St. Martin over April, May and into June. May also saw a tornado rip through Breaux Bridge, destroying or heavily damaging three businesses and seven homes but (thankfully) causing so serious injuries.
And in a scenario eerily similar to 2005, Louisiana was hit by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, barely more than a week apart in September. Gustav gave us a pretty good thrashing but Ike veered to the west and did most of its damage in the Galveston-Houston area and to Louisiana’s extreme southwest coast.
On a more pleasant note, children of all ages were delighted to see several inches of snow blanket the area last month.
BRICKS & MORTAR . . .
The year 2008 saw the formal dedication of the Cade Community Center, a great asset to the entire parish, and (finally) ground breaking for the long-awaited Courthouse Annex which will soon house the offices of the clerk of court, assessor and registrar of voters.
In the private sector, St. Martinville residents were pleased to see the re-opening of the old Teche Theater by developer Terry Dupuy as a music hall/recording studio, and La Maison Restaurant/Alligator Bar at the corner of Main and Bridge by Robert Sevasten and his family.
In Breaux Bridge, entrepreneur David Buck and his daughter Heather, bought the old Domingues Motors building, which has long been an eyesore in the Crawfish Capital’s quaint downtown area. They plan to renovate it to house an antique mall, restaurant and perhaps apartments.
But on a bit of a down note, St. Martinville noted the closure of the local Wal-Mart Store, almost exactly 25 years after it opened on South Main.
SPORTS . . .
On the sports scene, 2008 started out with the excitement of LSU’s football team winning the BCS National Championship by defeating Ohio State 38-24. Parish players Early Doucet and Jonathan Zenon played key roles in the victory.
On a local note, the biggest story came when the Cecilia Bulldogs reached the semifinal round of the state football playoffs for the first time since 1995, although they lost to eventual state champ Lutcher.