The Louisiana Governor's Office held an outreach meeting for residents in Beauregard and Allen parishes yesterday morning.


Kim F. Lacour, Director of Constituent Services, said they are visiting various parishes every two weeks. In particular, they want to reach more rural areas. The initiative began in July.

The conference room at the Beauregard Parish Police Jury Building in DeRidder was packed, and eventually the group moved into a larger space.

Avon Knowlton, Executive Director of Economic Development for Beauregard Parish, and residents of the Junction Community told Lacour of water woes.

The water system in Junction has been needing an overhaul for two years. The project, meant to install a new water system to homes in Junction, keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the list of governmental financing priorities. Many residents have water which is undrinkable, and in some cases, has a foul odor.

Others in the group expressed their concerns surrounding flood damage caused by the release of flood waters by the Sabine River Authority.

Frederick J. Hartzell, a retired environmental engineer, spoke about the situation. “We knew about Harvey weeks in advance, said Hartzell. “They (the Sabine River Authority) kept the water level at the premium. Up until Aug 30, they did nothing.” He illuminated the fact that this has an impact on Beauregard, Vernon, and Calcasieu Parishes.

Hartzell went through the timeline of gradual flood release process. If they would have released the water prior to all of the rain, the flooding of homes could have been prevented, he explained. “They are saying they are not responsible for the flooding.”

Michael Harris, of the Community Coalition, later voiced his concerns regarding the PGT Beauregard monument. The Beauregard Parish Police Jury, in June,  approved, 9-1, the pursuit of bringing the statue to DeRidder.

Lacour explained that the Governor has no jurisdiction over the decision. As with the removal of Confederate monuments from New Orleans, it is a city issue.

Harris would like for the Governor to at least make his position known. “If you’re not standing for what’s right, you are standing for what’s wrong,” said Harris. He pointed out that he is not criticizing the Governor, and realizes he probably has good reasons for not conveying his opinion on the statues. However, he pressed that it is important for Edwards to speak up, as his voice has a powerful impact.

Lacour reassured the group that she will bring their voices to the administration.