Pointe a la Hache Courthouse gets renovation fundingSep 14th, 2011 | By William Dilella | Category: news
In what he views as another step toward returning the Parish Seat to the Eastbank, Councilman P.V. Griffin requested $141,500 be allocated for phase II of the Courthouse restoration in Point-a-la-Hache.
Phase I of the project began in April of 2010, when Providence Engineering was contracted to begin the assessments of the Courthouse site, damaged by arson nearly a decade ago. Now, the group says they are ready for the next phase of the restoration, which would complete the project.
Councilman Burghart Turner, District 6, despite being in favor of keeping the seat and Courthouse in Point-a-la-Hache, saw the potential for this construction to work against those efforts. Turner’s fear was that to rebuild now, before the upcoming vote on moving the seat, could prove disastrous for the effort, and see the site turned into a museum, as had been previously proposed.
“When this legislation first came up, it was about putting a historic landmark in South Plaquemines,” Turner said. “And I don’t want to send the signal that we are for the Courthouse being moved…and this puts us in the position of hearing, ‘What you have is good enough.’”
The vote on the restorations passed 8-1, with Councilman Turner as the sole no vote.
But that discussion sparked by Councilman Griffin’s Courthouse resolution fed into the legislation that Turner introduced, which would have rescinded and annulled the impending vote to move to the Parish Seat to Belle Chasse.
As part of the discussion, Councilman Turner presented the petition signed by several hundred Plaquemines residents who were against the move.
“This is the number one issue for many on the Eastbank,” Turner said, who felt that the three previous votes which failed to move the seat should be evident of the peoples’ feelings.
“I feel putting it on the ballot for a fourth time is a disservice,” said Turner. “We have an opportunity to make this issue final today, and the Courthouse issue would be settled.”
“We are a nation of laws and elections,” said Councilman Byron Marinovich, District 8. “This has been voted on three times. I wouldn’t appreciate it if I ran for Council, won, and then had my opponent call for three more elections to try and win.”
Chadwick Encalade, who is the Justice of the Peace for Ward 3, spoke before the Council on the advantages the Parish seat remaining, both for the economy and the sense of community spirit.
“I’m asking for equality, for a chance for my community to grow,” said Encalade. “The path forward should be afforded to all, not a few.”
The attempt to annul the upcoming vote lost by a vote of 4-5, with Councilman Griffin, Turner, Marinovich and Councilwoman Marla Cooper of District 9 voting for the annulment.